Quite unknowingly on her part, one of my friends happened to ask me the dreaded question few days ago - "Why have I come to USA?". There are some easy answers to the question, answers that I can pretend to be enough and behind which I can conveniently hide. "Easy ! Of course I have come to get my PhD. It would help me in realizing my potential... blah blah blah". But a man can deceive the world but not himself and I ask myself why? Why am I sitting thousands of mile away from home among these strangers? Do I care so much about getting a Phd that I should agree to forego so much so essential in my life? Do I care so much about the money that I should trade my most youthful years for it? What is it that brings me here?
Honestly speaking, I don't have an idea ! Just like I had no idea when I entered IIT ! Just like I had no idea when I stayed back in IIT for one more year ! Answers I always had for everyone but inside me, somewhere I knew, it all came down to a coin toss ! Too afraid to make a choice, to take a decision, what better way was there but to leave it to a coin?
But whenever I tossed the coin, I was fully aware what would lie on either side, what would it mean to make one choice or the other and a determination to make the best of it. That is how I think life is or should be. You don't choose your role. Remember the old bard? "Life is an stage and we are the actors"? We don't control the roles we get and we will never be judged by the roles that we play. What we will be judged by is how well we play them, what freshness we bring to them and how devotedly we get into them.
And so if you ask me today why have I come to US, I have no answers. But what I know is that now that I am here, what am I going to do. And believe me, it has little to do with getting a Phd or making money. The opportunity is too big and costs paid too high to waste it on such minor issues of life.
Here are some of my favorite lines. They come from the title song of a serial called Junnon.
ना जाने ये कैसी है दीवानगी, कि कान्धे पे लादे हुए ज़िन्दगी,
भटकता हूं मैं बेसबब बेनिशां , मेरे साथ है मेरी आवारगी।
कहां दिल जले को सुकूं चाहिये,
जुनूं के लिये बस जुनूं चाहिये,
जुनूं के लिये बस जुनूं चाहिये।
(I really set out to write something else, something more concrete about what I wish to do here. May be in a later post.)