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From The Afterglow

Verses, Tales, Thoughts

By Varsha Panikar

So what have you been up to since?

I dread this probe more than the dreadful visits to a government office. No response can validate my existence. Nothing comes forth, but the trite reality of the last few years. When I was younger, I had an excuse for procrastination. After all, I was working towards something, towards some bright future behind hopeful eyes. I could answer with ease back then.

Now my mind searches for internal consolation at my supposed lack of success. “I’m still kinda young” is one such rationalization. But this excuse will serve its time as well, and then what? I’m sure I’ll come up with something. The expectations of others weigh too heavily on some of us who still do odd jobs for money. I know it isn’t just me, and I know this sounds a bit whiny. They just expected so much of me.

So much money spent and so many years of education later, I can not even remember most of the information I memorized and regurgitated. So many years of working, and somehow, I still find myself sitting on a heap of bleeding pens, crumpled manuscripts and a scattering of unpaid bills. If my life were a game, I would have to take five spaces back. I justify my whining. I can justify anything these days, like a defense mechanism against my discontent with all I haven’t done. However, there’s always a ‘yet’ to insert. A future where I have things figured out and people think of me without concern because behold, I am successful!

So this is it! I'm driven by fantasies of a future that is as real as my next daydream. What if all the motivational articles were true? ‘Ten Steps to Make Your Dream A Reality!’ as promised. For a moment, my hope is renewed. What if I quit dreaming and started living? What if I defined success on my terms? What if I could just shrug off those silent expectations and rest in confidence that I am doing my best? Am I doing my best?

"Oh, you know, I've been working, evolving and enjoying life and such." That is the best response I can come up with.

Their hope for me dims.

Excerpts from my series, City On Wheels.

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