Begin.

Aimlessness. It’s a feeling we all feel at some point in our life, for some it is most of the time. It can range from being aimless about our career choices, our spirituality, about what to eat when you’re sitting in a restaurant with the waiter holding the pen and also his attention towards you. You recognise this aimlessness of yours when someone asks you for an answer and you’re able to provide none.

Silence. The awkward kind when a relative asks you jovially “So what are your plans for the future?” and you sit there gathering all the options you haven’t explored and blurt out the word “self-exploration”. A lingering silence beckons these words as if you denounced the existence of god for the religious kind. Your parents are thinking about this uncertainty that you created with the mere power of words, coupled with the uncertainty of your own future and try to salvage the situation by using the same words, “oh he’s just kidding. He’s looking at options.” They just said what you said but wrapped it with the air of certainty that you have something in mind.

Self-doubt. You crawl out of your being. You look at yourself with an air of disgust. Behind you is the college life, which you can’t go back to, but had just begun to know and ahead of you lies the unknown, which you have to go to eventually, but know nothing about. The unknown is shapeless in reality. You shape it though, with fear creeping in as a tool to make it as a monster. You shape it with a remembrance of the past mistakes and it grows in size, looming large. A shadowless being which looks just like a shadow.

Results. Your parents want a winner out of you. They groom you with love for some and fear for some. They have one eye on the future demanding results out of you with a progress they haven’t defined. This unknown circus of evaluation turns to assumptions. You start demanding results from yourself. Results lie in front of you, but you don’t know what to make of them. You compare, a trick learnt from your parents. Hatred breeds with jealousy, ignorance caresses the truth back to the dark. The comparison of your journey and the one you call now as a competitor is starkly different. From the way you’ve lived your life, to the amount of life you’ve both lived. But you still compare the results because that’s the only form of measurement you’ve been taught.

Education. No one told you that the answer to everything sometimes was just to be truthful. To pursue truth. To recreate truth was what art was really about. No one taught you this. You walked, ran, hid, escaped from this very term. Truth. Because what you were taught was that happiness is what we live for. So when you saw this ugly truth fill you with the opposite of happiness, you did the opposite of confronting it. Education pushed you more in this culture of comparison, the culture of perfection, the culture of success. Anything short of winning was considered blasphemy. The conditioning of the mind was solidified with this, education, which seems to focus on its first definition ‘the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction’ rather than its second definition which is what it should be about, ‘an enlightening experience’.

Enlightenment. You forget all of the things that you were taught. You unlearn. You seek the truth however grey it may be, or however many of them existed. The real journey begins then.

You begin again.

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