Tuesday, April 19, 2005

25, 35, 45

After Sunday's game, I was doing dinner with a family that had put me up for three days, and put up with me for eight years. I had known father, mother, middle daughter and Salvadore, the musical dog, since I became friends with the elder daughter in New York. In that time I saw the three daughters grow and observed, superficially, how their interactions with the parents had changed. The father, a breed that I am terrible at deciphering and detecting changing mood patterns, was now more serene; at peace with the bedrooms in his large home emptying as the daughters, one by one, left for America. Now his longing for them was seen through lenses of economics as well as emotion. He opined that it made sense for her to return as life was comfortable here, rather than "living in a shoebox". His daughter, my friend, had briefly thought of returning to a less rushed life in Delhi, but a New York rush brings its own headiness, and headiness was a good enough argument against a return.

So we talked while eating, about her, about me, about us. He spoke about careers and money in the way my father does, while his wife, daughter and I listened. I think he sensed something that I had felt throughout the tour, short as it was. I saw reporters who were happy in their skins, but I also met others who appeared miserable for they behaved as if it was the worst job in the world. Perhaps they had families. How did they live? Waiting for a train at platform six in Kanpur after midnight, a small man hunched as he slowly walked past Amit and me to others who were talking among themselves. He asked them a question thrice before one of them noticed him. It bothered me. What were his dreams when he was 25? I spent the better part of a day scavenging about for a press pass, forced to smile at officials I would have liked to run over. I imagined it happening over and over and over, when I turned 35, 45, 55. It was probably nothing, but I was seeing buggered futures and arsed pasts in everything around me.

His premise was interesting and familiar: you can love what you do, but if doesn't make you money, there's no sense doing it. On some days this logic knocks you over with its truthfulness. On other days, most days, you keep writing, writing, writing anything, your motives being to get a good piece out, and to not be miserable at 35.

10 comments:

Soultan of Swing said...

Hey Rahul,
I am sure a lot of us look at things thru the same eyes that u looked at the gentleman...wondering what life might have been for him/her at 24/34/44...
Always awesome reading ur blog..

Rahul said...

Thank you. Do you keep a blog as well?

Bhushan Y Nigale said...

Dear Rahul,

This was a wonderful post, beautfiully articulating existential questions that troubles/haunts/rankles everyone of us some time or the other.

Keep up the good work, I like to read your artilces on cricinfo too.
regards,
- Bhushan.

Abhi said...

Certainly well written. You don't describe much what the friend's father said exactly, but somehow convey exactly what he said.
Anyway, was wondering, if your job is well paying? From your post, it looks like you just do it for the love of it.
Cheers
Abhi

Soultan of Swing said...

Hey Rahul,
Yes I do keep a blog...but it's sorta crappy/amateurish....
it's www.soultanofswing.blogspot.com
wish i could make it a little less personal..:D
cheers!

vAgue said...

Am I materialistic if I need that which I love doing to make me live a 'good life'.
Think about it so often. Or start to, and shake me head hopelessly. Do I do enough of what I love? Can I do more of what I love, love it more? Can I do all that irrespective of the money?

nice post, rahul.

Rahul said...

Hi Abhi,

I do it because this is a very good place to work and I'm surrounded by fine writers everyday. It's also the exposure.

Mangs said...

you're one of those 'fine writers', w! I had read this before btw. Before I knew you.

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