A preamble.  I was asked to write an essay on the above topic for entry into this program. What do you think would have been the result? Following is the essay.

That is a trick question.

The great Bhagwan Ramana Maharishi patented this question and planted this seed in many, and I am no exception.

I do not know about others, but I have been on a witch hunt to figure that out, and I think I am destined to undergo the ludic loop of ‘Punarapi Jananam, Punarapi Maranam’ (cycle of death and birth) prescribed by Adi Sankara in his Bhaja Govindam.

But did not someone says it’s the journey that matters, not the destination?

One day I shall find out the person who said that and shall counter them with ‘How do you manage to stay clear of your monthly EMI’s’?

But why I am assuming the question as a trick question.

Any normal person would give an introduction to themselves and my introductory conversation with a stranger  would be as follows

Stranger: What is your name?

Me: Zunder

Stranger: Is it Sunder?

Me: No, it’s Zunder with a Z.

Stranger: Is it Numerology?

Me: No, my Dad kept it that way, and from where we come, we did not question Dad’s.

After that, an eerie silence follows.

My Dad also spells his name with an ‘E, ‘ and I always have to defend – “No, there are not two spelling errors.” It is intended that way.

Over the years, I have realized that I am that kind of person who anyone will have trouble talking to after a ‘Hello,’ and I have made peace with that.

My Dad also told me the reasons about both names being that way, and it had something to do with Sanskrit.

Frankly speaking, I did not give a damn. Dad knew better.

But I am always grateful to him for keeping the spelling that way.

I manage to ace all my Viva Voce’s of all my graduation and post graduation exams without understanding an iota of the subject under consideration. By the time, the external examiner got to my name; they would be tired and just give me something average. I have had no complaints with that because I am someone who believed I cleared my exams owing to my prior quid pro quo with temples in my locality.

The quid pro quo continues till date, and I have had no complaints.

For someone who could not reconcile how the top view of the cone is a circle, to get to building products that are being used by billions of people, I would have to say GOD has been merciful.

However, there comes the point in everyone’s life, where you fall victim to the question of ‘What is the point’ and I am no exception.

I quit my cushy corporate job after two decades of relentless fun, to chase my dreams. Even in my corporate job, I stayed away from the pack and stuck around because of the people around me. I stayed a one company man and survived five management changes!. In IT, that was unheard of, and I belong to the minority.

If one would label me as a fool by design, I could not agree more, but my defense has been ‘I lived MY life, ‘ and that is my big hidden ego showing up shamelessly.

So if someone asks the other nightmarish question of ‘What you do now,’ I smilingly say I run my start-up, which I believe is an effective euphemism for being fiscally unproductive.

Ideally, I would like to answer, I do ‘Nothing, ‘ and that is an answer which I realize is not acceptable to many including my family who otherwise have patiently endured my increasing eccentricities. Sometimes I feel, if they had a choice, they would have shown the door to me.

When I quit, I had a three-year contract with my family on they would not question me on anything and they have stuck to their bargain.  They will just at the end of every month say ‘X months’ over.

I have fourteen more months more to figure out where my next two decades of rat race would be?

Interestingly, last twenty two months, I have walked more than I have walked all my life, spent time with my two kids, more than I ever did in the first ten years of their life, happily consumed out of my wife’s earnings, and helping my mother with all the errands she needs to run the day to day affairs of the house.

The only thing I miss is the SMS that comes at the end of the month saying ‘Your Salary has been deposited,’ but even without that, I seem to be happier than ever before.

Is this happiness sustainable?

A question easier than who am I? But nevertheless have fourteen more months to figure out, and it seems to me like a tussle between the head and the heart.

Head says “Enough of your complacency. Get back and do what you should be doing”.

Heart says “Relax. Enjoy Maadi (Have Fun)”.

Why is that I am inclined towards ‘The Heart’? And everyone except me, want me to follow what my Head! Says.

It seems to be more questions than answers.

Coming back, If I have to answer the trick question of

Who Am I?

I would say or rather like to say

An Obedient Son, A committed worker, A bearable husband, father, brother, and A loyal friend. However, all that is coming from me. But again did someone says life is lived well if we do not care about other’s opinion. I am searching for that person as well!

An answer closer to truth would be

“No results found.”

and if I can add it would be

‘Still Searching.’

Enjoy Maadi (Have Fun)


PS: The result I got from the panel that evaluates submission is ‘Witty – Self Aware – Can Improve his language.”