".....I would have preferred doing otherwise, or living otherwise. But I let myself overcome by things ... things foreign to me got started to get in; they began to rule me ......"
Yes, you have rightly guessed (if you have read my previous blog/s); it is a piece of dialogue from a Spanish film. (With English sub titles, of course) The character, a rich old man over 70 telling this to his 15 year old son, who had aberrational behavior. His wife who was half his age was revelling in drug and sex parties every evening......Well, I am not going to narrate the film story. In fact I was wondering if we do not think the same way as the old man.... as we age, 'I would have preferred.....' Whether you are rich and successful in life or a failed miserable, you get this kind of thought...'if only I took chances with the other choices.....' - other than what actually I did, - be it with people, matter or opportunities, you always see better things if you chose the other. But you didn't!
Back in 1969 July, when the then prime minister Indira Gandhi announced nationalisation of top 14 private banks of India, I was a bundle of miseries, for, I had resigned my job in Canara Bank Ltd in December 1968 and got relieved on the last day of the year. There was no job satisfaction at Rs.180/- odd take home monthly package for a bank clerk in Delhi. Of course, as a bachelor, I truly enjoyed life with the remuneration, but without hope for a future. I had people ahead of me having put in over 15 years of service as a clerk without promotion, except an intermediary post between officer and clerk! Growth of banks after nationalisation was phenomenal. (And so the NPA - non-performing assets meaning irrecoverable loans). When my juniors got promotions within two years after nationalisation, I regretted my decision to resign. And after about ten years, when I came to know of a person, a colleague of mine, whom all of us at the branch considered as the dullest head as regards banking accounts were concerned, was promoted as a branch manger, well, I knew how nationalisation of banks had in store for Indian economy. People who worked in banks in those days know it all well.
No doubt my chosen profession, a show room with franchise of distribution for two districts of a motorcycle of repute in those days, gave me a lot of satisfaction and pride and status in society, which my bank job would not have provided. I was my own man, never required to bow my head to my superior officers. Above all, I set goals for myself for a better future. Yet, that sense of loss of an opportunity was still there!
Quite a few people at the park where I go regularly for my morning and evening walks ask me sheepishly if I was a retired army personnel! A six footer with an erect standard body and an army march type of straight steps in my walking style, may naturally make an onlooker think that way. But every time a stranger asks me so, a wave of sadness passes over my face. It reminds me of my elders refusing to sign in their consent on my application for a second lieutenant job in the Indian army. I was an outstanding NCC cadet during my college education and the military establishment offered a short service commission (seven years with an option to continue) for such cadets in their second year of graduation with a condition that they pass out their graduation at first attempt. Of course, I did have options to join army once I graduated and became an adult without needing any body's consent. But then, not only the process of getting the job was not as easy as the short service commission during education, but also by that time I had lost interest in joining the army. 'I would have preferred.....'
I have reasons to believe that everybody has this syndrome with varying intensity and frequency of after effects; if some go into deep depressions, some just laugh it out as foolish memories, a truly blessed lot! -'I would have preferred.....', Nope, I do have my preferences right now, in this moment, here and what I prefer or choose is the best under the prevailing circumstances, do it and be happy!....forget the rest!!