So, a few months ago, I promised you all a blast from the past.. This is the first day of the journey. The day I consider as the first day. August 15th. (I’m late publishing this post)
A little more than 5 years ago, I planned and quit my job in May 2008 such that I could serve 3 months notice period and enjoy August 14th 2008 as the last day of my job. Just to wake up on August 15th and feel totally free. Imagine that much planning. (My cousin here just tells me it is the most cheesiest thing ever).
Independence day for me in 2008 meant true Independence from a job that I had fallen out of love with. A job that made me wonder why Monday mornings existed. A job where I couldn’t be myself. And more than anything, a job that sucked the life and spirit out of me. I had given it my all. So, after years of working, I mustered up the courage (that came from my pathetic PF balance) to quit and take off on the journey that I had only dreamt of until then.
Freedom. Freedom from a job I absolutely hated. The same job that drove me away (thank God) and gave me the opportunity to learn what life is all about. Today, I’m going to publish one small bit from the letter I wrote to my family & friends explaining why I needed to be free. Just some excerpts without context. Don’t care if they make sense to anyone else. Makes a whole load of sense to me.
Freedom is being me
I was summoned at work one day and told that that I am too expressive…too emotional… never keep anything hidden.. always wanting to express how I feel… happy, irritated, disgusted, sad, bored – it will show on my face…. I grew up actually with the feeling that being such an open book was actually an advantage as you don’t have to verbally communicate anything to anyone …. at the workplace however, this natural trait of mine doesn’t seem to be working one bit.. On the contrary, in capoeira class (just 2 days before my appraisal), my teacher mentioned this to the entire class – What Ninja has as an advantage compared to others is her expressions.. the way in which she can tell you whether she is going to attack you or anything else.. just with her eyes…. What am I getting at? What my work saw as my biggest disadvantage, my capoeira teacher saw as my biggest advantage. What did this really make me reflect on? What is trash to one is treasure to another… And most often, not just in work and hobbies, but in life, what is precious to someone is garbage to the other…. I cant be “me” where I am..
Freedom is not explaining yourself to anyone else but yourself
When I came back from Thailand, everyone I met outside of work … at home, friends, in capoeira class, even my neighbours were more curious about where I got my hair done and how interesting it looks.. and whether I wanted to experiment with something else.. and all the people at my work had only 1 thing to ask.. when i was going to take it off.. not because of the etiquette in office.. I just think its their nature to conform and not accept anything different… somehow, it got so irritating explaining to people everyday that I wanted to keep it as long as I wanted…. not being able to do that anymore, I removed the braids yesterday… This episode made me realize something.. The joy of doing what you wanted to do without having to answer or explain yourself to those who did not matter. The few days of trying something new really made me feel like I had broken away from pretending and just doing what I wanted to do…. I want to reiterate that its not about doing what you want without keeping those who care in mind… ofcourse that matters.. but, looking at people at my workplace, i couldnt care less..
5 years from then and life has changed a bit… I don’t have to worry that I’m doing something I hate. For starters, I love my job now. Its a long story how I landed here and maybe in a few months, you’ll find out.
Freedom means many different things to me today. Freedom is still being me. Freedom is still not explaining myself to anyone but myself. Its same same but different too.
Freedom today is also not so much about the serious stuff. Its about few seconds. Few moments. Few random things. But, still bloody meaningful.
Last morning, freedom was a bike ride around London imagining the streets of Bombay, though I knew that was insanity that could get me killed. Freedom was walking and getting a strong cup of coffee in the coffee shop behind the house. Freedom is the choice I make to eat the same Dal Kichdi (the pathetic one I make at home) everyday without rhyme or reason.
Freedom is a long list. But, I have many days to go. Many days to go before I put you to sleep.