Armchair travels

Armchair traveling

I am to discuss a vital decision I took in my life, and what could have happened if I had decided differently

The most momentous decision of my life was what my friends call the only good decision I have taken . It involved convincing a petite accountant against her better judgment to defy her family and friends in plying her troth with an unsuitable boy from an alien culture. The said alien of course was yours truly, and we avoided the family objections by the masterly if simple stratagem of getting the certificate first, and informing them later.

This led to a complete turnaround in my life. An irresponsible bohemian was tamed and became a responsible family man and wage earner. My employers too showed confidence in my new sober avatar and gave me greater responsibilities, which led to a career path that would have never happened to the old me, and led me to become a respectable member of the senior management.

But what if this had not happened? At that point of time, I had plans with my friend from my hitchhiking days of working my way as a deckhand on a ship from Bombay to Basra, then hop over to Europe, work in cafes while travelling the continent, work my passage over to USA, then travel down to South America.

Matrimony, responsibility, elevation in job which came with perks like a car and a flat at that tender age of twenty- five came in the way, and my friend continued this adventure alone, complaining bitterly of betrayal and my choice of *** over bros. His occasional letters from exotic locations had me wondering….. What if?

What if I had decided differently, not given in to impulse, and instead given in to family pressures of accepted behavior?

My life would have taken a totally different turn. Unfettered by any ties, I would have deserted my job and joined my friend in his adventures. And my wife would have married the man her father had selected and led a life of domesticity.

I can see myself, in tattered jeans and Kurta, long tangle of hair and beard, unwashed since the last stay at some YMCA, doing menial jobs at random locations across the globe. My mind would have been mildly addled by then through constant experiments with mind altering substances. The frequent brushes with the law would have made me a wary creature, andinhabiting sundry communes and sqats would have made me tough. I would be an international citizen, although habiting the fringes of society, and a polyglot from having lived amongst so many cultures and so many languages.

Having floated around the world, I would have washed up in that haven where the flotsam of the world tend to congregate, (and where my old comrade currently resides) – in Amsterdam.

Living on my wits I would be falling back on the vocation of many of my countrymen, that of a fake Guru or Seer. I would be there in my stall on the waterfront, in the regulation saffron, hair and beard in braids, telling fortunes and dispensing wisdom. Then suddenly I would spot my petite accountant, corpulent now, on her family vacation, with a harassed looking hubby and couple of brats in tow, forcing herself to enjoy it all.

I would call out, and correctly speak of her past, impressing onlookers, and tell her that her life would have been quite different if she had not been such a dutiful daughter, all those long years ago.

And maybe encouraged her to make a clean break and live it up with a wild Yogi, as it’s never too late to discover oneself……?


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