Right now, at this very moment, another version of me, in an alternate universe, very much like ours yet different in various ways, is writing this very post. About his other life, about the life he did not choose.
I am pretty sure the rest of the post wouldn’t be the same. Perhaps the other I in the alternate universe was more convinced about his future then I was about mine. Perhaps he decided to go home and settled down years ago. Now, he is looking back, as I am doing, and thinking about the other life he did not choose, the very life I chose.
Here’s my other life that did not happen.
1997: I travel to Pune on Guwahati-Dadar Express. Join University of Pune. Department of English.
1999: I complete my MA. Get a good grade. I’m already back in Guwahati. My friend Santanu Saikia sends my mark sheet and certificates via post.
2000: I look for a job. Apply for the PhD programme in Gauhati University, which is just three bus stops away from my house.
2001: Get a temporary job at Pragjyotish College. Start writing in Assamese again. Contact local papers, magazines. Build contacts. Publish a poem or two, a story or two in Assamese.
2002: Work on my PhD. Still jobless. Try for NET/SLET. Just while away time.
2003: Just while away time at home. Perhaps read, perhaps write a little. Perhaps do not either. Loose all contact with the outside world.
2004: Clear NET. Publish my book of poems. In Assamese, not in English, as I did in this life.
2005: Still jobless. Frustrated to the extreme. More than the job, I worry about my sexuality. Feel morbidly suicidal. But cannot do anything. Start drinking on the sly. In short, turn out to be a sad case.
2006: Get a college teacher’s job in Morigaon College. Relived to leave home. Start drinking in alarming regularity.
2007: Start a relationship with a fellow lecturer in the college. Earn money. Buy a car. Rebuild the Guwahati house, think of a house in Morigaon. In short, think of money most of the time.
2008: College lecturer in a small town. Comfortable. Nothing much happens. Perhaps write a little. Perhaps works on PhD. Still frustrated. Unhappy. But, try hard to blend in.
2009: Get married with the colleague.
2010: A daughter is born.
2011: And, I stop being myself. I become a son, a husband, a father, but never, never me. And, and, I wonder what if I did not return from Pune? I could have been something else.
Do I miss that life? I don’t know. Sometimes perhaps. It would have been easier. My parents would have been happier. Life would have been easy. Easy.
At least I would have been free of this uncertainty that plagues me. Perhaps.