I hadn’t told my parents I was going to Kashmir (Remember rule 15 from 15 life lessons from cycling uphill). I did say that I might go, way back in December, but they didn’t pay too much attention to that (surprisingly).
But the main problem was that I was doing this in the middle of the semester. I just couldn’t fit the football schedule around my vacations and if I were to make the trip, I needed to do it now. Cause Real Kashmir was in the title race and if they won, it would be a pivotal moment both football wise and socially for the whole country. I absolutely needed to be there. It was like a biological urge that makes you perform life functions. The cost would probably be this semester. But I was willing to pay that price. Cause honestly, I know I have more value to gain and more value to give outside the walls of the classroom of the Humanities and Social Sciences department here. Even if I go to class, I will be staring at that door, thinking what a wonderful world there is outside to explore, while my mind was sedated with class. But no disrespect to the amazing people who spend their entire lives learning a discipline and becoming amazingly competent at it. For most people that environment is conducive. Unfortunately, I am not most people. This is my personal opinion, and by no means should it be interpreted as an insult to the department. But honestly, that place sucks :p
Imagine explaining all this to your parents.
I thought I would reach Delhi and break the news about Kashmir so that they would stress for one day less than they have to.
I was so wrong.
I take the call.
“Where are you?”
It’s the instinctive maternal tone of enquiry a mother has towards her baby whenever something bad happens in the world. I lose my voice, I say I am on a train, near Delhi and I am moving towards Jammu.
(I just realised being my parents is a really stressful job. They don’t get enough credit for that.)
She wasn’t happy. She couldn’t wrap her head around why I would want to go to Jammu. The moment I said football, she was like “not again”. Of all the drugs that the great god has created in bounty for us on earth, football is the most potent one. She knows her son is a junkie on that and his decision-making skills are questionable whenever a game of football is being played.
She was still very upset, she asked me what I was going to do about classes. As a bandage of an answer I said I would fake a medical certificate and try to get by, but both of us knew that was not happening.
She asked me what should she tell Achan. She told me to tell him. I can waltz into a war zone, but the former was something I really didn’t want to do. I expected her to ask me to get off at the next station and come back asap. I really did. But she didn’t. We need to take a trip down memory lane for that.
I think I was in second standard. Amma sent me to get some meds from the local pharmacy. It was like 30 meters away from my house. But it was closed. So I came back empty-handed.
Then she told me something which I would remember in that moment of doubt in Andaman express. She told me, if you go out to get something or set out to do something, don’t come back until its done, until the mission is accomplished. She probably won’t remember it. But little Yadu was pissed and he walked all the way to Palarivattom cursing his luck cause he was running an errand at 5:30 pm, when Pokemon was on Cartoon Network. It didn’t make sense then, but the impression it left on that little kid subconsciously made me think; Well, you have travelled halfway across the country. Why stop now?
What gave me the courage to not turn back was Amma. She didn’t contradict herself from all those years ago. She knew I was going there to do something. If she had asked me to turn back now, my entire childhood paradigm would have been compromised. But she didn’t do that. She told, “Go carefully. You know how to take care of yourself. Call me every day and update all your moves and please go back to class as soon as you can.”
Those are what I call values. These foundations of thought and conduct which have been imprinted in your subconscious that tells you what to do. Even when you have no idea what you are doing. I like to believe that my parents have given me great values to work with. You can disagree with me on that, I don’t mind.
From nadir to a ray of hope, Amma changed the entire dynamic of that difficult situation. I respect her and love her so much for that. She was always the person who got things done in our family and having a strong woman with conviction around you while growing up really helps you in a situation like this.
Thank you Amma.
After that I get calls and messages from a lot of my mates asking me to come back, or to be careful. I absolutely love all of you guys and I am so thankful for your concern. My answer to all this however was, I am going forward with the trip. I will get to Jammu and see how the situation is and make a decision there.
Hizrat Nizzamudhin passed by. I knew I had passed the point of no return and in the process, proved to myself just how much I wanted this.
To be continued………