The Must Gully and Should-mongers


elleluna_shouldmust1Today I came across an essay-turned-book: The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna. As the title suggests the book elaborates on the Should’s we all conform to, part influenced by the society and part owing to our cowardice, and the Must we ought to choose. I don’t claim to have read the book but will try to force my two-penny opinion onto you.

There is no dearth of advisers in our life. You are surrounded by them every moment of your active life, especially if you are in India. Hell, you even get advised on the direction you should face while shitting. Growing up in such a scenario we cant be blamed for choosing the Should’s most of our life. And to be fair to the conformists that’s a cozy and charming life. And most of all it makes people happy. It gives your near and dear ones a right to brag, of being-one-of-the-million corporate-sucking-arrogant-self-righteous-thumb-twiddling-douche-bag with moolah to buy the latest stuff. Who will leave such a life for a shit-load of must!

Many a conversations I had with friends who hate the Should’s they have been made to take, mind you most from some of the best schools in India, end up in wishful thinking and self-bashing. Its a should they were forced to choose now forcing their actions. Oblivious to it they still think in their self-righteousness I am the master of my decisions. You may ask whats wrong in it, till you are happy. For most it doesn’t matter. But for some, Life in retrospect is as worthy as life in the present. For those it matters you chose your musts in between the shoulds.

And to use the metaphor of a cross-road will be to give the Must more than its due than is given everyday. Its more of a gully – side lane most often shunned as its windy and narrow and slimy. Luna equates must to an inner calling which defines you and pursuit of which will keep you truly happy. As in all true quests its an uncertain, perilous, arduously long one laden with self-doubt, monsters and the like. And the beauty of it is not at the destination, but in the course of it. That makes the journey of Must so special.

Nobody will force you to take that path. Unless you have a guardian angel, they seem to be in short supply these days anyway. But if there is a voice strong enough in your head and a bursting self-confidence then take that gully for a distance. Even if you get lost, the people shouting Should’s are always around the next corner.


The Field Beyond


The Field Beyond“….this is not right.” She said.

Out beyond ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. Rumi sounds in my head. Chilly morning breeze freezing my face and hands. I see the field at a distance. It feels warm. Bright as early morning. The breeze is softer. The field was always as I imagined. Endless and golden. I see her. I swoosh past a couple of lorries. And then she’s not there. I am all alone. The gush of air in my ears and revving of the engine. Its not a bad place to be in. The calm lets my mind wander wherever it wants. Memories. Hopes. Freedom. And I head deep into the traffic.

Life is full of contrasts and semblances. Sometimes I feel the world outside to be a projection of my state of mind. It swings from peace to chaos like a pendulum in perpetual motion. Wasn’t the traffic I was heading into a reflection of the conflict inside me? I squeeze my way past two semi-trailers. Why do they let these vehicles within city limits during peak hours? Buggers. One moment I am in a serene field and the next I am searching the skies for the source of disturbance. Reminded me of the calm before the first monsoon rains back in my hometown. A longing to be back in the safety of childhood pangs at my heart. Jerked back by the rickshaw taking a near impossible maneuver to overtake me. Moron.

As all journeys this too has to end. A friend told me recently to count my blessings each day, it will make me a better man. Well I had my share of blessings today; the wonderful thoughts, the drive, the field and most importantly her. I see the field once again. She is there. And so are some others. That’s my field. My world. I park my car happily and head into the house. And I hear a low pitched rumble coming from the sky behind me.

PS: Thanks for the image.