LXXXI. O mind, reform yourself, and forsake your aimless wandering.
During the summer months of 2012, there was a cleverly narrated doodle that was going viral. This doodle was a Princeton graduate’s explanation for how most students got admitted into and graduated from, the Ivy League. Indeed, the humorous simplicity of the explanation almost perfectly reflects the complexities needed to attain a seat at such a prestigious institution of higher education. The parts focusing on parenting was fairly identical to my own experience.
Growing up, we dream - a lot, and we also have a lot of nightmares.
Keep in mind that I am referring to dreams in the most colloquial and base-sense. I am not going to delve into the semantics of dreaming being to the intangible verus “thinking catalyzed by ambition” being to the tangible.
More specifically, I am referring to daydreams.
I would discuss some of the daydreams with my parents. I would discuss the next steps I would make that would take me from here to the coveted elite status.
I want to be a contributor to society! My daydreams show me what happens when I do contribute. There is a flux of acknowledgement by kin and strangers alike.
I want to leave my positive mark, be interviewed for TIME Magazine, own that Bentley, and live on that Manhattan city street. I want to go back to India, to a house in Punjab, so that my kids won’t be devoid of culture and legacy.
I am going to have kids -yes.
I will fall in love with an amazing intellectual and handsome, preferably Sikh Punjabi. The love will obviously be requited., and… These are the day dreams I feel less inclined to share, by the way.
Anyway, he and I will get married. The full customs will be carried out just as they have always been.
At my sangeet, day of dancing and singing festivity prior to marriage, all the female guests of all ages will have mehndi applied to their hands. There will be no rehearsed and staged performances. No, all the dancing will be organic. The females will be doing traditional Punjabi dance, giddha, and not masculine bhangra moves as is forced by the Indian-American dance culture.
(I am still irked by how my Punjabi culture is being butchered by dance teams across the nation. Our, asli Punjabi, dancing is not robotic or violent and I absolutely hate that my own peers are doing this, but I digress.)
My husband and I will have our honeymoon in the best country in the world, India. Our marriage will be blissful and pure and so completely perfect. I will become a mother and the first time around I will be pregnant with twins: one boy and one girl; Perfection.
Reshmi! There is no hot water! You’re using it all up! GET OUT -
The above scenario played out hundreds of time up until I moved away from home to the iridescent isles of the Ivy League.
I knew my day-dreaming was partially what caused my need to constantly go up some self-constructed ladder - to keep striving for higher rungs.
However, I also knew that it was time to keep day-dreaming to a minimum.
5 years ago: I was going off to college… There will be so much to do and accomplish. You’re going to have to be in charge of your dietary schedule and the quality of what you eat. You have to do laundry and clean your own living space. No time for day-dreaming Reshmi. You have to save hot water for your roommates!
Yearbook planning time came around during my senior year of high school. Us seniors had our own mailboxes on the senior-designated floor, the 3rd floor, decorated with the senior color, blue. In each of our mailboxes was a form that had asked us to write our name exactly as we want it to appear next to our senior picture along with any quotation of our choosing.
I wanted my quotation to be taken from my heritage because I still cannot harbor any type of sentiment or connection to an anglicized couplet or transcendentalist poem made by the well-read white man. I then concluded that in the next phase of my life I would increasingly rely on my faith, just as I always had.
And with that, I had decided to turn to gurbani, and find a fitting and guiding idea that I could take with me.This would be my yearbook quotation.
O mind, reform yourself and forsake your aimless wandering. __________________________________________________________________
2012 - Present Time: The past 4 years, day dreaming was kept at bay.I believe the whole aspect of daydreaming had been non-existent these past 4 years.
At some point, crestfallen, I thought that daydreaming corresponded to the ages of 13-18 and that I no longer qualified as a daydreamer.
In fact, only until a couple of months ago, officially a degree-holding graduate, didI realize that I still had the ability to day dream.
I am again reprimanded with taking a bath last because I use up all the hot water.
I am day-dreaming again… I saw myself in salwar kameez, light and airy. My hair was in a sublime stupor of layered waves, covering my already covered shoulders by my dupatta, or scarf. I was traversing the Punjab in Pakistan, revisiting the galis, winding paths or alleys, that my ancestors had traveled. With my leather book-bag on, I crossed the border by train, or was it bus?
Now I am in Amritsar, and I see myself looking around.
I look around to make sure no one sees me and then I swiftly swipe the fingertips of my right hand on the earth below me, and just as swiftly swipe my fingertips across my forehead. Jai Hind -
My writing career is based in Northern India and I am primarily covering the states of Punjab and Kashmir.