Aaahh…it was my dream. I submitted myself to those two words. The talk of the town, the buzz of the world.
They called it Information Technology. “IT” was a real cute nickname. The dream of my generation. It was as if some unknown demi-God had just developed the seed of a tree that had the abilities to grow money. It fascinated me.
Those boring classes in Plus One and Plus Two never extinguished the spark in me. Those giant sized dusty reference books that I was supposed to “assimilate” never seemed a burden to me. Nights were never far where I used to picturize myself as a handsome young man in his well-pressed formal attire and tie, sitting in a revolving chair in an air conditioned room in Bangalore, New Delhi, Detroit, New York……or beyond. The traction provided by the smell of afresh bundles of currency in those dreams of mine was more than enough to leap across the hurdle called entrance examinations.
I eagerly waited. In an obscure corner of my engineering college. For the angel called campus selection. And after three years that seemed like ages, the day came. My angel came. I too was selected….into the wings of a company…a by product of “information technology explosion.”
It took my mother a good part of six months to come anywhere near pronouncing the name of my company, recognizably...
Phew...what else in life. Another damn year in this college and then am a free bird I reflected. Working in those heavenly conditions, living in those grandiose villas and stashing away those bundles of money that I’ll continue “earning” into some bank accounts and investment stocks…for me to enjoy later.
The day dawned. My joining day. Afresh in a new set of branded casuals, the keen desire to encounter the world of computers, I set out to my office in the Electronic City in Bangalore. And lo !!!! It was heaven… For a youth of twenty three, who could dream of better prospects in life at this stage itself?
Life at the first week at job strengthened my beliefs. Those instructions from the firangi boss of mine, seemed like music to my ears. The paraphernalia around me never bothered me, the way it used to until a couple of months ago. In spite of sitting motionless in front of my computer from nine in the morning to ten in the night, it never seemed enough for me. The feelings of hunger and thirst seemed ethereal.
Days passed by. With every passing day, it seemed as if my mind had stopped working. Enthusiasm, joy, happiness, eagerness...all these suddenly seemed mere words in a lexicon. Those commands of my Iboss started feeling less like music and more like having a tinge of contempt and haughtiness. The same monotone, sitting in front of the same idiotic computer. Starting to feel dull, was I?
Naah! All these melted away into thin air the day I got my first salary. Not thousands….tens of them !!! More money than I had ruefully counted and given at the counter of my entrance examination coaching institute. At that moment, I felt on top of the world, literally.
But...but what to do with the money?? Never really had the time to spare to eat what were once my favourite food items in the midst of a spare-timeless work routine. Could not even afford to think of a vacation to places I so badly wanted to visit as a kid, thanks to my boss who opined that taking leave was a greater sin than homicide. Aah..no problems...I consoled myself. Sure once in life, I’ll have the opportunity to spend lavishly this hard earned money, the way I desire.
Hard earned money...the way I desire !!!!
Life ceased to flow like music. It was as if time had lost its tempo. A day dawns, a day ends…and life in between these two events never altered. Six days a week, three hundred plus days an year. Couldn’t recognize days and dates, unsuccessful quests for the feeling called joy behind those fat money bags….every passing day seemed like an eternity frozen in time.
Hardly “found time” to go home. Countably few occasions. And one fine morning, I get a call from home. My marriage had been fixed. With those handful of days of casual leave that was mercifully granted at the behest of my Canadian boss, I journeyed home. Bespectacled with a pair of thick lenses coupled with a slightly wrinkled and expressionless visage, no one even dared talk to me. And I was elated for that. Recently, I had noticed…that I had started enjoying solitude more than anything. So far, so good.
The bride too was from my office, they said. Maybe…I reflected. I…not only me, was the same case with everyone...seldom talked. After all, what role has informal chats to do with the Goliath they call information technology, huh?
Marriage hardly did anything to rework the me in me. Just that in what was earlier a “single room” made way to become a “double room.” I shared space with her, never gave a thought to share my life. Before the time sun thought of rising to way after the time when even the moon and stars got tired of darkness, I “realized my dreams”...realized my life, in front of that white monitored devil with, very symbolically, white body and a dark screen. It seemed…no it was as if I had lost the ability...to laugh, to cry, to dream. Times were few and far in between when I and my wife met.
We were close...yet we lived poles apart. No complaints, no remorse….for either of us.
Now, I have stopped dreaming...about future. Those things come to fore only if you have certain goals to achieve, isn’t it? But whenever I do, I feel stranded. Like a little boy, trapped in a tunnel…with the false hope that at the end, there is going to be light. I remember the moment….when I was signing my offer letter, with a proud smile on my face and dreams of a prosperous future in my mind. I remember the enthusiasm, the spark in me….the resolve to earn money, however, whatever the means. After all, this is what I dreamt of from the time I was in high school.
My mind was raring to go. I was ready. To perform. For a profligate life.
I WAS ready...
Today...everything seems frozen. Me, my self, my mind, my character...I even have doubts as to the very existence of some of these. I am not able to laugh aloud at the dreams of a fifteen year old….at least if I could have done that, I would have justified my presence in this world as a human being.
Lying on my bed, this night...naah, my definition of nights once never used to stretch this far; five used to be very early morning for me as was for my mother a few decades ago, I am unable to sleep. Sleepless nights have become way too common nowadays. I looked to my bedside. I could gauge that even my wife was only half-asleep, the way she twisted and turned in her bed so frequently proved it. I thought of the time ahead….those faces that I came across daily but never really generated any emotion in me, flashed across through my mind…my wife, Canadian boss, canteen bhaiyya…. And the recent dreams, in which information technology as a gigantic satan, chased me with loud guffaws and outstretched hands.
I used to see demons in my dreams in childhood. But the presence of my mother at my bedside used to reassure me...that I was safe.
The alarm rang. Three days is what is left in the deadline given to me, to finish my allotted project, which is only just about half done. Three hours is what I slept...oops, no what I spent in bed, trying to sleep. Without a hint of fatigue, I removed my blanket and got out of bed.
Back to office. Back to the lifeless ethos I call life.