Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Complete Outsider

EVERY DREAM HAS A PRICE is an expression that echoes in my mind as I pen this piece. Whoever knew that being able to achieve something noble in life would bring so much disappointment? What wisdom would spread the halo for the fact that success in one meant failure in the other? Which tree should I have sat under and attained an enlightening that being away from home would mean being away from almost everything?

Things were not always like this. Earlier in my much adored ‘NRI’ life, friends and family seemed a lot closer from my apartment in Caracas than they had ever seemed when I was among them. Whenever I came here, as sporadically as that might have been, I always felt welcome. There was no place in the world that has this effect on me. Home is after all home and there is nothing that can replace it.


But is this a variable? What happens when a person reaches a stage in life when the definition that holds this variable in place starts to dwindle? What if home no longer feels like one? How can one possibly try and explain the fact that despite the love and affection, in spite of the obvious shades of genuine friendship in the air, one still wants more? There is no easy answer for this. Why? Because people living at home will never be able to understand what it means to be an outsider.

I returned home this summer again. Loads of plans, tons to do, exciting and prioritized goals in mind. But a week into my stay at home and I started realizing that nine out of ten plans were almost impossible to do. Why? Because no one had time for me anymore and hence my wants were now minimal.

I suddenly figured out my role in this 5-week play I host each summer. I was an outsider now. Officially I was no longer part of the local crowd who knew it all. I didn’t know the jokes, I was unfamiliar with the slang and I could no longer call people just because I felt like it. Everything was now a planned timetable that I was supposed to follow. Relationships were now an appointment I had to keep.

A tear escaped my dry eye as the facts of this story fell into place. I no longer had any circle of trust left. No one shared their secrets with me. No one considered me their confidant. I had missed out so many weddings, parties, reunions and engagements for so many years that now no one missed me anymore. I was no longer the inside man. I was the outsider…the complete outsider.

I sigh now as I finish this piece since I know that in a few weeks I will be wrapped in a new job, a new city, a new life and yet no one will probably understand what that’s like for me. I am afraid this is the consequence of my dream – a bitter one at best as I head out of this nothingness once more.


2 reflections:

Mahesh Chevar said...

Shashi you used the word Trust. Interestingly its a same condition of every human beings. I cant tell exactly what it is? For example, If i Consider one as my good friend, relative the person should understand evrything what he or he is saying. We consider one as the best, and the same person hits back, then what you feel? As you said the relatives, friends are too far from our thinking. We are in the illusion that they are the best. Recently Ravi Belagere wrote a column in one of Kannada Newspaper. In that column he is explaining the NECESSITY factor. He is explaining how the relationship between two persons are spoiling. In that article he is telling till one point we are one necessity of other person. After the expiry date of that necessity they are ignoring. Whatever may b the relationship is. He also give a solution to the problem telling that we also ignore that person. But is it an easy task to ignore. I know i may not be fully convinced you. But remember i am still giving respect to the word TRUST. We can not hide anything. There are some people their duty is just insult the other person. There are still more things to share with you. I think the time may come we may meet before you leave. we will ttalk about this in detail if we meet.. Who knows i may give some solutions to your side. Take care.

mouna said...

i guess we all reach this particular stage in life. i'd like say one thing, your family will always stay with u, no matter the situation. i believe in this. perhaps, so strongly, that despite the factuality of the statement, the statement itself provides me comfort.

home will forever be home to all of us. why don't u sit with your family and sort it out. i know it's not easy to do this(the ego obstructs it). talking helps a lot.
People at home will understand once u voice out your emotions. this does not work often at my house. atleast the heart is lighter and invariably it sets your family into thinking.

i want to say so much more, hope u are free sometime.