Dream another day

Last Updated 05 April 2014, 13:48 IST
Let me confess. When I was really, really small, the only dream I had was to become a bus driver when I grew up.

I admired the proficiency with which they manoeuvred the huge steering wheel to control the big bus. 

I sat in the front seat, always, and watched them negotiate the sharp curves of country roads with ease. 

Bus drivers were my ideal. Elders laughed it off saying, “An apple never falls far from the tree.
”Well, I was after all from a family of transport operators, you see, where the talk always centered around buses and trucks and drivers and conductors.  

That was the beginning. Of my dreams, I mean. 

During summer holidays, every afternoon, we children waited for the elders at home to retire to their rooms for their siesta to venture out. 

To our utter delight, we had discovered a stream closeby, with many trees around, where dhobis washed clothes and dried them on the strings that ran from one tree to another. 

It was a perfect place for us to play hide and seek. We took utmost advantage of it. 

But, deep down, there was another dream shaping up for me. 
I wanted to be a dhobi. 

The skill with which they beat clothes on stones in the stream left me mesmerised. 

I watched them in awe.
To add to the fun, I could play in water thoughtout the day if I was a dhobi, I figured. 

To my family’s amusement, I even tried imitating their actions at home, with my mother’s sari, only to end up complaining of pain in my arms in the night.

I then wanted to become a candy seller. 
The one with the pink sticky candy. 
He came on his cycle on alternate days around noon, with his ware, and fashioned his sticky candy into shapes that we wanted them in. 
If we had a pink candy watch once, it was a ring the next time, and a bangle another time. 

It was fun. We compared our designs among ourselves and tried arguing with one another on how our design candy was the best. 

That was when I felt I should become a candy seller so that I can have the best design candies in the world for myself.

Come election time, in my small town of Chikmagalore, which had only two main roads, there would be a flurry of activity. 

Autos with huge speakers fixed on their tops, and pictures of netas with folded hands pasted on their rear, went around the town canvassing for some candidate or the other. 
They even threw out pamphlets by the tens, as their auto moved slowly. Our favourite pastime at that time of the year was to run after such autos and collect as many pamphlets as possible. 
Sometimes, along with pamphlets, they also gave out party symbols in plastic, which we could pin on our dresses à la a stylish brooch. 

That was when I decided I wanted to become nothing but an election canvasser.
Imagine life when you can hoard party symbols by the dozens, and don’t have to do an Usain Bolt-esque run for pamphlets. Perfect!
Later, as life took me along its course, I got busy with the mundane things in life, losing my sleep over the rigmarole of securing a decent education... and, in the event, losing my innocent dreams. 

The dreams I so cherished. 

The dreams I so longed to realise. I was reminded of Albert Einstein’s — “The only thing interfering with my learning is my education”. 
I wanted to scream out, “The only thing interfering with my dreams is my education”. Alas, if only life was that simple. 
For, the only dreams that were considered worth dreaming were always tied to their earn-ability. 
The association was bizarre. 
But, even life seemed to hold its breath, awed by its own irony. 

Life cruised on, thus, taking with it both dreamers and non-dreamers. 

Overawed by the race of life to get to the top, by means fair or foul, I felt left out. 

They generally say it’s lonely at the top. 

But, I felt lonely on the fringe. 

Well, I guess that’s life. 
There are advantages, though. 

I now have time to start dreaming, all over again. 
It’s never too late, you see. 

(Published 05 April 2014, 13:48 IST)

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