Life is full of dichotomies, I love chick-lits but I can’t tolerate people when they are all mushy in love, I love motivating people with positivity but when people ask me if I need them to listen to my problems, I push them away. I can play counselor to my sad friends, but I won’t offer my shoulder to cry, never. With these or similar dichotomies, we all live and churn out our time to engage on social media exhibition of the life, where we support and frown upon fellow humans. As I scroll up and down I see certain schoolmate’s beautiful display picture in Italy, luckily for me envy is something I rarely feel, I just feel proud, because I knew that schoolmate had ingrained brilliance and she would shine! Shine she did. This is followed by my idiotic biker friends, who take more picture of the bike then the actual destination of road trip, next pop up my friends who have leaped into the burning pan of marriage or are going to get poached soon in coming months, finally I have those who have leaped into the fire and produced offsprings!
I look at them and wonder what makes older generation question my generation's life choices! Many people from generation elder to us by few decades say we are afraid of commitment. Here are my (in)sane friends committing the biggest stupidity of their lives, getting married! This makes me question my own fidelity towards life. I am single like that long forgotten soggy Marie biscuit crumbling at bottom of Horlicks jar. My chances of stumbling into a Mr./Ms. Maybe is nil as I hardly venture out, I don’t have guts for Tinder and the bookshops I frequent are empty! My dedication is towards books and anime series, and my office has only three people working in it! My crush (It’s practically a vicious obsession imbibed with a pinch of cyberstalking and insanity on my part) is never ever going to love me back, until and unless I hit their head hard and put them in a sack. Nor do I stumble onto a woman who reads comics and watches Star Wars on the bus or in a bookstore or some Marvel Movie Screening! I get angrier when my friends who are in a relationship for centuries now come to me for love advice! Does it look like I have goddamn experience? Stay put!
So, commitment is off the chart! Now I meet a lot of people on buses and in metros, some of them know me and happen to talk to me. Most of them are grandpas and grandmas to some kid, they find me interesting because I have a book in my hand and most of the time they are trying to save my damaged eyesight by talking me out from the page I am reading. This brings back the statement on commitment, a couple weeks back one grandpa was telling me how his granddaughter broke off her engagement with her childhood sweetheart because she was not ready. He blamed our generation for lacking consistency, we don’t have the zeal to stick to a routine. Apparently, we are going to die sad and lonely.
I am not going to die lonely, sad maybe because I have a bandit of a sister who might steal my savings when I turn 80 and she at 87, but lonely, nope at least not us. The grandpa went on emphasizing that we don’t have hobbies or desire to cultivate one (this applies to my sister and she is surprisingly married). Then he asked me if I don’t have a boyfriend? Only if grandpa knew how offended I was by that question, I kept my face normal and said no, nor do I have a girlfriend to which he frowned, I should have mentioned my stalking syndrome and obsession with the crush of three years. He would have further lectured me, but my stoppage came, and it’s been a while I have seen him on my bus rides.
Exactly one month back I decided to test my commitment skills, I love art and on my Instagram, I have befriended this young artist from Telangana who roped me in for the test of patience. He recruited me for Inktober. Unlike No-Shave-November, this needs time, care, and lots of patience, hence it was a commitment.
Inktober is 31 days inking challenge, where we can draw whatever we want if we do it every day. This did sound interesting enough, but my commitment issues or lack of commitment experience were showing up, I refused. But given a deadline, I can do anything. The deadline was 31 days-31 Doodles, like Juile from ‘Julie and Julia’ I jumped in, as my track record has been a decent one with deadlines. I have yet to miss a blog post for any month. I haven’t missed the mini-monotone-book-club I jumped in a year back. The thing I didn’t know was, Inktober had prompts for each day, yet I burrowed in. The first doodle began with my arrogant Persian cat.
Each prompt tests our skills, mind it my skills are no-skills! I just love doodling. The prompt could be a solid structural word like a sword or something abstract like teeming. How do you conceptualize an abstract word like fierce? Nor were the words like run or juicy easy for humbug like me. My anatomical sense is out of tune, my ideas are always grand, but no-skills make it a super flop recreation. Multiple times I wanted to give in. On the day of my friend’s engagement party, I almost missed the deadline. I scampered from my taxi and doodled before the clock struck 12 am, I was a doodly Cinderella. Again, I fell sick and didn’t want to draw anything because my hands were shaky and my nose Usain Bolt. It was not the voice of the grandpa from the bus ride or my own Grandfather who injected patience in me that made me continue, it was the excitement of doing something and seeing it through till the end that made me complete the task at hand.
Inktober behaved like a girlfriend, testing my patience, testing my creativity and definitely testing my lovemaking skills. Just rolling the tongue of the brush was not enough! I had to use brush pens, brush, ink pens, markers, sketch pens, watercolour pencils to please her each day. Someday she blossomed somedays she plainly refused to embrace my efforts back. Each day had to be treated differently with the same level of dedication. And anger was not going to solve the misunderstanding. I learned commitment means to work together in both anger and sickness, in health and poverty, and to never give up, no matter how hard the task of loving is. If you have promised see to it until you fulfill your bargain.
In a month all my activism and political ideologies got an escape route. From pro-choice to save the girl child, I have done it all. I have shared about my favourite books, manga, green tea, book-scenes, and comics. And finally, I ended it with my favourite Sandman in his mask. How does one feel after a month? I feel surprisingly light and happy. It was cathartic, I will do it again next year. I think I have tested my patience enough, now I think I should concentrate on the handsome men who will not shave for next one month and reward my eyes for the hard work I provided this one month!