“So here we are“, her voice announced.
I had been sitting rather jittery all evening. Interviews make me nervous. Nervous is probably the wrong term for it. It makes me feel uncomfortable. The whole idea of being questioned and behind held answerable never did appeal to me. It’s just the way of my life. When you spend ample time listening to questions, putting your head down because the answers were either difficult or just didn’t exist, it does set the tone of things to come. Hate being interviewed or interrogated.
“Yup, here we are”, I nervously acknowledged.
Lets not beat around the bush, she declared. Let me get straight to it. You’ve made lousy choices in your life. What’s that all about?
Damn it. I knew this was coming. Big brother always watches everything. I didn’t realize that everything was watched and taken into account. Ah well, the lady was right. She didn’t believe in beating around the bush.
Choices.. I hummed. Where do I start with it? You know the deal right. I was handed lousy cards to begin with. Things were not especially easy. I did what I had to do. Either I could sit and crib about it all, or make a few choices and get on with the program. The big picture, I am what I am because of the choices I made. I did rewrite what was shoved on me right?
Ah,han.. was all that she said.
So what you are telling me is that, since your life was not easy, your choices are justified? , she asked.
Does it matter now? I went on to explain. I did what I had to do because the things I wanted to do were being denied. Was that act of being denied every single wish of mine any justifiable? Is that what this is? A conversation over the big hypocrisy of the fairness of the world?
I didn’t mean it that way, she said. Has it ever occurred to you that being denied of what you wanted could have actually altered the course of what all you had manage to achieve. It would have set you free from the violence. It would set you free of being shamed over and over again. You would not have placed yourself in a spot which provoked people to ridicule you. The way I see it, your choices spiralled you down the path that you took. Don’t blame the so called hypocrisy of the fairness for the world because of your actions.
Excuse me, I interjected.
Oh come on. don’t be so naïve. Acharya refused to take you in. You could have gone the route of that other kid. See how things panned out for him. But no, you chose deception to honesty. Where did that leave you? . Her voice had taken a serious tone now.
What deception are you talking about here? Am I not what I am. Why be tagged to what the world wants me to be? Besides, the only act of foolishness that I dared attempt was to keep my teacher rested. I chose to let him sleep in peace. That was the folly of my choice, if there was one. But hey, the good deed went overlooked. Petty technicalities came into scope. There you go.. the hypocrisy of your fairness. My sacrifice meant diddly do squat. Where is the fairness in that!?
I sure felt a little worked up. I realized that I had to calm myself a little. I breathed in heavy. Big deal. I cared nothing about being judged. World had always judged me plenty and I proved them all wrong!
Fair enough, she said.
You know what, she started again. I don’t really get you. Generous to people and still a lousy judge of character. You could have walked the other way you know. I bet it was your pride that kept you dragging down! How else can I place the two sentences together. A man whose generosity earned him wide acceptance and still the company he kept , damned him to hell
hmmm.. I murmured. I hadn’t really seen things this way before.
I think the answer is choice, I said. Both instances, I chose to be generous. I chose the friends I kept. I guess it boils down to how things started. when you are denied even your dignity, I guess when someone walks along and treats you as a person, there is a bond that is formed. Who am I to judge. Despite the million vices that surrounded him, his one act of virtue had me sold.
Lets talk about the people that you so dearly protect. Men of virtue. Where is that virtue when you rob others of their dignity. All their virtues could not even add up to the one my friend expressed that day. Sure, he got a lot wrong going for him. As I said, who am I to judge. I stood by him. He was free to make his choices, which he did. I was free to make mine. which I also did. To each, their own now aint it!
But at what price, the lady asked
One does not really know the price of dignity till they lose it. Lose yours and then lets talk about it!
Does that mean you don’t regret your choices? , she asked
What’s not to regret. I sure do. I don’t regret the choices I’ve made. I knew what I was buying into. All that I regret is being born into a world that judges. I regret being in a world where everything but me was judged based on everything that really wasn’t me. I deeply regret that.
What about your mom and the fight?
Naah, that’s ok. It did set a lot of things right. She set a lot of things right. It didn’t change everything that I had fought and survived for so long. But it did feel great. The fight was sure lousy. I guess all wars are lousy. Wars rob kids of their childhood. Wars would force a lot of kids to face the brutalities of my reality. Had to happen. I don’t mind the way things ended. It kind of felt befitting. Once again, I stood helpless and vulgarly exposed. The moment came crashing in. The good thing is, when you lead a life living through just that, it does not really surprise you.
Right, Mr Karna. So if I were to tell you that if you ‘Revisit your choices’, you have a heaven to look forward to, would you then ditch your special friend. We have rules here you know. Your company really does not warrant a hay time here!
Hmmm, I thought for a second. Nope, wouldn’t really change a thing. Keep your heaven to yourself. As I said, already lived through hell, nothing out there is going to top that!!!!
You sure? you are throwing away an eternity in heaven over this.
SO BE IT, darling I said. I got up and walked away.