Baby Steps

Thank you, first of all, to Nikki Muller, whose birthday post has inspired this piece of late night writing.

Have you ever seen those videos of crazy skill at everyday jobs? The Chennai parota flinger, the beach candy floss dancer, the tea pulling dance, the bartender who can juggle flying alcohol?

When I see these guys do their thing, I inevitably ask myself the same question – how did they ever start? How do you take that one step from pulling tea normally to taking a 360 spin while doing it? How do you go from walking the parotas across the room in piles to just flinging them from the spot? Did the first parota end up in a pool of mud? Did the first candy floss cloud end up in your hair?

I’m at that first step stage right now. And take it from me, it’s daunting. I was looking for this one word for several days now – “daunting”. I kept characterizing the feeling as being ‘restless’, but ‘daunted’ is just so right. I’m daunted by the idea that in the next 1 year, I have to get an engineering degree, but also make sure I create a life where I don’t have to apply for a job. I want to sustain myself financially, and I want a final year thesis project that kicks ass and is quoted for years like Amartya Sen’s bullock cart wheel design. I also want to make a great film, write and direct a great play, while at least recording a few songs of my own because the visualization suite is available right now and the software are free to use and who knows where I will be in a year’s time. Also, my library membership will expire which will be horrible so I have to borrow a lot of books(currently 7 books on my name) and read them all at the same time. And oh yeah, let’s not forget the plan to revolutionize education. All this while trying my best to enjoy the final 12 months of college. Wow. Final year. What the hell am I going to say after this? What are you doing Shiv? I’m – working? I’ve always been working, college has been all about work, so was school. Home work. Class work. I’m – what?

That’s what’s daunting, isn’t it? It’s that feeling of whatthefuck am I doing? The immense vastness of life is striking me now – it’s no longer packaged in one-year or one semester-sized bundles. It’s just the rest of your life sitting out there, waiting to be made. It’s so much harder to analyze the small steps now, so much harder to see where the whole thing is going to take you. Parents don’t get it; they just want you to become the next huge thing. But I can see the huge thing too – hell it’s almost clouding my vision. What I can’t see as clearly is the path that leads to it, and where to put my foot down next. So I’m just more or less scrambling in every direction hoping there’ll be some signpost somewhere with an arrow saying – FINALLY, dude, you’re here. 

I think the answer lies in that phenomenal movie I watched so many years ago – Deewana Mastana. Baby steps. Remember that scene where Govinda can’t climb the stairs because the doctor’s advised baby steps? Hilarious stuff. Baby steps. I think I’m just going to make sure I feel like the next one step is in the right direction, take it, and hope for the best. RamC, this great, talented and wise guy, told me offhandedly in a 60-second conversation that life is about making the dots, and the dots will connect on their own… Great man, RamC. I mean, Steve Jobs. Whatever. I heard it from RamC.

I guess the important thing is to not overthink it, and celebrate it as much as one can(courtesy the wise MP). I don’t think wanting to change the world is helping me one bit. Just need a dose of good old I’m doing nothing right now, and then start making each day be nice and warm and fuzzy, and go to sleep feeling like, that couldn’t have gone any better. Baby steps. Hopefully, in a few days time, I’ll be I’m okay I’m alright I’m feeling better just like Govindaji. Until then, god. I can’t sleep!

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