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I believe I have lived a life less ordinary.

Although, most of the time it was extra-ordinariness being thrust on me, I still developed the adaptability of a platypus and the emotional dexterity of a feline Deepak Chopra. I needed special skills to survive. I could seamlessly move between set-pieces of my life, where places, people, faces, friends, names, games and sources of joy changed – as if I wasn’t really moving – but had always been there. I learned how to look at a changed setting in the eye, and create my own template of a comfortable life, even force fitting it. I have to admit I was proud of this ability. I was a human-chameleon with emotional super-powers.

Unfortunately with my “chameleonly” faculties being used so much – short of developing a curly tongue, I soon lost sight of what was human in me. Sure enough, that helped deal with change even better. Pouncing like a reptile from stone to stone… until one day a little boy named Dhruv, held my hand and said, “Papa, don’t go”. For me, settling down was just another change. So I shrugged and clamped down on the new life as a single parent, and (pardon the excessive bragging) the transformation was complete literally overnight. I knitted my entire life around the little one. It was unlike anything other life I had lived before – but I lived it as if I had always been living it. My parents and casual observers marveled at how well I managed everything, and I subserviently gave all credit to the chameleon.

PTA meetings, Karate Classes, Phonics, Addition/Subtraction, Bathing, Feeding, Washing the bum, Teaching manners, Reading bedtime stories and tapping and singing until he left the world for his 10 hours of cuteness-sleep…all this along with 10 hour work days and conference calls. I didn’t bat an eyelid. I didn’t stop to wipe the sweat of my brow. It was just what I was supposed to do. Take care of the little one. So I did it. And did whatever I had to for it. And the world just fell in line with my mission. Curious people used to inquire – is it tough? And the chameleon nonchalantly shrugged, smiled, betrayed arrogance and said, “Not at all…”

You see, the chameleon lives in the now. He doesn’t care about objects in the rear view mirror, or those in the crystal ball. He is the king of the present… that’s how he adapts, how he changes colors instantly. So, when the future caught up with this particular lizard, and it was time for the little boy – his center, his prey, his reason, his mission, his core – to leave, all the self-confidence deserted like sudden low tide, exposing rocky land and the dry sand of pain. The lizard didn’t understand this sudden inexplicable loss of adaptive faculties. Nevertheless, he did what he does best; take the present by the horns and plan the next step in the face of faceless change.

But this time it was not the same. The lizard-man found himself slipping into the swirling vortex of the past, as he had never done before. He felt panic rising like a slow fever, that takes its time to come but just doesn’t leave, enveloping everything he did, everything around him with the pallor of despair. It was when his brave plans for the new present were jeopardized by his altered state of mind, that he realized why this was happening.

Basking under the purity of the little boy’s love, the lizard had become human. For the first time in his life – he realized how difficult change is. Probably for the first time in his life he realized that sometimes the future is worth fighting for, even dying for. It is too late for me now… the little boy will leave to go and live with his mother in a few days. And, I, the king of tides have been reduced to the king of fools.

One of my favorite songs goes , “…what I feel, is the only truth I know…”. This pain is the only truth I know today – and though I have made up my mind to set sail in the winds of change again, probably for the first time I will learn to adapt to my new present as a human. And I know that for the first time, my life will be real.

Grimescene is back. 🙂

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