Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The "what-if" chronicles

Today was a "what-if" day for me. I have one of these every so often, when a day of mine is not going particularly to plan. Days that I am reminded that each decision I make leads undebatably, unchangingly, sometimes unforgivingly to the next set of circumstances in my life. And the question always lingers....what if?

What if I had taken up that course in Creative Writing at Boston University back in the year 2000? What if they had awarded me with that scholarship and not only just the acceptance letter which goes to only about 25 people out of the hundreds that apply for that course? Would I have made it big as a writer? Would I have my own newspaper column in the New York Times or the Sunday Times by now? Would I have the gumption to write for it each week?

What if I had married someone who lived just down the road from my parents house in  Juhu and not a million miles away in London or Durban? Would my life be easier? What if I didnt have to start over and make new friends, acquaintances, and start a new social network every few years? Would I still have 418 friends (yes, i counted) on Facebook? What if I could meet my childhood and teen-hood friends over a converation over coffee rather than plan a skype date with them and go back and forth with ridiculous issues like time difference? Would we actually meet or would we let months slide by, thinking we can meet at any time and end up not meeting at all? What if I had never moved to London? Would I have ever discovered I can actually cook and clean and wash and make my own bed and do my own laundry and iron all the clothes and still survive the day? Would I have ever discovered all the secrets of that city that only a resident knows, not a visitor? Like how to stand exactly at a spot on a tube station that will ensure you get off at a specific exit on your station of departure? (Any non-Londoner won't even understand what I'm on about - it's just a Londoner's secret...well now an ex-Londoner's one too!) Or which chocolatier makes the nicest winter chocolates (Thorntons Winter Chockies according to me, but that's debatable!) Would I have ever had the love affair with food that I have now? Or would I have gone from hiring one cook from another in Bombay and having panic attacks if they decided to bail on me? Would I have ever learnt to bake a decent cake?

What if I had accepted that "Fast Track" career program at the Hilton in London? Would I be whistling along, swinging my legs from a high rung in the corporate ladder? Which Hilton hotel would I be the General Manager of by now? Would other hotel chains be wooing me because they knew I was so darned good at what I do? Would I be enjoying my life any more knowing my position of power? Would I have had the chance to have my kids? More importantly, would I have had the time to get to know them? To love them? To dance with them in the middle of the kitchen while making dinner for them?

And then the "what-ifs" stop. Destiny comes waltzing into the scene.  Because no matter what could have been, should have been or would have been, the only reality that exists is the here and the now. And once again, I remind myself of my husband's favourite Japanese quote, "Wherever you are are is where you need to be." 

I couldn't agree more.

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