Nov 3, 2009

5 Years

Oh, I was ranked first in the first ever HNLU entry test. So, when I decided bravely that me of incalculable talents would risk myself for a chance to be part of building a major institution, I decided also that I would behave and be what everybody expected of a first ranker. My parent's expected that too. That I would go to HNLU, continue being in the top or thereabouts, and end up being a most eligible legal services provider. And just before leaving home, which must have been the last time I came close to crying, I marked the historic moment with an expression, "I just want to be a learned man when I come back!"

So it happened that we arrived and I basked in the adulation reserved for first rankers only, and I loved every moment of it. Well, that was until I found out I wasn't first rank material after all. I realized that the twist in my fate had not been me getting the first rank, but me having to live with it. And how I have suffered because of it. Initially I used to get books from the library and try to read them in the hostel. But when it became clear that I wasn't going to read more than a single page any given day without falling asleep, it made me give that up. And the subjects I had to study, they were also beyond my comprehension in why they appeared so simple to me. You kill someone, you go to jail, was all my brain was able to make of criminal law. How did these brilliant guys around me come up with so many long doubts in class?
And I suffered, because for a first ranker who had so willingly worn it on his sleeve and had gotten himself congratulated by every single of person in the University, mediocrity wouldn't have been acceptable, let alone absolute incompetence. I was all that. I couldn't wake up on time, I couldn't wash my clothes, I couldn't talk smooth with girls, I couldn't ask enough questions in class. I suffered the shame of it a while. And then some more, till I was nothing more than a lucky dumbass, whose true colours didn't take much time in showing.

With that realization, I swore I would beat fate. I swore I would be just what they now thought I was, and more. I started bunking classes, skipping snaps and lazed and wasted away. And slowly, but surely, I got recognition for it. I went on to become the most famous lazy good for nothing going on a downward trip guy in HNLU. There were a few people who loved me for that. I took on the mantle of a martyr for the ordinary. I started writing stories in my answer sheets, turned up in the same clothes with the same unkempt hair every day. I became for the self-righteous a thorn up their asses, for I represented all the joy in the temporary. Where everybody was worrying, I was without care. In a world where everybody is building a kingdom, a career or anything, I wasn't building anything. I was unbuilding. I was a metaphor of the absurdity that life seemed to me.
Soon more people started loving me. Most, because I was the helpful, harmless, friendly guy, who never posed anybody a challenge. My only areas of interest were those in which others had no interest. A few, I believe, saw the real me. They saw in me the prophet of the road less traveled on. I was testimony to the worth of the worthless. I spread the disease of lethargy all around, and taught them lepers to be proud of themselves. I was a reminder of the truth, that despite all you are not, you are something. I was an affirmation of everybody’s possibility of being accepted. I was the anomaly that felt right.
That was the glory. I felt for everybody and everybody felt for me. I loved everybody and everybody loved me. I was for everyone and I didn’t demand that everyone be for me.

However, somewhere along the line, I fell again. The fall came when I became proud of what I had become. The saviour idea took control of my mind and I started practicing it religiously. Somehow, I started becoming routine, and to sustain the routine, I started playing a role. I had a position, and I had to protect it. I started being rigid, and began to hate all those who weren’t like me. I started seeing conspiracies in everything they did and started organizing my lambs to isolate and destroy them. I fell in love with the me in their eyes. I forgot to be the me in my heart.
To be true to myself, I shouldn’t have loved my place. That was to be untrue to them. In the beginning I was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. My rise began when I realized what I wanted to be was a naked wolf, an honest wolf. My fall began when I became sheep that wouldn’t shed his hide.
I gazed inward and saw what I had become. I had become a manipulator. I too was trying to protect my position, just like all the people I hated. Then I lost the plot. I started looking down on people. Not many must've noticed it. Everything became about me, about my happiness, my position, my control over every fucking thing. I fell in my eyes.

Oh did I not yearn to redeem Neil. To fall in love, true love. But conceited as I was, I never could love. Never could I say this is me... love me. I was done with my hole. Alas, my only way out was the creepers on the walls of my well. And I'd never learnt to fly.

I never recovered from that fall. I could never. For my disguise was not worn over me, it was worn over the eyes of the people I had completely fooled. I just didn’t know how to remove those without hurting myself, and above all without hurting all those who loved me.
I am not saying I wasn’t good. I was more than the average good guy. I had a vision. But there were times when my lack of spine, my sense of self-comfort, caused me to remain silent. It is a sign that my biggest weakness still remains with me. I could’ve been more.

All said, I remain proud of everything I’ve been. The belief that I was loved for what I was, affirms my faith in myself. I thank everybody for that.

I was never bad. I will never be. But, do I not owe it to the hopes that I left with you, that I try to be not just not bad, but something more. Looking back at my days now, I was never sure about anything I should've done or what would've been right for me. I sure had all the threads to my life in my hands, but they were all tangled up. There were a lot of things I wanted to do. I could’ve given more. I didn’t. I genuinely feel bad about it.

P.S. I wrote this on the last day of college. I started to write something else, but it turned into nothing but a weed induced rant of a wishful fool. Those heady days puked at their end the mess in my head. Its apology, affirmation, and a lot of crap weaved into one. Its nothing. I was scared of what YOU would make of it. I don't know what to make of it. This is as much as I'll ever know.


anish said...

paddu....classic post da....brought out the frustrations tht crept in u...but u will always remain "the good guy" da...luv u...

Red Star said...

is it the sheep in you that's doing all the talking?

Manu said...

hi neil..
happened to stumble upon ur blog accidentally...could identify with ur post..very true..i almost felt that i have written was so straight from heart..i really appreciate your honesty..and the way you have put it succinctly.anyway its quite comforting to know that there are like-minded ppl..i think we r in the same boat..or rather in the same mess..