Confessions of an ESCAPIST

She was walking down the dirty alleys finding them as heavy as she always found them. Never in the last one year had she felt this strange, walking down these ways. Her trips down to this part of her beloved city, almost always, left her claustrophobic. And yet, a look at all the beaming faces peeping out of their homes to welcome her, was her Albatross. This was what she had always wanted to do: work with the people who perhaps mattered the most to her! Or perhaps who she believed, mattered the most to her!

It was never easy to convince most why she wanted to be in the city and work in the slums when, given her professional qualification from a premier institute in the field, she was perhaps tailor-made for a better career option in any other city or even abroad…But she had to come back to the city, which had made her what she was! Often while travelling down the wide stretch of the bypass, she had covered her nose to avoid the stink like all those who travel down the roads. She had often wanted to know how people lived there. Once she knew that, she wanted to change their lives, not realizing that she did not have it in her to change realities of majority of the population, residing in slums. She had dreamt of brighter skies, smiling faces, a beautiful world where people get what they deserve…without having to fight for their rights. What she did not know, however was that she did not have it in her to realize her dreams.

And yet, this was perhaps the last time she was walking down these alleyways. This was her last assignment – she would have to document SPECIAL CASES. Each individual was a special case. An achievement, a mental boost for so-called social workers and activists who claim to change lives! The work ethics had taught her to empathize! EMPATHY!!! Empathize with the woman, all of 20, who is bearing her 4th child? Or empathize with the child who spends all his day, playing near the gutter with the dirtiest of animals? Or maybe empathize with the parents who live by the dirty drainage canals and yet nurture the impossible dream of educating their children? Or perhaps empathize with the teenager who earns his daily bread by selling stolen vegetables on the railway platform?

And still she hoped that one day the picture will change, the way they do in movies…in books…after all they said, “When you want something, all universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”. Could her dream be too unrealistic to match the famous line?

But, reality always offers a bitter dose! The world seemed to be ever conspiring to keep her dreams from realizing. She fought hard, she thought…but perhaps it was way beyond repair! Perhaps the world and all the people had become far more insensitive that she had expected them to be! Failed expectations always wreak havoc…and she was no exception! Disillusioned, Devastated, Demotivated…she could use all the words in the dictionary that she could to express the way she felt! And then they all served the smooth purpose of her escapism! It was always easy to say, “I could take it no longer”…but how about saying, “I want to see the end of this no matter what”? And she was not an exception! Neither did she have it in her to change the world…

Carefully dodging queries like, “Aunty, abar kobe ashbe?” (When will you come gain?), she finished interviewing the selected individuals. She also took pictures, gave them the regular pep talks about going to schools or community centers and with the stench of wet leather still nauseating her, she stepped out of hell.

The memories of her last visit to the leather belt of Topsia, corrodes her entire existence till date. Even today every time she passes the stretch of bypass, which she does every day to attend her stylish corporate workplace, the stench hits her! The smell mocks her…laughs at her for running away from it! Makes fun of her for pretending to be able to change their realities and failing miserably! Ridicules her for giving them false hopes and false promises and then running away…

She had spent many a sleepless night crying over her failure…one more to share her failures with all! She had hoped to share her success with all someday…but it was with a lot of courage and honesty that she could decide to share her failures. Months have passed since…and today the escapist has finally conjured enough guts to accept defeat.

Dramatizing has always been a wonderful way of sharing the innermost feelings and yet again dramatization expressed her memories of utter failure…but one that could have been fatal if not shared! Mock her if you want…laugh at her for being a loser but for Heaven’s sake don’t sympathise with her!

Spare her a moment and let her introduce herself. She is…

Yours truly…


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