I recently watched the movie “The Motor Cycle Diaries” on a Sunday afternoon when I wasn’t particularly having the best of days. While that is a great movie to watch, definitely true cinema, I guess it was the wrong time for me to be watching a movie like that. Movies like that tend to lead people like me to introspect, retrospect and speculate about life.
The movie is an adaptation of Che Guevara’s journey as a young medical student across the South American continent, where like Buddha, he sees all the pain, suffering, and the way life is led by many of the lower strata of society. These would turn out to be the crucial years in which a young medical student finds his true calling and purpose in life. And this does not limit itself to being a physician. A young man who finds the reason he has to exist, a reason worth living for and a reason worth dying for.
Now with the current state-of-affairs that I am in, where I am desperately seeking some sort of semblance in life which I believe is otherwise filled with disorder.(Many would disagree, but you’re not me; so don’t judge ) And I spent most of the evening thinking to myself, somewhere I lost the plot, somewhere I messed up and sold my soul for nothing. I have come to believe that right now, what I supposedly exist for in life is nothing but a mere choice of a corner which I seem to have painted myself into. I no longer seem to be living for myself, but I seem to be trying to achieve something that society says is greatness. Greatness is a wrong word; the correct phrase would be ‘mere acceptance’. Perhaps, due to a very strong patriarchal influence throughout my life, and my ego wanting to better the role model, I guess somewhere the ego detached itself from the soul and has left it leading an otherwise inconsequential existence. All of my days have been spent floating like driftwood from one milestone a.k.a exam to the other. And in the middle, everything in life seems to have been pushed onto the backseat.
I’m 24, and I believe I have nothing worth living for and nothing worth dying for. I write this exam, then what? I get through, I get a job, I get money, I work the rest of my days slaving to pay the mortgage or the bank loan, thinking like how my overly priced education tells me to think. That would be it. If I don’t get through, I still work harder to pay the mortgage and so on. Where is the meaning or definition of life in all this? Where am I making a change? Where am I influencing life? Where am I being that one butterfly that would otherwise change the course of time and events? Nothing! I am no one…and I am nothing. Just another ‘everybody’.
A friend of mine told me this, “Know the difference between right and easy. So long as you know you want to change the way you choose to exist. So long as you think- this is the life I want, you’ll work for it. You might feel hopelessness in the process. But you’ll want it. The hopelessness should never exceed want. Keep it that way. When you fail to recognise a good thing in life, that’s when you’ve sold your soul. Because then you don’t even "know" the difference”.
While I would agree with everything said; that’s the point. I no longer feel I am at a liberty to choose my own path; instead I have to wait for the choice to be made for me. The hopelessness seems to be winning. I’ve put all my eggs in one basket, and have gone all in. Isn’t that where all the hopelessness starts; when a man starts placing his life in the hands of ‘destiny’? When he stops feeling life in his veins, when he starts believing that everything else can and must be compromised for the sake of the basket? When he starts believing that everything ever told to him by anyone was a lie, and that he was living a life unconsciously being dictated by other mortals who are as bad, if not worse than him.
Another friend told me that there were so many things to be thankful for. The fact that I have a house over my head, food on my table, parents who care so much that they wouldn’t buy me a motorcycle for fear that I would take off on some fool hardy journey and leave everything to waste. I agree that while these are indeed things that I thank the lord for every day, somewhere, there must be more to this life than just this. All these are pieces that supplement the meaning and purpose of life. And right now, I feel otherwise. I have no true purpose, wanting to get past an exam to get a job in a capitalistic society and make money is not exactly purpose. Purpose is when you as a human being are enabling or influencing other human beings. If not, at least purpose is defined by when you start dictating your own terms to the way life proceeds. I have nothing that I can look back at and say, I did that. I changed the way I live. That’s how I am different from everyone else? That’s how I defined change and history. That’s how I took a chance with madness and succeeded. Right now, I feel like an empty shell, floating around in an otherwise turbulent ocean.
What frightens me more is that, I feel I have gone too far down the road to turn back and retrace my steps and take a better path. If asked if I would go back in time and change things, I’d say yes! I would. I would change moments of life I feel I should have taken the other road, because I know I’d be a different person who thought differently. And I am alright with that for now, because I simply despise what I see in the mirror and everything I am today. Somewhere back there, I lost the plot, and ever since, this seems to have snowballed into a terrible thing I have started referring to as ‘fate’. I am sure if my teachers from school saw me today, they’d be terribly disappointed. I was not to be someone who believed in tradition and confirming to the norm. But somewhere, I became mortal and I became like almost ‘everybody’.
I may never become that Che Guevara, who till date influenced so many lives and is a revolution in counter-culture. I will never be that Bob Marley who brought people together with his music. I will never be that Mother Teresa who discovered her true calling in life. At the end of all this ranting, I have come to the conclusion that life is worth living only if you have a purpose to it and a meaning to it, and those are defined by your own unique personality and not by what others say or believe.
5 years from now, I’d probably look back a t this and think to myself,"what was I thinking". I’d probably laugh it off saying that this was mere ranting in a moment of desperation and sheer madness. Maybe in a better day, when the sun is shining above me, I’d look back and tell myself that I found my own way, and that I was just getting scared of the uncertainty of everything that lay ahead; and that I should have had more faith in myself. Maybe when I have something worth living for or something worth dying for, I’ll read this and tell myself,” Hey, this guy actually makes some sense.”. But for now, until I get myself some ice cream and listen to some heavy metal, here’s my two cents on what life is about.