There she was …standing all alone staring blankly at the laptop. Was she sad? Or was she just plain confused? Well, going by the young lingo, she seemed as if “Screwed up”. Apekshaa- no no…we are not giving a reason for her despair or are we? Well, her name was Apekshaa; hope or expectation that’s what the word means, right? When she opened her eyes for the first time in this big weird world, possibly her family instantly associated many of their hopes and expectations with the little creature. And before she could even slightly understand the meaning of the word, she had been named “Apekshaa”. All the typical Hindu rituals were done for the naming ceremony, and perhaps everybody present there wished great things for her or better put it this way, they EXPECTED that she would get all great things. And that was the beginning of her life. She was made to believe that the whole world revolves around expectations. Parents expected her to score high marks and get prizes. Friends expected her to listen to all nonsense they blabbered. Boyfriends expected her to be happy, bubbly and beautiful all the while. Arrgghhhh!!!! Yeah, maybe that’s how she felt too… but then when she talked about it, she was advised to come out of the unreal world and embrace the hard face of reality. She was expected to bear with all this shit because that’s what’s considered practical. Everytime, she was stranded on the crossroads- between her desires and people’s expectations. And being a sweetheart, she mostly chose the expectations route even if that meant lots of heartache. Life went on and somehow she grew up as this creature that is a roaring thunderstorm inside and yet a lyrical poetry to the outside. What was she thinking? What does Apekshaa want to do, what is her real inclination? Well, nobody really bothered much. And why didn’t she raise her voice? That’s not how good girls are EXPECTED to behave, are they? She was a narcissist, looked cute and in a way, beautiful too. She loved to talk; she loved to help out people. She was the agony aunt for friends. She loved to dress up and go and talk and impress the audience. She wished to explore the world, meet people and draw and write all about her experiences. But then, all these were either too ambitious or just did not fit in with the small town she was in and with the family background she had. She was asked (or FORCED?) to appear for technical entrance exams, and when she failed to clear them, she had to choose the route everyone did. And to make matters worse, sometimes her street-smartness helped her to show a little talent in any field she was thrown into and that reconfirmed the beliefs of all around her that they are doing a good job. But were they? Not really. What happened to all those dreams she had for herself? The fire wasn’t extinguished yet, and was glowing as a little flame somewhere within the deepness of her heart. Many years later, after she had completed her post-graduation, she entered a new city, all on her own. For a moment, she felt like smelling fresh air after years of bondage in some sickly sweet dungeon. She felt a new high. She was free in a way, though not totally. She still had to report every detail to her parents back home, and was EXPECTED to act as per their programmed instructions. But then, she remembered something…an old adage that says “everything is well that ends well”. Sitting in her little one-room rented accommodation in that big glittering city, she heard voices. “How about starting something new?” “How about trying to do what you always wanted to”. But then she heard the voices of the opposition parties as well... “What about mom and dad” “What would you tell them” “It’s almost impossible to convince them, so would you lie to them” “What about money” “How will you manage as a crazy dreamer in this city where money seems to be doing the talking everywhere” “How will you earn enough for your food, stay and expenses “ “How will you balance out between making ends meet and adding colour to your dreams, that have remained black and white all these years” Too many questions plagued her mind… A conservative family back home who wanted to see her doing something SUBSTANTIAL, and earning good money… a complicated relationship she was in that seemed to be going nowhere yet she was not gutsy enough to quit it…… too many dreams… too little money…and a BIG city. Just the perfect setting to be CONFUSED, isn’t it? Well, that’s what happened in her case too. She was confused. Thinking to take things one at a time, she looked for a job and found one, good enough just to get her a room and some food. So, there she was this new girl in the city, doing a job, earning few bucks for working long hours and then commuting long way between home and work, and side by side, managing a troubled relationship. But then, she was a crazy little kid; few months in the job, she was bored, did not feel happy about the work. Luckily, she found something else for more bucks too. And with the new job, she went bit distant from the boyfriend too. And gradually, the relationship was over. But again, this job was not really emotionally fulfilling for Ms Apekshaa. She really tried to make it seem interesting, but in vain. And so, the lady left that job too and took up a lesser paying position in a posh locale of the city, EXPECTING her new work environment would give her just right settings for her dreams to take off. But lo! Her excitement went all the way to sub zero levels within a few days at the new place. Her new position was just like the princess of fairytales captured by the ugly witch in her cavern. She lost all hope… felt cheated… Why do things have to turn out this way?? She kept questioning but to no avail. And within few months, she was forced to quit the job. And some sickly people ensured that her time was wasted by assuring her jobs, they never gave her. Apekshaa became this sad and confused soul, with occasional bouts of excitement and smiles showing up in her eyes. But yeah, being jobless gave her lots of time to think, introspect and think more. She got to meet other people who had the courage to follow their dreams, even if it meant being rebellious. She felt if they could, may be one day, I can too. But then the optimism failed to add sparkle to her eyes for long… in sometime, she went back to thinking… “How shall I manage without a job” “what to do now” … Such alternation of emotions continued. In the meantime, she got a new friend, who was very supportive with her words of support and her tips to ace diversity. She made another friend… who seemed quite like the way she was and she wouldn’t really mind exchanging places with him. She also was in a sweet romantic relation. But in spite of all that, at times, her mind went all blank…just like in the starting of this story… There she was staring blankly at the laptop screen… What was she thinking? Is it all so bad? Have the recent times been so terrible??? Well….she doesn’t have a clear answer to the last question. What all have traversed her life in the last few days? She lost her job- terrible. She wouldn’t be getting salary the next month- horrible. She has been home-ridden forcibly because she had nothing else to do; that does sound bit awful, doesn’t it? But then, is that all? How about looking the other way round? She got rid of the witch, she is free now; isn’t that great? She met people from fields she wishes to belong to, and they don’t really disagree that her dreams can come true. People who matter do think she is a wonderful girl, with multifaceted skill sets. She has it in her to do something different-that’s what she has been told. She has come across wonderful opportunities she had never ever even dreamt of and those projects can start in a few months’ time from now. She now knows there are many more like her who thought of taking the less-travelled route and still, left a mark. She doesn’t have much cash in her account, but still has tickets to go for a vacation to home and come back. She doesn’t have a job at the moment, but then, she can get one within some time. She has always been this bubbly chirpy bird who taught about optimism and hope and unconventional thinking to all around her; so, today, when she needs a boost, will she not come to her own rescue? She has something in her that makes people listen to her when she speaks, she has a voice that can soothe an ailing heart, and she has a heart that cares lovingly. She has a brain that can think and analyze, she has eyes that can see beyond the visible and a smile that can make the day bright for anyone who sees it. Then? Why does she have to frown at all? Well, seriously speaking, nothing can justify her sadness now.
There she goes…makes herself a cup of coffee...and goes out on to the roof ….staring all around. It’s a foggy morning. She remembers something… somebody close to her had once said “The day is as foggy as my mind”…a smile just makes its way through her lips. She smiles again. Everything seems so dreamy…The sun is making an entry on the horizon….she sees the rays making their way through the fog. Isn’t that what’s going on in her mind too? She hears the voices again……….
“The fog is there...but the rays are definitely making their way through it … A long way lies ahead and I would walk on it…my dreams await the touch of my brush to spring to life… I got so many things to do... I have to make those kids smile…I have to dance on stage... I have to sing before a live audience… I have to pen down my thoughts...I have to research on human emotions, their perceptions, communications… I have to draw… I have to get on the stage and act in that play… I have to explore the world…oh my!!! So many things to catch up, I can’t waste any time being sad. I am a free happy bird… My wishes shall be my wings as I fly high and reach the sky”
After surrendering to others’ expectations, now, she wishes to live up to her own… Apekshaa… Go and fly my angel…the world is all yours….