Saturday, July 07, 2018

The inevitable changes in the journey of life

I was on this flight to back home the other day, deeply engrossed in the in-flight entertainment TV show when my co-passenger tapped on my TV screen. I pushed back my headphone to look at him and he pointed me to the flight attendant. The flight attendant was trying to get my attention to check if I wanted food. I took the food, politely apologized to both the attendant and the co-passenger, stopped the TV and settled down to eat. “You like that show?” my co-passenger asked me with a slight questionable smile. I nodded my head but did not understand why he was smiling. “Your kids traveling with you?” he asked again, and I said no. We did not speak after that but I was surprised how he knew I had kids. It then occurred to me. The moment the in-flight entertainment had started, I had gone to the kids section, searched for a cartoon and had settled down for a princess cartoon which my daughter watches. The funny part was that my kids were not even with me on that flight J

I got down at the airport, and my connecting flight was after an hour. I sat in the waiting area still thinking about that incident on the flight. I think every event in life brings about a change in us, however subtle. We change after high school, after college, after marriage, after kids, when we start a job; and it goes on. Probably the biggest change is after marriage and after kids. When you have kids you know what your kids want and adjust your life to suit the kids. Your vacation list now has only kid approved places and the vacation days are only around the kids’ school holidays. You no more go to a movie or watch a TV show which is not appropriate for the kids. Maybe that co-passenger had kids and that is how he knew I had kids.

Outside of these big changes I think we also go through temporary transformations every day as we step into work. In my case I think I become a little more patient, little more attentive, little more careful, the moment I step into office. It’s not just the different work wear, the funny part is even our language changes. We are no more just at work or in meetings. We are now in “stand up” meetings, preparing “decks”, working for weekend ‘deliverables” and focusing on “production installs”

I glanced at my watch and still had over 30 mins for my next flight. I walked to a coffee shop to get coffee. I took the coffee and went to get sugar and cream. I was at the sugar and cream table when another gentlemen came and stood next to me. He too had coffee in his hand and had come to get sugar and cream. I usually take about 5 to 6 sachets of sugar for 12oz of coffee. I would take sachet after sachet never thinking twice while I was in college, but getting into work has changed it all. I had to put through surprise stairs and questions from people in office for consuming so much sugar. I am now a little more discreet while adding those extra sugar sachets trying not to attract too much attention. So I took 2 sachets and stirred my coffee waiting for the gentleman to leave. The guy too took 2 sachets and kept stirring his coffee. It was more than like a few seconds but the guy did not move. After probably a minute of stirring the coffee I gave up and decided to go for 4 more sachets and ignore if the guy comments. To my utter surprise, the guy too took 4-5 more sachets of sugar and looked at me. We both realized we were waiting for each other to move, to add more sugar. We greeted each other and he told me how he too gets strange looks from people when he adds those extra sachets of sugar. We bid goodbye to each other and I walked back to my flight gate with an added sense of assurance. 

So it’s not just me. Everyone who goes through the regular life events also goes through some inevitable changes. One change might be to accommodate something new while another change might be to accommodate something different. Bottom line, I think it’s these changes that defines where we stand in this journey of life.

~Narendra V Joshi

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