“Yes, I’d love some.” Said the fifty-something. She looked all right, quite stuffed actually but did not refuse the offering. This yes was to a kulfi, the quintessential feel-good Indian ice cream, which is unrefusable. You get it! I do.
Hang on, these didn’t look like friends- they were way too young. She stood out, although in a nice, nice way. I was curious and more. You would be too, undoubtedly. What was this group? I shifted my stool closer to theirs, in, what I considered, a subtle attempt to eavesdrop. “Tch, tch”, my mom would’ve said, “not good habit beta!” But I am a writer, I making a living out of eavesdropping, and honestly, what else would I do? This is something I’m adept at – it’s ‘The Art of listening without’. Have you tried it- and not got caught? So far i’ve been getting away, but i’m sure you’ve tried it and everyone knew you were eavesdropping. Now, what i’ve done is cultivated this, and boy, am i good at it! I’m around if ever you wanna take this up a notch.
I’m a mid-lifer – you know in my mid-thirties, and have already tried my luck, or hand, if you will, at various professions. You might ask, what they were, now that I have taken up property in the land of ‘all ears’. The thing is, baking, singing, writing screenplays, managing a day-care centre- all of this had an expiry date, apart from the singing, which I still do, for friends and at private gatherings. You may’ve heard me and not known it’s me.
- The day-care Centre was a disaster from the word go. The little ones bawled, and I would read on, unperturbed. Within a week, two sets of parents removed their kids, and I was left with only 8 kids, who made their way to a ‘more caring environment’. I have to admit, I wasn’t heartbroken.
- Screenplays : i cannot write fiction. After two rejections, I could tell this was a cul-de-sac. I turned around.
- I found my calling pretty soon thereafter. I realized that my ears could become my ears, and vice versa, without much ado. It was like someone created a new being, with a brand new set of twin organs. I thought it a brilliant idea to cash in on this hitherto undiscovered talent. I am learning much, about so much.
So you know how vital the respect factor is- like it’s imperative to lead a life with a decent level of self-esteem.
I could write a thesis on How to Forge Ahead with or without Talent. I don’t think it’s difficult to build talent, once you decide what your calling should be (so it’s mostly minus genius, and one teaches oneself anything one puts one’s mind to, clever eh!?)
Look at me, here I am, in a café, tuning in to a conversation, because as i see it, these are young folk eating out of the hand of a lady who’s got what it takes. The Mid-lifer is saying something about feeling free, letting go, about being in the moment – all stuff open to misinterpretation, isn’t it!? Were I twenty-something, I would relate this advice to prohibited stuff. Your guess is as good as mine.
The young audience is agape. It’s a hip group, yet listening with rapt attention. I have observed (very often, especially when i speak 😉 listening skills are on the wane, but this one’s got it right. I am getting drawn in too. That’s what’s transpiring, am forgetting to take notes, mental or otherwise, to put to good use, to tweak and twist in my next article.
She has their respect, that she clearly does. You would too, were you here by my side, eavesdropping. I’ve heard enough; now those notes.
- Don’t worry about success (when did I last hear that!)
(Luckily she stopped at that!)
- Pay attention to details….God lies in the details, in the small stuff. People might say, don’t sweat the small stuff, I would say, sweat it. Be courteous; be attentive to the small people- coz they go on to become the Big People.
- Small gestures for your own – folk that matter to you- like making an impromptu call, writing a letter (who does either anymore?), drop in on neighbours with a dish, or without.
- CODE Word : JLT – just like that : talking about yourself and your life- engaging a person, communicating one way or another- ‘hey what’s on your mind, you’ve got that look? Share.’ You talk, they talk. That’s how it works.
- Change a routine week- doing date nights just like that, driving off. A lot of ‘Just Like That’s’ become the foundation for healthy, long-lasting relationships. Makes sense.
- Money is not God, but pretty close to One. Don’t misuse it, don’t abuse it- never take it for granted. If it comes easy- it goes easy. Ask the businessman, ask the 9-5 posh MNC gentleman, ask the guy on the street. Today : it comes, and it goes, in the blink of an eye.
- Get the money-earning out of the way.
How’d it go with your Education? Mine was sad: tests, sorry results. Exams : sadder results, and i managed to scrape through. But i’m smart, and i know it. It’s my home that made me believe in myself, in my capabilities, in me. The school- college routine was mandatory, and in a worldly sense, we must all adhere to the routine. I’m sure you’ve been there, done that, right? I still don’t know how it helped, but i enjoyed the peer interaction, and it made the burden of the years of getting ‘educated’ , bearable.
You can forego it for the nextgen- home-school the kids. Tough call? Yes. You can do far better if you’re ready to listen, and to give of yourself; yep, tis hard work but the rewards, if you’re that kinda person, are astounding, and deeply satisfying. But hey, an international school will do just as well, if you’re busy chasing the big bucks! (Sarcasm? Think so.)
- Education : lifelong
Borrowing money : a no-no.
- Look ahead, always.
- If you are constantly saying sorry, there is something amiss. You need to Forgive Yourself for your mistakes…and there’ll be more. But you know what to do – move on, rectify, forgive, learn, move on.
- Low self-esteem : sagging confidence makes you are more likely to commit either the same errors, or similar ones. It’s an awfully sticky cycle. Go overhaul or get a new cycle, or perhaps something on four wheels
- Laughter is king. Laugh a little everyday, and carry the mirth of it with you as baggage, nothing else.
I had heard enough for one day. She wasn’t delivering a sermon, because all of the above was injected with a number of jokes about one or the other, and how obsessed one moron was with money- or the girl keen on repeating mistakes with her boyfriend etc. It was all very congenial, but it got me thinking. I went home and thought I’d start afresh.
This lady and her ‘friends’ got me thinking.
But before leaving the arena, I asked the pretty lady at the bar what that was about, and a large grin appeared on her face. This was a teacher at the nearby college, and arrived once a week, with a group of students to refresh it all. It was clearly working!
Now I’m kicked. What did I really, really want? Well, money for one, plentiful.
To : travel, travel, travel and photograph every nook, every corner of planet Earth.
No marriage, no kids, no routine.
There have been solitary evenings, when I’ve nursed many a foamy beer, but not nearly enough.
- Discipline : YES!
- Love food so: cookery classes/girlfriend? Nah. Just the classes.
- Love photography : classes and save the planet from mobile photography. Do the real thing. Yay!
- Document my travels : Journal writing cannot be learnt, so perhaps find a girlfriend? Find myself a Ghost writer? Be the ghost myself? Friend in need- Jumbo writes well, can ask him. What would you have me do? What would you do?
So just write, and we’ll see. Pass it around for feedback, go easy on self-critique, and receive in abundance.
It all ties in nicely. This way I can remain a permanent mid-lifer. The secret, I reckon, lies in being a learner forever.
I turn to the Mid-Lifer in my head. I see her agog with a joie de vivre, despite the aging bones, and a sagging chin. Her attitude, that’s just it. Embracing the moment, and being gleeful in the small joys that life throws up, every now and then.
I think my Mid-lifer journey’s begun. What about yours? Go for it.
I begin by interacting with strangers, and they begin poker-faced, and then warm up, and we end up laughing uproariously about this and that. It’s perfect. Try it, worst case scenario, you’ll be seen as queer, and that’s good, anything other than normal is brilliant!
….. a podcaster is what I shall be for now!