“George just lucky, I guess!”

Another long day, after a few long nights. Preoccupied with PAE, I came to the organizing peer group meeting — some of them were looking forward to share their “stories”. Some of us weren’t. I thought I had none. No crying outside any windows, no bomb blasts, no gay siblings, none! I was still scrambling to find myself in my memories, when Michele asked us to say one word to describe how we were feeling. And I felt like– George! I just felt lucky… Coz I don’t think I can get any luckier than this! Crossing a road with Amartya Sen, sitting on a seat where Obama once sat, listening to JK Rowling’s commencement speech and having friends who are going to make this world a lot better than what it is already! Talking with Shradha made this all the more evident. A walk through the snow-covered Harvard Yard and image of the Poet’s room made me realize that “jaisa filmon main hota hai, ho raha hai ho raha hai hu ba hu!” Who would have thought this is where I would be someday… someday so soon! I have always complained that I never planned my life, and things just happen on their own. Maybe they did, but maybe I decided for them to be that way. Who knows what would have happened in the alternate state of the world, the counterfactual! It was only when Michele asked us to think why we are here, that forced me to think back. Was it really the frustration of seeing how people back home “have the knowledge and the vision but not the power to change?” Was it the belief that they could be empowered to be the change India needs, that somebody could enable them to be empowered? Ganz pushed back and asked — But why you?! I wondered what gave me the courage to believe I could also be a part of that change myself, however small. And I knew instantly. Baba. Seeing one man making a difference. Seeing him selflessly doing what he did. Seeing him give up on his profession for his conviction. Going to a jail with him, although only for a few hours, I think made all the difference. It must have. I just never noticed, how I let it make all the difference.

While I sit here in the lab now, my clothes are living my previous life. Do I feel bad? First I thought yes. I’m only 26. But then I thought, no. I’ve had a great week already. Satisfying PAE with the best partner ever… great sessions with awesome friends… Scorpion bowls and ciders with my favorites… a cheese fest at an old friend’s place… watching Ishqiya in a theater knowing almost everyone in the crowd… All this and much more in less than a week. I’m living it. I just need to notice it!

After all, everyone does have a story!

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