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Tuesday, Oct 26, 2021
Outlook.com

"Nope, I Just Quit..."

That final leap of faith: dropping out, tuning in with India

illustration by Sorit
"Nope, I Just Quit..."
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
I used to keep an infrequent diary; this is an extract from July 2, ’97: Swati, my wife, was visiting India with the children, I was alone in London. We had moved a few months earlier after several years in the US.

"Swati called me early, 7 am. We talked, as we do on Saturday mornings, of our life: where we are headed, what our priorities are...and in the talking, we make sense of this confusing, whirling rollercoaster of a world....

Now I am alone, staring at these objects scattered around me: bed, dresser, lamp, photographs, the open doorway, the carpet, the wall hanging. And they make no sense to me. WHAT AM I DOING HERE? Everything is meaningless: getting up, brushing, eating breakfast, stepping out. We have got to act for today, not for when we retire. Is it as simple a switch as this? What are we afraid of?"

We had met our financial and professional goals, and were respected in our fields of work. Swati was working with one of the largest architecture and design firms in the world. I was on a fast-track career, and loved my job. At 33, I was heading a $100 million business spread across Europe.

Earlier, during our life in the US, the regular NRI gatherings would have the usual conversations about what ailed India. And we had all the ‘answers’. "The problem with India is...", was how most sentences would begin. Magic wands being swished around, thousands of miles away, safe. On our visits to India, we would grumble about the airports and the garbage and the traffic. Yes, we enjoyed the family company and the smells of India, but it was a relief to get back to the calm and peace of our cocooned lives.

Pretty soon though, these pontifications had started feeling stale. One particular experience was telling. We had just moved home to a new town in Connecticut, sometime in the early ’90s....

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