Ever had one of those days when you just want to do something…anything? Well, I woke up to such a feeling that Monday.
All groggy eyed, I checked the bedside clock that promptly displayed 5:00 A.M. Rather early for me; I tried drifting back into the sweet morning slumber. But try as I might, my mind kept running in a million different directions – the kind when you’re thinking about everything at once but then truly thinking of nothing at all. Left with no option, I rubbed my weary eyes, tore off the covers and put my feet firmly on the ground.
After making some freshly brewed tea, I settled myself in the balcony to see the day set itself into motion. There was a soft light breaking through last night’s dark envelope, much like a small plant that rebelliously grows in the middle of the road even though it has no business being there. The air had that pleasant coolness to it and with a long breath I filled my lungs with it – a respite from the stale air I was used to. The roads were quiet, save for a lone jogger or a newspaper vendor; the maddening rush-hour traffic still a few hours away – a precious few hours before the blanket of pollution and noise engulfs the city.
Even though I’d long forgotten what early mornings feel like, I‘ve always believed that they have this uncanny ability to make you think about and contemplate on things you’ve buried deep into the recesses of your mind, things you seldom consciously think of. And well, the incessant chirping of birds (something I hadn’t heard in a long time), the heavenly fresh morning breeze and the stillness of the yet to begin day, silenced the cacophony of random thoughts and put me on the contemplation mode.
I’d come to this wonderful city – the ‘city of dreams’ as it’s fondly called, some 7 years ago. I’d got into the most sought after college with big dreams, high hopes and sky-high expectations of my future. I wanted to be the next-big-thing. But it didn’t take me long to realize, so did everybody else.
It’s amazing to see how all your hopes & dreams, however fiercely guarded, are shoved right through the backdoor once you get stuck in the rut. The dreams, so uniquely you own (or so you thought), start transforming into those of every other student.
All of us were being shown the type of future we must strive for, packages we must aim for and dreams we must aspire to fulfill. Slowly the uniqueness and differences we all had come to revel in and learn from gave way to being content playing our small roles in the rat race.
The shrill shout of the hawker jolted me back to reality. What seemed like eternity had just been a quarter of an hour; 15 minutes of early morning reverie – 15 minutes I’d thoroughly enjoyed. After making myself another pot of tea, I got back to my morning musing.
Fresh out of college, everything looked like a bed of roses. Having accepted the first job offer (recession didn’t exactly help), I thought all my problems in life were behind me. Little did I know, in my naiveté, they’d only begun!
Into the job, the first year seemed to fly by in understanding the job, getting to know the people, grappling with office politics and waiting for the weekend soirees with friends. But as time flew, the job that required understanding became mundane, the people that required knowing needed avoiding, the politics that had me hooked became boring and the weekend getaways that had me waiting became a mere excuse to console myself that life wasn’t as bad as it seemed in my head.
Days became weeks, weeks turned into months and soon I had 5 years to show for corporate slavery on my resume. The fear of ‘what-if’, the fear of the ‘unknown’ kept me chained to my measly 3×3 desk. 5 years that were a mere flashback now were nothing but day after day of drudgery. 5 years of working on something I wasn’t passionate about, working under someone I despised and working for the dream that wasn’t mine.
But deep down in my heart I knew that all the revolution in my mind wasn’t going to manifest itself into reality. Seven years of conditioning – to look for security, to accept boring over passionate, to adjust over rebelling – wasn’t just going to vanish into thin air.
Practicality took over and I delved into the routine I’d been living the past few years; the routine that now defined my life, the routine that I chose to follow. If only I could turn back time.
At the office, all faces seemed to be afflicted with the Monday Blues. The long and drawn faces greeted each other with enthusiasm fit for a funeral, faces that wanted to be anywhere but here.
Another coffee in and I moved to the weekly review meeting. It was the same old story – the same set of people trying to sound intelligent and the same set of people trying to just get by with occasional nodding. The same old words – strategy, growth, numbers, sales, clients, hard work, effort – started floating in the air. Suddenly something snapped inside me, like a switch being turned off. I felt the blood rush to my face, my ears started to ring rendering me unable to hear the high flying jargon – everything became a blur.
I felt myself screaming inside my head. I didn’t have to bear this. This wasn’t my purpose in life. Today was different. Something had to give. Something had to change. I had to make things better, live the life I wanted, seize the dreams I left behind. And just like that, there was sudden calmness, like the jigsaw puzzle finally fit.
Without warning I got up, turned about and walked out. If I would’ve turned around I would’ve seen the stunned and confused look on my boss’ face. Ten minutes later, I walked back in to the meeting, boss fully expecting an apology and an explanation for my blasphemy. Instead, he was left agape as I handed him my resignation letter and left without another word.
And as soon as I exited the doors I often frequented for good, I finally felt that day the satisfaction of doing something…anything!