Not six months have passed since my rant about the ‘Queen of the hills’, and I found myself stuck in a traffic jam on my way to Mussoorie again. But this time, I didn’t really mind it as much. Maybe it was the constant rain.
The first of my friends got married and it brought together old friends who haven’t met each other in years. I quickly discovered the passage of time had brought no change in me. I still despise them. And I am confident that the feeling is mutual. Which is quite alright for me, as it means I don’t have to make too much of an effort to avoid their company.
Like the old times, I spent most of the weekend with the three real friends I have. The ones who haven’t changed. Stuck in a 5-hour traffic jam, we laughed our guts out at stupid jokes you wouldn’t find remotely funny, we offered advice (and warnings) to the one in his first relationship, we drank, we reminisced, we discussed India’s socio-economic problems and argued over scenes in Apocalypse Now. And then they started talking about ‘the future’.
They seemed to have distinct ideas of what they want to do, and how they plan to do it. They talked about courses and universities, investment banks and abbreviations, public policy and think-tanks, while I stared out of the window and hummed the harmonica tune from “Hai apna dil toh awara”.
Maybe they’re not the same, after all. Maybe I’m the only one who still doesn’t want to think about where I’ll be ‘5 years from now’ (and the only one immeasurably annoyed by that expression). The only one without ambitions and goals and roadmaps and strategies. The only one with merely some vague, romantic dreams which will probably remain so.
Did I make the wrong choices? Am I still making them? Did I take life too casually? Will I regret not being ‘driven’ and ‘focused’, watching Yes Minister for the thirteenth time when I could have been planning for my future. Someday, will I be embarrassed to meet my friends?
I thought about this for some time, while we ate and drank and laughed at the wedding. But then I found this on the world wide wonderful web.
Some of your hurts you have cured,
And the sharpest you still have survived,
But what torments of grief you endured,
From evils that never arrived.
– ‘On Anxiety’, by Ralph Waldo Emerson
And I lit another cigarette, and smiled. And told myself I’ll be alright.