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.