Culture · Society

The Tragedy of Knowing

What is it about this fuzzy matter called ‘passion’ that makes people live on the edge, makes them elbow and nudge their way out of normalcy all the time – constantly, and on a daily basis? These days, when I’m sitting down with a group of people over  a drink and in a meek attempt to socialize and perhaps, know them better, the conversation spirals around what would being passionate about something feel like. You know, knowing that there’s something out there in this world that needs to be done by you and perhaps, by you alone – and why should it not be okay to betray that calling? We can’t really always elevate to a platform where the worldly needs, the mundane requirements and daily chores don’t matter to us to the extent that we go about doing our own thing – something that lights a fire in our eyes when we talk about it. Isn’t the whole notion overtly overrated and romanticized to the point of being obnoxious?

But it’s not. If you’re young, and content, then you’re damned. I suppose I have been fortunate enough to find myself in a position where my perspective is clear – undiluted, and at least from where I’m standing right now – I know exactly where to go. The tragedy of this is that you can’t, you simply can’t go back to your previous self once you’ve had a lick of this – not after you’ve taken the forbidden plunge, you know? If I had to rationalize it, then let’s say that with a limited time that we have on this planet, if you’re 20-something, you have on an average 55 odd years to live. That’s it. Five to six decades more. It sounds grim and depressing, I realize that – but you better bite the reality. Now think, wouldn’t it be better to do something during these years that makes you jump up and take a punch in the face – rather than just shuffling your feet the way you were taught to, the way you are expected to?

Does it sound easier than to actually do it? I’m sure it does. But it’s all on you now. One life. A limited time. And so much to do. Tons to see.  The trouble is, you can’t exactly teach yourself all this – you somehow get there. And once you’re there, once your mental makeup is such that everything around you doesn’t really matter – opinions, beliefs, societal roles, the politics of it all and spiritual missions – they turn out to be nothing – meaningless, superficial elements whose only function is to hold you back. It is at that point that you find yourself detached from all that you held close earlier – and from that detachment comes a sense of liberation. Then you’re not thinking passive thoughts, and your perspective turns undiluted – your opinion is raw and pure, you feel, and for all I know, you are – invincible. Now, as I’m typing this down, I have no clue as to how I’m going to end this and make it fit a blog, and that is exactly what being passionate about something feels like. You have to be en route constantly – like being an artist – you don’t know what your destination is, or how to get there for sure – but you start enjoying the ride for all it’s worth.

Does this passion thing have to coincide with your work, with your profession? Of course not. But if it does, then you’re one of the fortunate few. The few who can’t separate their professional from their personal life, because that’s a part of their genetic make-up. It’s impossible to switch it on and switch it off as and when you want it – like your tiny beating heart, it’ll carry on with its own rhythm without your consent. I often wonder if knowing all this, and having realized all this at this age and stage is a gift or a curse. I don’t know if I should feel sorry or enviousness for people who haven’t discovered what I have. Sorry because they’ll never know what it is to be irrational about something, to be crazy to the point of flashing the birdie to the entire universe; and envy because they’ll never have sleepless nights over their existence, over their work, because they can go on without doubting their path and course of action.

So let them call you young and naïve, let them cite precedents of failures in the area and throw down chains to harness your spirit and actions – but what do they know? For a set of people habituated with using hand-me-downs, the high of building something, of creating something from scratch and seeing it evolve into something you never thought it would be capable of, is an alien notion. They say failure comes before success – like it’s a rule to fall down before you rise. It’s not. You’re just trying out different things – when something doesn’t work out the way you wanted it to, you modify it, alter it and hammer it into shape – you don’t fail. Not until you give it all up. But then again, if your calling is to give it all up, then you, my friend, haven’t failed.

About the Author

rohanRohan Mukherjee

Ridiculously omnipresent | CEO & Founder of Grayscale Legal | Fellow at The Kairos Society | Percussionist | Doodler | Professional mocker


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