Professing Nothing | A Short Story

“Kuchh Bhi”

After 10 years of being nothing and yet everything, I decided to teach.

There was no subject in particular that I taught, neither did I teach any age group specifically, nor did I teach in a school or an institute. I taught students from my experiences, there was no name given to what I taught; it was purely called ‘Kuchh Bhi’. Kuchh Bhi stood for nothing, yet something or anything. It stood for where we come from till where we go, in this life.

I had worked previously in 3 different organizations as a designer, and left each one of them because of reasons very unusual. I lost interest, and the drive to carry on the moment I saw a more interesting opportunity. Eventually I realized that I would rather work as someone who wants variety in life, someone who wants each day to be different from the other, and as someone who can stay glued to that job not as a job to earn a living but as a job that I couldn’t live without.

*

I never advertised for my classes, I believed that people would find out eventually, through others who had had the experience. I wouldn’t say I wasn’t commercial, I charged a hearty fee, but it was worth the time I put into each student, and it was a value for his or her money spent.

Now, let me tell you the story of my two most beloved students who actually made me love this new profession of mine more than I could have ever imagined. One of them was Ved, a man who first joined my class at the age of 30, same age as mine. He was a marketing manager at a leading corporate Indian firm. He loved music, went out a lot with friends, watched plays and musicals, loved movies, dabbled into sports once in a while, drank occasionally, loved sweets, did not smoke, and liked to read in general. His nature was truly admirable, he was soft spoken, had the patience to listen, and to understand, put great thought into anything and everything before reacting, arguing or concluding.

To be very frank, I never really started until Ved had joined. He was the reason what I do now became ‘what I do now’. Yes, he was my very first student. And my life as a teacher had just begun.

*

Apart from Ved, there was a girl called Priya who became another one of my cherished students. I still remember her first day…she was lost and confused. She had a craft but not the right direction. She knew what she wanted to do eventually in her life, but she didn’t understand how to prioritize and create a step-by-step path to the solution.  In those days I used to teach as a design faculty at a small coaching center, and when I bumped upon her anxiety, I offered to give her extra classes to help her find her way….

So, on her very first day, my first assignment to her was to pack her bag, catch a public transport and go to the place she loved the most in the city. Once she reached there, I asked her to just observe and absorb. She found it quite amusing to just go somewhere and not do anything other than look around and register. But soon she realized, while she was doing that, she also managed to enjoy a cup of tea and read a book and shop around for absolutely nonsensical things. When she came back the next day, I asked her some questions, which took her by surprise. She probably expected me to ask her about the look and feel of her experience or about the color and shape of things or about the shops and restaurants she saw. I asked her if during the entire time that she was there, how many times she brushed her hair out of her face? How often did she adjust her t-shirt/jeans? How many beggars did she refuse? Did she think of her family even once? Did she remember the smell in the air or how many times did she stop her urge to buy something that was irresistible to ignore?

I had given the same assignment to Ved. Today, he is a very successful entrepreneur settled in New York, married and going to be a father soon. He learned to enjoy life the way it was, in all its rawness and roughness, in all its happiness and sadness. He had quit his job soon after our classes together got over and had never been happier.

Priya was working at a sports magazine publication house as a photographer. She would often go out on month long trips to several states of the country to click pictures of sportsmen and athletes competing for the national games, Olympics and so on. She was very passionate about photography but somehow working in a corporate environment became somewhat of a recluse and unimaginative in her work. Her photographs weren’t breathtaking or award winning but just a means to an end. It became a job for her instead of her passion.

But today, after having quit the job soon after taking my classes, she is the owner of a successful designer shoes brand and does photography on the side as her ever-engaging passion.

So what did I teach again? Oh yes…nothing!

Ved and priya were and are my best friends. They came into my life to teach me the most important lesson of life. They taught me how to want to do what I want to really do, to love what I do and do what I love.

Oh, one more thing…

I am no teacher; I am just a friend who showed up at the right place at the right time.

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