As I stand outside, I see a lot of people crossing the gate. Few of going in and few of them coming out. All the ones going in shared a common feature. And so did the ones coming out.

The ones going in carried a darn face. While the faces were gleeful of the people coming out.

The ones going in had their heads down as if they just operated a heinous crime. And the ones coming out, had their head high pointing the sky that resembled me as if they did something extraordinary inside.

That put me in a dilemma.

I needed to solve this confusion of mine.

I saw a man there, standing outside the gate, just like me. The only difference, he had some kind of uniform ON his body. I approached him with slow steps.

“Can you help me out here”, I asked the man.

“What I can help you with”, the man asked me, very politely.

“What is inside there, that the people coming out are happy and the ones going in have a dull outlook? Why is it so?”

“What do you see outside”, he further inquired.

“I see people walking with heads high, carrying an unmatched pride as they walk out of this gate. I see them walking towards their four wheelers. I see them killing themselves as they lit the cigarettes lying in their oversized coats. I see them killing others by the smoke gushing out of their mouths. I see them shouting at others for no specific reasons. WHY is it so?”

“I don’t know”, he replied, “Ask them”.

“Have you ever been to the inside”, I asked curiously.

“For once I happen to be inside”.

“And?”

“And perhaps it was the last time, too”, he giggled.

“How was it there?” I asked with utter curiosity.

“I saw these same people in there”, he said, “with their spex on. I saw people looking with disgust at their computer screens. I saw people filled with anxiety. I saw people harming themselves with unwanted tension. I saw people working hard at something which didn’t mean anything to them. I saw slaves in there, the dignified slaves”.

“If the inside is so degraded, then why do people go in?”

“I don’t know. Ask them”, he reverted.

“Is there any day when these people are happy?”

“Oh! Yes, indeed”, he said, “There is one day. The first day of every month”.

“Just the first day. Why so?” At once I thought, he would yell at me for asking silly questions, that too unabashedly, but these absurd questions were crucial.

“I guess that’s the day they get their paychecks”, he said firmly.

“And after that?”

“After that, the same pattern runs for the rest of the month”.

I was falling for his straight forward replies.

“But then why would anyone do something that will make him unhappy?”

“People like it that way. They feel it’s necessary”.

“And is it necessary?”

“I don’t know. Ask them”, he posted those words again. To be honest here, that was irritating.

“But what I see is”, he continued, “I see people wasting a life in making a living which they have no time and energy to live for”.

“And what about you?”

“I chose to live a life”, he commented.

“By being a Security Guard?”

“You see, boy, most of us, we don’t explore anything new, anything off the track and then we are left with the only option of taking up a job. A job that we have no interest in doing. A job which we don’t know how it is helping the world”.

“How come your job is different than theirs?”

“Because this isn’t my job. I chose to explore anything and everything. No matter, whatever comes my way, I chose to take it, feel it, and live it. Whether it is high profile or low. Whether it is paying me well or not.

This is my last week at this job. Next, I’m going to take a group of adventurous people for some trekking and then back to my voluntary service.”

“Why do you do all this?”

“To maintain balance in my life. If you continue to stay at one place, one of the two things happen. Either your working skills at that task dwells or you make your life hell.

And when you dwell, you feel superior and make others life hell”.

His words were an overview of his life. Although he didn’t seem wealthy, but he was happy. He was at peace with his life. His pockets might not be filled with some paper cash, but I’m sure would be filled with a lot of amazing and shimmer experiences.

I tried to absorb his words. To me, that was the best thing happened that day.

And as I stand outside, I saw a lot of people crossing the gate. I stand there with the choice in my hand.
I stand there with my CV in my hand. I stand there in front of the company’s gate. I stand there with my feet stiff. I stand there with everything and nothing in my head.

“So”, the man smirked, “Do you desire to cross the gate?”

— raman thukral

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