Monday, January 26, 2009

So fa', so gud…

Being an average guy was not what he wanted to be, not being one was what he knew sets him apart from the boy-next-door. His life was a string of interesting twists and turns, some of them revolved around his interactions with the fairer sex. As a critically-acclaimed actress once proclaimed, what sells in Bollywood is either Shahrukh or Sex. Our hero here is no less than Shahrukh and anyways 11% of the audience in India is under parental guidance, so what we could discuss here is a truncated version of his truly Bollywood existence.

As a child, he had always been up to some or the other mischief. His parents adored the ease with which he made his way into any heart, and indulged the tricks he played on everyone he came in contact with, including the girls. They never took it as anything other than harmless fun.

He had a mesmerizing effect on the members of the opposite sex. His antics never failed to bring a smile to their face, whether it was tying their pony tails together or standing under the staircase to watch the skirt-parade. They shared a lot with him, from a bite of chocolate to lunch to the stage of the school function. They would want him to cycle home with them and he would happily do so. Just to make them happy he would copy the notes they offered at the 11th hour, even when his own notes were much sought after. In all innocence, some of them would tie the sacred thread on his wrist and wish for him to protect them in times of need and he smilingly obliged.

What intrigued him though was the extent to which these girls would go to spend a few valuable moments with him. They would give him reasons to visit them at their homes, much to the apparent dislike of their family and brothers. They would spend innocuous moments, finishing school projects, doing SUPW work or rehearsing for upcoming school events. He often analyzed what it was in him that made them wait for him at the corner of his street or compete to share the class desk with him.

But being at a juncture in life where he was busy carving out his career path, he did not spend too much time mulling over it and enjoyed life the way it was. He moved on to a wider playground, came across newer people at the ‘coaching’ and had new experiences. Every experience made him richer and meanwhile even the ‘neighbors’ kept track of his life as he moved on to a new phase.

College gave him the freedom and the independence to fuel his ‘philanthropic’ ways. Ragging brought them closer to this boy who had his elder bro in the final year. Even the college helped them ‘break the ice’, by keeping some cross-functional subjects in the very first year. He was one of them, the elite ‘Mechanical Guys’, the men among the boys. He was the quintessential bad boy, what with his ponytail, pierced ear and occasional violent spates. Yet he enthralled them when he topped the university in the first year and every year after that. He made a smooth entry into their lives, impressed that they were with the cheesy ‘mechanical’ comments he made at them.

He went on to make a slow and steady start to his career. Time to time, he wonders if things would have been different had he been less of the multitasking type, an attribute of a true Gemini, that he is. Nevertheless, his life was now on a whole new track. He had never settled for a ‘best friend’ or ‘girl friend’, he had neither understood the concept nor felt the need. Though he did find a ‘best friend’ during this period, but as the Bollywood line goes, ‘Ek ladka aur Ek ladki kabhi dost nahi ho sakte’, and so the story lay unfinished!

This phase was about experimentation, about a childlike inquisitiveness about women and relationships, what with love triangles and cozy moments, proposals and betrayals… Those winter nights, those cozy rides are all witness to the awesome life he had! The child in him needed constant pampering and that he was getting. This was also the phase of seeking; the subconscious search for that ideal woman who would fit the bill, both his own and his parents’. As he did better professionally, his work took him places. His frequent travels gave him the opportunity to explore new avenues and encounter new people. This was when he met the woman who he still values as being more mature than him, but then the time had never been right for them.

While his search didn’t yield him any results, his parents found him the ‘right’ match. So he made the life-changing decision between the Devil and the Deep Sea and finally ‘settled’ down. She started this relationship on the foundation of mistrust and suspicion for him. Given the story of his life pre-interval, he thought he deserved it and gave in. But then her wariness became a nuisance when all attempts of adhering to the role of an ‘ideal’ husband failed to get appreciation and ultimately he gave up! He still doesn’t blame her for this, nor does he find anything missing in his own attempts to keep ‘peace’. He left the issues to time, hoping that they would sort themselves out and moved on to the next phase in his life.

Another college brought to him another assortment of people, which he consciously ignored, owing to his ‘settled’ status. He politely declined all proposals that came his way, managing to upset a few hearts beyond repairs. So while one says that she had always been fond of him and seeks replies that he doesn’t have, he envies the others’ ‘well-settled’ status. Some of them came back with questions. The others teased him for his reluctance to take the plunge. Probably it was his values that stopped him, or probably just righteousness. But even today all he has to offer to all of them is happiness.

He may live to regret today that he did not cross the self imposed line, given the fact that it could have been an ideal tit-for-tat for what he ultimately got from his current relationship. It continued to deteriorate with time. No amount of sacrifice was enough to sustain it. He had already given up his friends but drew a line when asked to give up on his family, resulting in breaking the newest bond.

Indifferent that he is increasingly becoming to the entire world, he was travailing the same roads which he used to wander aimlessly without knowing where to go. But then not all who are aimless are lost. He knows today that he isn’t looking for ‘her’ anymore. The child in him still craves to be pampered and he gets his share of attention. The good boy that he has been has probably paid off, wherein he has managed to retain most of his friends and made new ones. They come to him with questions to which he maintains his silence. There are those who have loads of advice to offer, he can only smile knowingly as he knows he hasn’t left any stone unturned. There are those who have issues of their own and still want to give him everything, but his desires are limited. Then there are these pretty dolls who tease him but he never retaliates. The few, who feel sorry for him, shower a blessing or two, which he is thankful for but then it is not what he needs.

So what does he need? Does he know where he is headed? Is he in a position to decide where he wants to go? Have the reins to his life finally come into his hand or is it still serendipitous? Truth be told, he is currently taking life as it comes. He has a tried and tested method to life, which is the guiding principle but then he hasn’t charted a path to his life yet. As they say ‘If you don’t know where you are going, any road would take you there.’ And thus, the journey continues…