Shekhar was a first day, first show man, especially when it came to Amitabh Bachan movies. I preferred to wait for the first reviews to come in, for shorter queues, better seats and legally bought tickets rather than the over priced ones sold in black by touts. It was just one of those many small differences that made us balance each other.
Yet there were other times when we both preferred to wait. Like the time when I got my results for my M Sc degree. I had threatened that I would paint the town red, get drunk, be merry and stay out until the wee hours of the morning. Shekhar and the boys were all gung ho despite their inner disbelief that I could or would ever do something like that. The day came and it was pouring cats and dogs. Shekhar and I dressed up to the nines, then armed with umbrellas, the boys' blessings and a rugged determination to have fun, we hit the bars in Lan Kwai Fong at 9 p.m. Starting with a pitcherful of margheritas, we went on to have vodka shots wearing fur coats in a room made of ice and then sloshed our way to watch people dance on a bar counter in Wanchai. I remember the moment when we looked at each other in a dark, noisy bar not quite drunk, not quite having the fun we had envisaged, in wet clothes...it was a silent consensus. We hailed a cab to take us home. "You had fun?" he asked as we got into the taxi. I had to think a little before I replied. "Not quite...I would rather be home with the boys." "Me too," he had said. We laughed the rest of the way.
"What's wrong with you people?" the boys had looked at us in disapproval as we walked in through the door. "Do you know what time it is?" We looked at our watches and were ashamed. 10.30 p.m... there was no redemption for people like us. As we changed into our pyjamas, threw a movie into the DVD player and watched together as a family...all was well with our world. We had decided to wait for a time when the call of home would not be as strong, fun was for later. When the bonus came, when the boys had plans of their own, when the bills were paid, when things settled down, when the weather was better, when the future was here...
A couple of hours before he died, Shekhar had said, "Tomorrow, I don't care if it's raining or not, we are going to Greenwich. I want to stand on the prime meridian..." As usual we had waited, only this time it was to no purpose. His tomorrow never came.
Now standing at the threshold of a new year, I look back and realize that we were both waiting for now to have fun...this was the time, this was the nebulous future we were holding our breaths for...but my first day, first show man had bought tickets to a different movie.
As acceptance slowly creeps in, I have decided not to wait anymore...neither for time, circumstance nor people. It has been a painful realization that whether I wait or not, time will pass, days will end, new years will begin...I still haven't thought of the how, but it is a new year and a time for resolution - of a past that cannot be carried into the future and to promise to create a future that does not involve regret...now.
...that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's way...It is this spiritual freedom - which cannot be taken away - that makes life meaningful and purposeful.
From Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl