A letter to my friend – cynicism
At the outset, let me confess the ‘dear’ in the salutation was used only as a regular convention used in all letters and I feel no ‘dearness’ to you in any form or fashion.
Now that we have made that clear, let me reminisce on how and when you entered my life. Ah yes, now I remember, back in early 2003 when I was, as the saying goes, left high and dry by my former employer and went from being gainfully employed to being unemployed in a gap of around 8 odd hrs, that was when I realized who my true friends were.
All the ‘good times’ that I had spent with my friends were forgotten and pretty soon I was akin to a pariah, an untouchable, a non-entity who nobody wanted to talk to. That was when I realized that most of my so-called friendships were built around the fact that I was working where I was and I was studying what I was rather than for the person I really was. That was when I realized that hardly anybody really cared for me as a person, and those were the days when I truly figured out who my friends were. That was when you made your debut appearance in my life.
The whole of 2003 and the first few months of 2004 were when you made your presence felt in a big way. I was all of 23 yrs old, of prime employable age, a phase in life when I was expected to be finding my feet in the corporate world and laying the foundations for a future career. But there I was, unemployed and trying to figure out what it was that I wanted to do with the rest of my life. All the plans that I had laid out for myself got thrown out of the window in a day’s time. And you, my friend, were my constant companion in those few months.
Little by little, you started making your appearance in everything I did, ranging from enrolling in CAT coaching classes to applying to multiple B-Schools, you were always there. And your constant refrain – You, Jairam, are not going to succeed in any of your endeavors. You might as well quit trying and settle down for something easy, something mediocre kept echoing in my head day and night.
It took me more than a little effort to keep myself motivated and confident enough in my abilities to write all those B-School entrance exams that year and prepare for the Group Discussions and Personal Interviews. I had to shut my ears, heart and mind to your constant whining and reminding me of all my previous failures. I had to convince myself that I still had it in me to give it my best shot irrespective of how it would all end up, and you didn’t make things easier.
Despite your best efforts to the contrary, I managed to get into a decent B-School, but you insisted on following me there as well. Every single day of the 22 months there, you plagued me with your doubts as to whether I deserved to be there, whether I would end up making good of the opportunities provided to me there. It did take quite a bit of effort from me to shut you out of my mind and do the best I could there.
The eight odd years since April 2006 when I passed out, you have been pretty quiet, haven’t you? I guess a combination of things such as the fact that I had too much of work-related activities to think about and married life and parenting managed to keep you out of my mind for most part of the last decade. But you don’t give up, do you?
Ever since I started serious blogging, and more so since I started writing fictional pieces in the form of short stories and novellas, you pop up every so often and laugh at me. In your estimation, all my fictional pieces are sub-par and are hardly read by anybody, let alone appreciated.
But, let me tell you something, my friend, cynicism. Today I couldn’t care less about what you or anybody else thinks of my writing. Today I have reached a stage where I write just for the sheer joy that the process of writing brings me. I write for the wonderful exercise it provides for my otherwise boring grey cells. I bring to life characters I see in movies, in real life, situations out of books, movies, real life incidents and that, my friend, gives me more joy than most other things today do.
So what if my posts attract very few comments. The fact that these comments are from readers who read the whole story, understand the nuances and layers in the story, and question the motives of the protagonists, mean that there are more than a few people who actually read and probably even enjoy my brand of fiction, if I can call it that.
I guess it is time that I bid you a farewell and bring down the curtains on our friendship. You have been a constant companion for almost a decade now and I think I have had enough of you in my life. I know that you are persistent and will not go away so soon or so easily, but I have to start somewhere, don’t I. And this letter will be that all important first step that I take in this direction.
Cheers and au revoir my friend, here’s hoping that I don’t see you again, ever…