I have always been a dreamer - as a child I wanted to open up a shop where I could sell candies and colorful stationary supplies of all sorts, I would often gather my candies, color pencils, pens etc, set them up on a small table, role-play as a shop keeper and force my family members specially my poor brother to buy stuff from my shop. My family members would often call me a ‘memon’ for that referring to a Pakistani community where people carry business in their genes and most end up building successful businesses.
When I grew up, I wanted to become a pilot - to motivate me further my brother would often make me pilot ID cards and I would then role-play a pilot. I later took a shift and wanted to become an aeronautical engineer - I would debate with my family for hours trying to mentally prepare them to see me flying off to Risalpur to become an aeronautical engineer at PAF Academy. They were barely convinced to let me go but I was determined till the news came in that there would be no intake of females in year that I could have applied in. The news dampened my enthusiasm for working with planes but certainly not of going for professional studies. I chose to get into software engineering because I had been a computer science student since my school days but yes planes fascinated me more.
It was after I started pursuing software engineering as a professional field that i realized that I can continue to dream. Back in my university days I dreamed of building a software app that could change the world and somehow eradicate all vice from this planet (yes, dreams don’t have to be practical always) I could not understand how and why people intentionally do bad to others - out of the sheltered and protected life of school/college and in exposed life of university, I felt this even with more intensity. I would have discussions on this with my teachers and my dear friend (who’s dear to me till date) SJ for hours - teachers would advice me to stop being altruistic and try to adopt professionalism (which was a fancy word for being selfish then and may be it is still is?) Friend SJ used to be as clueless as I were and we still somehow are - probably that’s the reason why we are great friends!
Later when I entered professional life, I met great people - some of them actually had crazy dreams like the ones I had. While life continued to happen with all its ups and downs some sane friends like LG, RG, MU, JA, RA who had a more pragmatic approach towards life would often suggest me to ‘get used to’, ‘go for what makes me happy’ and ‘draw a line beyond which I should just think about myself’ or ‘have faith in karma’.
I did try following their advices and things did improve in life for good but alongside I also came across people who shook the very foundation of my belief in goodness - they left me wondering if someone could really act the way they did and continue to do while pretending to be the best out there. Yet I thank them today for I have been able to learn the art of judging people behind faces (at least some of it) and importance of following one’s instincts only from my experiences with these people.
Yet when I take time out to reflect on times gone by and continue to dream of finding utopia one day, I feel there’s a still a long way to go - the very concept of goodness and trust baffles me now specially in current times when genuine goodness would be seen with suspicion and fabricated one would be well-taken. I struggle to differentiate between selfishness and selflessness - my quest to find out when to separate sentiments from actions is right and when does it become wrong, continues.
I wonder if finding these answers would make me a bitter person? I’m definitely a changed person already yet a voice from inside continues to say otherwise when faced with the dilemma of being taken advantage of and (mis)judging. Till I re-reflect and re-write, i would end up on Rumi’s quote:
Disclaimer: This post is not meant to be a self-pity post and also not to imply that I’m all good - I certainly have my own set of flaws which you might already be aware of This post is purely an outcome of weekend reflections. It’s good to look back on your life every once in a while