I ran away from home. Sounds dramatic doesn’t it? Ok, here’s the truth…I hated being an engineer or a doctor. When I was born in an upscale maternity clinic in Chennai, legend has it that I was immediately anointed to be the next big engineer in my family before they even decided a name for me. So, in the end, I ended up being called Krishna Kumar BTech, right from my childhood days. I proudly went around shouting my name hoarse during kindergarten and primary school, drawing sniggers and cheers. I felt proud. When I grew up and finally realised that BTech wasn’t really a family name, but a degree, I hid under my bed for a day refusing to come out even when my friends called me out to play cricket and eat pani puri.
The day I passed my 12th with flying colors, my parents embraced me in a group hug, gave me a few kisses on my cheek, stared me in the face and asked me for my choice between four options: (a) engineering (b) see my parents hang their head in shame (c) herd cows in the field (d) lick Rahul’s (Superstar engineering cousin of my family, duh!) ass.
So, in the end, I scraped through the four years of college life (read: torture) with repeated attempts before I could finally get an A4 sheet of paper that proudly announced to the world that I was an engineering graduate, and also that I was unemployed even though major IT companies like TCS, CTS, BTC, BMTC, and ABCD hired people like herds of cattle. So, when the questions from my aunts and uncles grew shriller, my parents decided to get me a job (using ‘influence’) in an unknown IT firm, that looked more like a spare-parts shop. That was the final straw.
So, yesterday night after a storm hit my house, utensils and slippers were hurled around with equal fervour, I packed my bags, took my beloved Nikon D3100, grabbed all my pocket money and climbed onto a late night bus to Bangalore. So, officially, I ran away from home. Or, more precisely, bused away from home.
Early morning 5.30am
I was sleeping peacefully on the upper berth of SRM travels, when suddenly, I heard all sorts of words being thrown around and people screaming their heads off. I woke up with a start, rubbed my eyes and opened them to realise that people were conversing in a greek and latin tongue. The cleaner in the bus smiled at me and said “Nīvu alli hōguva?”, to which I just gaped in silence. “Aap kaha jayenge?” he asked, which met with another bout of rigourous head-shaking from my end. “Oh, tamil ah…enga poganum?” he asked. Ah, it was like taking a breath of fresh air after years of being held captive. “Therila anna. . . next stop.” I said.
It was then that I landed in the place of my dreams…Koramangala.
When I got down from the bus, I was shivering from head to toe. The cold bit into my bones and I wasn’t prepared for such a changeover. There I was, dressed in a trouser and sleeveless tops, in a place that felt like the Antartic. I looked around to see jumbled torn-up jelebi words and affirmed to myself that I was still in some part of India, the country at the center of the equator, just 2 kms from the sun.
I found a small hotel nearby and booked a room for a day. Thousand five-hundred rupees! Daylight robbery. The pocket money that I had preserved all through these years did not seem to be enough anymore. I threw my bag aside on the bed in my cramped room, took my mobile phone out and called home.
“Hello…” my mom spoke into the receiver agitatedly. She had picked up the landline at the first ring.
“Its me…” I said, the words choking in my throat.
“Kk…”, she said, “Where are you chellam?”
“Amma, I’m in bangalore.”
“Oh, kutty, why did you go so far away? You come back now please.”
An Indian mother’s customary rule book states that once a kutty, always a kutty. Even though I’m 21 years old.
“No ma…I want to be here. I want to earn a living for myself, doing something that I love…”
“Do it here kuttyma, come back to Chennai. Don’t take all the fights to heart Krishna, I miss you.”
A tiny tear trickled down my face. I swiftly fingered it away.
“I miss you too ma. I miss appa too. But, let this be a new start to my life. One day, I will make you proud. Till then, goodbye ma.”
“Atleast answer my calls kk, you will not know what a mother’s heart is going through right now.”
“Sure ma…”, the emotional blackmail again. Sheesh.
No matter what the situation is, a mother’s standard question. Did you eat?
“Ya ma, I ate.” I lied.
“What are you going to do there Krishna?” she enquired.
I looked around my room, I found my bags on my bed, my slippers under my bed, and my camera beside my bed. My camera.
“I’m going to be a photographer ma. A wedding photographer.”
(Excerpt from a story I have been writing for quite a while…)