After two hours of undisturbed concentration, I look back at my vacant office chair and say to myself, goodbye!

As I was engrossed in compiling a report requested by my boss, I didn’t bother giving ear to my colleague, who was talking philosophy, something which interested me. It is a rarity for me to be absorbed in work, especially in the last few months, but then, there are certain kinds of work we all enjoy doing, even though the job itself might be highly unsatisfactory. There are numerous news articles about how today’s youth have abandoned stereotype approach to life, and how they answered their life’s calling. Somehow, I have failed to realize what ‘life’s calling’ means. Or maybe, I am just another easy go lucky person.

Belonging to a typical middle income Indian family, my parents have given me every possible freedom. They have allowed me to be independent in life, from a very early age itself. Initially when I started going to school, I traveled in a private vehicle which transported 8 others kids in our locality. In a year, I was using the public transport for my daily commute to school. I don’t remember details of my early school life, but at times, I momentarily recall the unforgettable events as clear as HD playback. I wish to rejoice again looking back at my life’s timeline all the way till my earliest memory. The last time I did a rewind; it was in the year 2014. I could barely get back in my memories till 2004, where I realized that I had near photographic images of my college years, the ones which will never be forgotten. Why are our college years so memorable? What is so special about those years which form only one tenth the age of the average human life expectancy?

Nowadays at office, most of my time is predominantly consumed with thoughts about the future expectations and my present day eagerness to stay socially connected. It is a contagious disease. Add to it the responsibility of having a good lifestyle. What happens after office hours is pure peace. It seems I am waging a war within; there is this invisible timer, which, at the strike of 5:30 pm, signals that the war will continue the following day, except for weekends too, when the tired warrior gets time to relax.

It was 5:30 pm, time to punch out of the office, end of another uneventful day in my work life. I take my belongings, punch out in the attendance machine, and get into the car. I have a 100 km drive back home; I enjoy driving. More than a decade ago, back in college, me and my friends would impromptu drive to secluded places and yet be surrounded full of life, nature! I remember vividly the scenic beauty driving past waterfalls, canopies of thick lush green jungles, dancing peacocks, cool breeze, and narrow asphalt roads leading to the gates of heaven. All of which is a rarity again, now that I have left them behind in college.

I am elated, and I also know that I am such a wasted soul. During my entire day at office, I am lost. I get these weird thoughts of running away from strange objects. This is probably a childhood phenomena, only now do I understand that I have had such dreams ever since my growing up days. Something psychological I must assume. Frankly, I was not meant to be like this, working on computer all day, that too with an extended monitor, to ascertain myself that I am working smartly, as if that would make my soul happier.

As a small town boy, growing up in a semi-urban landscape, I would find mundane indulgence better than sitting idle. I mean, there was so little to do at home, except for doing homework, or eating or sleeping. The only time I felt burdened was when the examinations came by. All my neighborhood friends studied in the same school but any distinction of seniors and juniors was limited to school hours, after which, we were brothers. I can say with surety that my world was tiny, comprising of not more than a dozen odd people any given day. I was happier. There was no academic competition among us. We were a bunch of laid back boys, accepting bi-yearly academic challenges on a subject to subject basis. We did compete, but that was when we played sports. I remember myself nearly getting into a brawl, and then feeling the sadness of losing an argument. That didn’t obstruct our friendship in any way, more than love for each other; we augmented our behavioral relationship based on oneness. We quickly forgot our differences, compromised our views, all in the name of doing what we enjoyed the most, which was playing! I doubt if I will ever experience it again in my life.  This day, I accept defeat if someone compared my mundane indulgence with productive learning, and yet, I would not be discontented with whatever little I learnt then. I did a lot of things with the least expectation of receiving anything in return.

Today, on my return journey from office to home, I am left to wonder when I gaze in nothingness. The thoughts are provocative.

What are you doing?

What have you done to yourself?

I hate this very moment when my inner voice starts taking control over my sanity. I try to be rational and avoid confrontation. I concentrate on safe driving.

What happens after 10 hours of toggling between different files on a computer?

I am exhausted.

No need for hypnosis, I can let my inner voice speak loud without the twitch of pendulum.

I am trying hard not to lose focus, but then, the road is clear. I enjoy my ride back home.  Pure peace will not elude me now, for it is not far away, when I look back at that office chair of mine, and finally say, Goodbye, forever….

Excerpt – “This short story is about my work life experience compared with my memories as a student. I feel there is a disconnect in today’s youth to enjoy their work, which needs little more than just motivation..”