Nepal | January 18, 2021

MIDWAY : Bitter truth

Tulasi Prasad Acharya
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As older of the two children in the family, I have huge responsibilities on my shoulders. I shudder at the very thought of not being able to live up to my parents’ expectations. Besides my family, I also have other things to think about: when to get married, when to have kids, how to save money for that day when I will have even more people to look after… a thousand thoughts jostle for space and confuse my mind.

But my parents are helpless too. Who else can they depend on to take care of them in their old age? And who else, except their eldest child, is there to share their feelings with?

Sometimes, when the pressure really gets to me, I lock myself up and cry silently. At other times, I think about going abroad, leaving everyone. The more I think about my responsibilities, the more desperate I get and try to come up with crazy escapist ideas. At these times, I feel pain grip my very heart and benumb my brain. Then the question pops up in my mind: Am I being too ambitious?

Am I then an escapist to dream about going abroad for my doctorate; being rich and purchasing a luxurious apartment in Kathmandu; getting married to a beautiful and intelligent girl; being a mini-celebrity… a guitarist in a big-bad rock band, for example.

Then, I recall Willy Loman, that miserable character in Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman who could never make his dreams come true. He never got rich, his name was never printed in the papers, he was not regarded as the “finest man” that ever lived. None of his big expectations were fulfilled till the end of his life. One day he leaves the world, his umpteen dreams unfulfilled.

This might sound like a cop out, but I have come to realise that the greatest lesson one can learn in life is to compromise. In fact, it constitutes the very essence of living. If not, what alternative is there to surrendering to your negative mental vibes?

Giving up on things you have lived your whole life for is by no means easy. It won’t be a cakewalk for me either. But at the same time I have also come to realise that if I try, there is no reason I should not be able to come good on my parents’ expectations — only if I could somehow mesh my desires with theirs.

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