This post comes a day later than 1st January, 2023, simply because I decided to not open my laptop on the first day of the year and have minimal utilisation of gadgets. Not a “resolution” of course, because c’mon does that term mean anything anyway? Moreover, a resolution of minimal utilisation of gadgets is nothing but a joke to a human being of this day and age, and to one who is majoring in Computer Science, let’s not make the year a literal joke! I therefore decided to be more realistic. Just day one of the year with minimal utilisation of gadgets and no touching the laptop. It worked! And I ticked off the first task successfully completed for this year! Brings me a sense of satisfaction, achievement and control over myself.
Change is the only constant – not a new phrase to us. And most evidently, humans are deprived of growth if we shun change, aren’t we? As I looked through my Instagram feed this afternoon, I witnessed a series of posts that (strongly) insisted we should change the ways we’ve followed in order to realise our plans, resolutions and (endless) to-do lists, and materialise them. The solutions were quite interesting indeed! From not making “resolutions”, instead having “plans”, to just allowing things to happen “organically”, to “giving it time” (I’m confused as to what “it” refers to, but anyway) to me finally logging off Instagram and contemplating if I should start the year with the most organic deed — deleting my Instagram account. In less than half a second, my brain wavered – “but you need to know what’s happening around!” Really? Do I really need to know what’s happening around me? Seriously? I mean the biggest news in my country over the last few days has been Deepika’s bikini colour . Do I really need to know what’s happening around me? I’d prefer reciting the table from 1-25 instead, not joking.
This thought took me back to the August of 2018. It was a new journey; the first month of the first semester of my undergraduate degree. We were at a soft-skills development/training session that was organised to supposedly help us become better people on the personal and professional front. On a piece of paper we were asked to write down (3 things) our inspiration, our goal/aim/ambition and our salary package that we aimed to get by the end of 4 years. Following is what I wrote on my sheet: inspiration – ‘nature’, goal/aim/ambition – ‘to be happy’, salary package – ‘not sure what the industry provides’. I am not making this up. This is what I had written. The so-called soft-skills trainer began asking each one of us, one by one what we had written for the 3 respective fields. Not long before, it was my turn and I read out loud what I’d written. The guy asked me, “Can you repeat what you wrote for goal/aim/ambition?” I repeated, “To be happy.” He gave me a piercing look, and the other 79 students roared in laughter. He gave me a nerve-chilling response: “Do you think we’re at a stand-up comedy? And what is nature? Don’t you have something solid?” I was puzzled at his response because I was just being honest. That was really my aim in life (back then) and nature’s been my inspiration till this very day. I was confused at the reaction I received from the trainer and my peers alike. He thought I was mocking him and my peers, which I certainly had no intention of doing. He told me to think for a while till he finished with the rest of the class. I thought hard and whether I liked it or not, when it was my turn again, I stood up and said that I wanted to be a scientist in the field of robotics, simply because I had read something about robotics in the newspaper earlier that morning. He exclaimed, “See! There you are! That’s what I was looking for!” (How sad: we’re mocked at for speaking the truth and praised wholly for giving a fancy, sophisticated response) If I were in the same situation today, I would have taken my stand, not given two hoots for being judged by a nobody and would not have batted an eye with my decision because it is my life and I DO NOT have to be apologetic to anyone as long as my deeds are morally right. And I don’t find anything morally wrong with having one’s aim to lead a happy life. But today, I realise this is one of the hardest things to do in life.
The other day, I had deleted WhatsApp and reinstalled it due to some glitch on my phone. While updating my details on WhatsApp, it asked me to fill in the ‘About’ section. I didn’t want to have anything on my About section, so I left it blank and tried to proceed, but it notified me: “About can’t be empty”. Wow! What freedom we have in this world! I can’t wish to have the About section on my WhatsApp the way I want it to be. Cheers to life! What freedom we have! So now the About section on my WhatsApp reads: ‘”About can’t be empty” – WhatsApp’.
What is freedom? It is what we decide for ourselves. One may tell me that the fact that you are able to apply for the same job as your male counterparts is freedom because you could never have imagined this a few decades ago. If someone asked me what freedom is, I’d say it is a notion that we created to convince ourselves of our haves and have-nots. I mean, what is freedom if someone else has to define it for me?? So please, in a world where I do not have the freedom to decide for myself what should be on the ‘About’ section of my WhatsApp, let’s not discuss this. In a world where MY goal/aim/ambition is defined by a mere, so-called soft-skills trainer who didn’t know of my existence a few minutes before he had met me, let’s not discuss freedom. In a world where we define our own rights and wrongs according to our immediate convenience, let’s please not discuss freedom. In a world where we are dictated as to how we should form our resolutions for the new year, let’s never talk about freedom because before we talk about it, let’s pause and think about what exactly is freedom. That being said, cheers to myself for a new year where I do not want to aim to achieve something that’s as precious and far-fetched as being happy, but rather consciously decide not to get influenced by baseless ideas, empty, sophisticated thoughts, and fighting to be a mere minimalist.
Happy New Year, everyone!
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