An old reflection

As I put on my seat belt, she saw me. The father-daughter duo took notice of me seated next to the window, and the girl promptly sat next to me. The in-flight melody was abound with romantic English hits of the 2000s, and most of us looked visibly bored. In a few minutes, this girl and I were to share the arm rest 35,000 ft above sea level. Long hair pleated neatly, school bag on shoulders, and a doting father as an accomplice. We didn’t exchange smiles. I looked outside at the runway and she peeked once with me. Once, the flight took off, our respective books came out.

She started reading the NCERT book on biology, duly underlined and highlighted at several visibly important instances. Her father took turns between reading the newspaper and sleeping. I got my non-fiction self-help book out.

A decade ago, I was this kid with my dad preparing for the Karnataka State CET exam. It was funny to see that not much has changed in the textbook or in the mindset of children. With her interest in Biology, I can safely assume, she is on to become a doctor. She didn’t look out at the sunset over the horizon, the soft fluffy clouds cutting across the plane’s wings, or the night sky filling up the view. Androcieum and gynaecium of the maize plant with the other neighboring parts neatly labelled took prominence over other sights. She closed her eyes and memorised them once more.

As I looked out the window, the sun set on the horizon. I have written several exams in the last 10 years, and the most recent one being December 2015. I cleared a good share of them and failed most of them too. My learning has been that no matter what you aspire to be, life has its own way of moulding how you end up. I aspired to be a doctor a decade ago, and I came nowhere close to it. Today I am onto something completely unimaginable for myself 10 years ago. I do wish to believe what I chose has worked out in the better for me.

Looking at the little lady’s dedication to reading and memorising every single line on the page, I wish her luck for whatever she is preparing for. I also want to tell her that just in case, this doesn’t work out, be prepared for what comes up. Just be ok with it, that’s all. Meanwhile, the irony of this encounter was that I was reading a book titled ‘How to think clearly.’ Something that may or may not have helped me a decade ago. I was amused how this little encounter was unfolding.

Maybe I will bump into someone reading my current book someday in the future and perhaps reread this note and amuse myself again.