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Diary: Me, Shromona, 19

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Last updated on: October 02, 2003 16:39 IST

It is difficult to describe my temperament. I like to think I am as complex as the rainbow, yet as lucid as the clear blue sea. And as obscure as a cloudy night, yet as unimpeded as daylight… 

I am a quaint, nonchalant introvert, whose only ambition in life is to get married and have two children, which sounds rather ludicrous in today's precocious world where women are becoming more and more career-minded. 

I choose to study people rather than computers. Perhaps that is what differentiates me from most people in the world, since I have no interest in politics, mathematics, or the sciences. I have no aspiration to reach for the stars, to earn truckloads of money, or to have my name down in textbooks for discovering some peculiar new element. 

Sometimes I get the uncanny feeling I was born in the wrong era. I believe girls such as myself are scarce in the ultra-modern 21st century, since the girls nowadays have an absolutely divergent outlook on life.

I am rather sensitive and emotional, though many may not agree with me when I say so, since I do not show my emotions very often. I believe everyone has their own tears to deal with. So I keep mine to myself. I am far from gregarious, and I do not open up to people easily. Some believe I am loquacious while there are others who insist I am taciturn.

I have been exposed to a variety of cultures. I was born in India, brought up in Kenya, and am now studying in the United States. Each of these places has their own distinct culture. This exposure has taught me the values and beliefs of other cultures without dispossessing me of mine. At the end of the day I still remain a typical Indian girl, which surprises everyone when I visit India, since they do not expect me to wear Indian clothes, let alone speak my native language!

My mother complains I never smile. She does not realise a smile is not the mere upturn of lips. Perhaps that is one of my adverse attributes. I am not a hypocrite, thus I cannot smile at each and every person when I can clearly gauge that he or she detests me.

I abhor liars and make it a point to stay at least six feet from people who emit negative vibes. My parents have always lauded me on a particular quality of mine: I am always content with what I have, be it my personal possessions or my grades in school. 

They did feel, however, this was also negative, since this very characteristic of mine would prevent me from striving for success in life. I agree with them to a certain extent, but I also feel that contentment opens doors to ecstasy and tranquillity. 

Perhaps I sound a bit like Gautama Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi or Mother Teresa, but I have no intention whatsoever of reaching the heights and achieving all that they did in their lives, for I know it will definitely take more than one lifetime for an ordinary person such as myself to bring about drastic change in this mundane world. Then again, you never know. Each droplet contributes to the creation of an ocean.

I follow certain philosophies in life, my favourite one being a quote from Mahatma Gandhi: "You must be the change you wish to see in this world." So I am continuously trying to assess and modify my behaviour according to the way in which I would expect others to behave with me. I am usually a realistic person and do not fancy building castles in the air. I accept reality, but do not surrender to failure. For me, failure is the stepping stone to success.

As a student, I have never been extraordinary. Education is simply not my cup of tea.  Music is one of my treasured hobbies. I love to sing when I am alone, when I am certain no one is assessing my singing. I grow conscious in the presence of others.

Dance is also my hobby, but I have not had the opportunity to dance since I started my college life. I am also rather fond of acting. I used to participate in plays and skits in my high school and community when I was in Nairobi, but again, college life has robbed me of this joy. 

My favourite pastime, however, may sound rather bizarre to most people. I simply adore studying people. It never fails to astonish me as to how unique each and every one of us is. I would be absolutely enthralled if I was to sit in a quiet room for an hour or two, since it would give me a wonderful opportunity to study people, their habits, their posture, their behaviour.

I may not be ambitious. I may not strive for excellence. But I do believe I have a quality which many have lost in today's world: an optimistic outlook towards life. 

For me, life is a bed of roses, and I have learnt to accept the thorns as well as petals. I have been in this world for but 19 years. There are so many other aspects of life that I am yet to come across. I have yet to open my eyes and face the real world, but I sincerely hope I will not lose my innocence and my cheerful nature in this hustle and bustle of everyday life. 

Life is like a path full of pebbles. One may stumble and fall somewhere down the line, but that should not stop one from getting up again and moving on, for life simply moves on like a river downstream.

Illustration: Dominic Xavier

Shromona Mukherjee