“There will always be a reason why you meet people. Either you need them to change your life or you’re the one that will change theirs.”
– Sushan R. Sharma
I didn’t believe in this statement because I was oblivious to it. I thought the decisions that changed my life were always mine. But it’s incredible how someone who has had minimum to no important role in your life can influence you in a way you can’t define.
When I graduated high school, I was at cross roads. I didn’t know what to do with my life. College? Work? Marriage? I had no clue. Then I befriended someone on Facebook. We’d attended the same school and we knew the same people. So we started “chatting.” He asked me what I did for a living and I said, “Nothing. Still trying to make a life choice.” He then asked me what I’m interested in and what I like doing and I told him I’m very interested in music, movies, writing and so on. We got into a more detailed conversation about it and he said I sounded like a media person – “Mass communication or if you know what you like, a specialization course in film making or audio engineering. Study that. I think you’ll like that. You can even try applying for my university.” It was a passing comment in an unimportant conversation. I didn’t realize it had made an impact. I didn’t realize that he was the reason, two months later, I’d looked at those options. I didn’t choose the university he’d suggested. But I ended up pursuing media in a university of my choice.
Until a few months back, I honestly believed it had been my choice to pursue a degree in media at university. I was the one that wanted to do this. He and I had lost touch and I’d even forgotten all about him. Then one day, a friend of mine mentioned his name and I said “Oh wait ! What about him?” Apparently, he’d had a cardiac arrest and had sunk into coma. His parents were praying for their son’s life. It shook my heart because in that moment I realized, the reason for my happiness, the reason for my new goals and career choices had come from him. When I’d had no idea what to do, he’d given me direction. What he had mentioned as an option in a passing comment, I’d explored and made a life out of. The worst part, I’d never thought of it that way. I had always believed it was all me.
This pushed me to wonder how many more life choices of mine have been influenced by other people. It blew my mind when I realized how my life constantly changed for the better and worse because of the people I met and the things they said. How I’ve made choices based on simple conversations.
I don’t know how many of you remember Orkut – A social media website created by Google. It was India’s biggest “It” site before Facebook. In 8th grade, a girl in my class suddenly turned to me as I was leaving and asked, “Do you have an Orkut account?” I had no idea what it was. I’d never even heard of it. If she hadn’t mentioned it, I probably never would have. But that day, I ran home and figured it out. I even opened an Orkut account. An account that has changed my life in such an incredibly massive way. It has given me the worst memories I can imagine. But it has also given me someone I call my best friend today. Orkut was the reason I wanted to study abroad. Studying abroad, I met different people. I learnt new cultures. I explored boundaries. I set my own limitations. I also met a girl who later on moved to the country my dad lived in. So we hung out every time I visited my father. That girl started dating a really friendly guy and he introduced us to his friends. With one of his friends, I ended up having my first serious relationship. The worst and the best man I’ve met so far. That guy became the reason I picked a university in that part of the world. The course, however, influenced by a man now in coma on a hospital bed.
I met a girl at that university. She helped me through my break up and we became best friends. She cared for me, loved me and today, she’s like a sister to me. She made me want to be a better version of myself. She always told me, “Stand tall. You’re worth it.” With her words, my family’s support and an accepting society, I figured myself out. I took pride in who I was.
Accepting myself, I also learnt my likes and dislikes. This helped me find other people who were like-minded to me. I dated one of them who introduced me to his friend. That friend and I became pretty close as we both volunteered at a film festival. He taught me about his culture and the customs in his religion which made me curious and I figured out my dream job. After travelling innumerous hours across the globe and learning so many new things, I know now, I want to travel and live in different places and learn new cultures and languages and write about them. Something so very different from my former dream job as a “House wife,” modernly known as “Home-maker.”
Funny, to think, it all started with a casual “Do you have an Orkut account?” !
Honestly, take a second. Think back. You’ll realize just how none of your choices actually really came from you. Your worst enemy will start feeling like the best thing that ever happened to you.
I call my friend every other day and ask him, “How’s he doing? Is he awake from the coma?” My friend always wants to know why I’m so interested. I never tell him the story. The story of the guy that changed my life.
It’s a story I will keep to myself. When he wakes up, which I honestly hope he does, I will find an opportunity to thank him. For giving me a choice. For giving me a dream. For giving me a life. Until then…
Update : The guy passed away on the 22nd of June 2014. His mother was by his side and his close friends and family went to the funeral and paid their respect.