You Are What Life Makes You

Until sometime ago, on any given day, I would have never agreed had you tried to convince me that you were what life made of you. Right from childhood, the idea of sheer freedom in life has fascinated me and that’s how I have gone about it. Like everyone else, I thought I was different.

I thought that words such as fate, luck, fear, safety, wealth, good, bad, et cetera were only for the lesser mortals. I took everything as permutation and combination – just random events. I managed to see some good in bad and some bad in good.

I would feel people around me were missing so much in life. I would wonder why everyone was playing it so safe. They would worry so much about so many things. People around me were afraid that bad things could happen to them. Strangers were looked at as bad people.

Then one night, I was returning from office after a party. I was dropped by my teammates about 100 meters away from my home. It was 1230 am and I was walking down the pavement. Suddenly, I felt a strong blow behind my neck. Before I could understand what was happening, both my hands were held tight and I was pinned to the ground. What next? It started raining punches. The next thing I remember was standing on my feet and reaching out to my pocket for the cigarettes. They were empty. The wallet, cellphone, cigarettes were all gone. The quarter bottle of Teacher’s scotch whiskey was gone too.

Back home, upon noticing all the blood, the roommates started asking about it. I narrated them the incident in my own devil-may-care attitude. I told them how my crappy phone had been troubling me and that the burglars would be disappointed by it anyway. Their eyes dilated upon seeing how unruffled I was.

I still believe that this was a very petty issue. But it has changed a lot of things in me. I hated telling people about that incident because of the thought that they would make fun of me being beaten up. I started doubting things. I now think twice before heading out alone at night. I think that people around me are not that good. I now wonder that maybe it is justified of people to behave cautiously in life, considering how much they have seen and experienced.

But soon the flip-side also struck me – I am convinced that what I have been doing till now was nothing but a kind of intellectual masturbation. If this little an incident could have so much impact on me, then what about other people? Real bad things happen to people compared to what happened to me.

Perhaps some of the readers might be feeling, “What a loser! He’s letting a little incident transform himself.” That’s fine, it isn’t the issue. What’s important is that I have started feeling likewise.