“Many roads diverged in the yellow wood,
Shall he take the weathered one, as the mellow would?
Or burst behind the mob, as the callow would?
Cautious and dwelling, the fellow stood.”
I stand at a crossroad. No, it’s a junction. It is a spray of paths that lie before me, splitting into a hundred directions in front of me; each pulling me tenaciously. From my feet springs a new path, a new possibility at every second thought. I hold on, barely , like a charioteer trying to keep a chariot drawn by a hundred horses in shape and direction. But I cannot linger, I cannot halt. The past is an abyss, a black hole sucking through, getting stronger at every passing second. All I have is this moment, the present. And I have to choose.
Somebody wise once told me that, ‘every one shall definitely face three things in life,a soul tearing choice, a heart wrenching test and a distinct rock bottom failure; in that particular order.’ The past is simple; the present, complex; and the future, indecipherable. There are some distances – the most crucial of them all – which must be travelled alone. That is a trod of vigour, bravery, hope, faith and endurance, but before that you have to choose the path, and even before that, you prepare yourself.
How I ended up in the woods was never the question. I knew, that I was not one of the box, even though I made a thousand efforts to blend in. I knew that I had both; my destiny and destination outside of the conventionality of my immediate society. It was
unfortunate fortunate opportune, that to reach a point where I was truly allowed to dictate my choices and would be held responsible for my decisions; I would have to walk the conventional path. I was destined for the woods, it was just that I took the cab to reach there. However, what matters is the journey I undertook to reach that point where I had a say , to and for, myself.
It is all a gameplay of destiny and destination. You may be destined to reach a destination, or the destination is not a part of your destiny. Often, life makes you choose – destiny or destination. Janus, the two faced god alters your paths in a way that allows you to take control and move away from your destiny, a paradox which when you think about it, has plenty of examples to support it. Few manage to outwit Janus into choosing both – the destiny and the destination. My destiny was to conform to conventionality, my destination was to sprout my creativity, build it, create another scenario for Janus to try me, and beat him again. At least, that’s the plan.
The woods. My journey till the woods was an ode to love and disregard, friendship and loneliness, gratitude and intolerance, hues and greys, fullness and emptiness, and guts and glory. I realised lessons I needed vastly, both the easy and the bitter ways. I affirmed principles and morals that will act as my armour and my weapons, and most crucially, I realised that it is all a matter of cycles – up and down, troughs and crests, highs and lows. Things and deeds come around, actions and intentions are as different as hail and thunder. I have lived far too long in the darkness to not appreciate the light.
So here I stand. At the end of my conventionality, into the light woods, with a multitude of pathways in front of me. I know where I want to go. I don’t know which way is it though. I know where is my end point, I don’t know which direction it lies in. I know my haven, but I know not which path will lead me there. I know I want to go to my goal, but I don’t know if I will be able to make it.
How does it work? Does the end justify the means? Or the means validate the adherent failure to get to the end? What do I focus on, the road or the target?
The heart beats, the mind whispers. Reason says left, conscience says right. Janus stands here, once again. Funnily enough, I look back to my destiny for my answer.
Conventionality. Society and it’s norms may not all be for me, but I have learnt a lot from what I did expose myself to. It taught me that it is sometimes just a matter of taking a step, the first step which marks the beginning of something great. Take things slowly. If you know your destination, and your next step, you should be fine. Sometimes it will be a cascade of choices, many times you will fail and will need to give it time. Break things down, listen to your heart. Play the game of trust. Seek out, and lend a helping hand. Be honest to yourself, your principles and your goals. Seek out love. Immerse yourself completely in the ones you love. Stay in love. Balance reality and imagination. It is a journey. Never mince your words. And in the end, irrespective of other’s definitions of beauty, your life will truly be beautiful!
Conventionality taught me how to be unconventional. In a world where everyone wants to be different, it is crucial to be original. What I thought were blockages, became my stepping stones. The path next, needs to be which caters to my love and my aim – irrespective of any other diversions. I laud those factors which pushed me towards the ‘boring’ conventionality, they taught me the difference between uncommon and unique. They taught me that I was uniquely similar to billions, but similarly, uniquely, only one of myself.
I smile. I know my way.
What do we say to the god of gates, doors and pathways? ‘I choose my way.’
“Many roads diverge into the woods, and I know which one I want to travel on!”