“Aman, you have got a customer on line.”
His colleague passed over the phone to him.
Aman received the call with as much enthusiasm he could muster for the obnoxious task that was waiting for him. Another busy day to get by. Another task to accomplish. Another customer to please. He felt more like a machine, and less like a human in that place.
Aman, a tender young man in his late twenties, was pursuing his career in a highly reputed sales organization of the country. His primary job was to exaggerate the qualities of the company’s products and find a market for the company. At the end of the day, his productivity was seen in his customer’s happiness and his employer’s happiness.
While trying his best to please everyone, he had forgotten to question himself if he was happy. Another work day had ended and Aman had reached his apartment. He usually had his dinner with his colleagues. His family was from Eastern Nepal and he made sure to keep in touch with them once in a while. He had been away from them for more than eight years and his mother was the only person he actually missed often.
He leaned on the sofa and loosened his tie. The day had been eventful. He had interacted with a dozen of customers that day, had attended a meeting with his team and had given a presentation in the evening about his department’s work-plan regarding a new market segment the company was trying to achieve. He had been quite successful to convince the head of his department regarding the progress of his team and the strategies that they were going to follow. His team had been praised for its accomplishments so far.
Aman felt good but not happy. Any one of his colleagues would have done anything to be in his place right now. He was seen as an achiever in the company; a hardworking, ambitious and intelligent asset his company possessed. In spite of this, Aman felt very tired and felt his life
draining away. He stood up and walked over to the mirror. He looked at his reflection but didn’t quite see himself. He was standing in his formal wear with a tired face. But in the mirror, he saw Aman who was smiling. The Aman in the mirror was in a casual outfit with ruffled hair and had a guitar in his hands. The Aman in the mirror was full of life.
Without his permission, a drop of tear rolled down his cheeks. He became conscious of the tear. He became conscious of the sadness that he felt inside, the void that his soul felt. He went into the past, some ten years back. Aman was a pleasant boy who had found his happiness in the strings of his guitar. Participation in a music competition during his school days had introduced Aman to the world of music. He started learning guitar and created a band with few of his friends. This indulgence started as a mere hobby but gradually became a passion for Aman.
After completing his intermediate education, he expressed his desire of pursuing education in music to his family. His mother looked at her son and then her husband with eyes filled with terror. Aman’s father didn’t say a word that day. He rebuffed his son’s thoughts as something that his son would soon overcome. Aman, on the other hand, felt very positive that his parents would allow him to pursue his dreams.
One day, he had just returned from his regular practice session. He threw himself on his bed. He was tired since he had been practicing for ten hours straight with his friends. A community fest was happening in their town in a month. Their band had decided to give a concert themed performance and the boys had been working day and night over the concept. His mother silently entered his room, sat beside him and just stared at him.
“Mama, do you have something to say to me?”
“Aman, your father is not happy about you wasting your time on these fests, music and all. He says you spend too much time with your friends. You have just completed your intermediate studies, my son. You should think something about your future now. It is high time.”
Aman looked at his mother perplexed.
“Mama, but I told you that I wanted to pursue my further education in music.”
“You were serious, Aman?”
“Well, wasn’t I? What made you think I wasn’t?”
Aman’s mother gave a heavy sigh. How could she make her child understand that he was taking a hard path in his life? Music is not a sustainable business. It doesn’t promise to feed you. Rather, it promises years and years of hardships, disapprovals, failures, criticisms and tears. She only knew the conventional way of life- settling in a prestigious career and there, you are settled for life. Her family, her relatives and her friends- everyone had taken this conventional path in their life and they were successful and even happy. And here was her son, talking about being a musician.
“Aman, listen to me carefully. You are just a child, my love. You do not understand the way of life. You haven’t stepped out of home, even once in your lifetime. You do not know what hardship is. You haven’t tasted tears, sweat and hunger. Son, you don’t know what you are talking about.”
Aman was moved by the concern of his mother. He smiled and put his hands on both of her cheeks. He spoke like an adult.
“Mama, now I get it. You are just being an overprotective mother. I will always be a kid in your eyes, right? Mama, I know what I am talking about. I know this way is hard but I am ready for it. I feel happy when I have music with me. I know that this is the thing that creates fire in my soul. This is the thing I want to do for the rest of my life. I wouldn’t be happy doing anything else, Mama.”
Aman’s mother looked at him with tears in her eyes. She understood that not her son but his soul was speaking with her. His soul was pleading with her to allow it to do what it desires. She kissed her son on
his forehead and slipped out of the room silently. She decided that she would do her best to convince her husband in favor of their son.
Two weeks had passed after the community fest had taken place. It had been a huge success and Aman’s band had obtained amazing appreciation for their performance. Aman was exhilarated with the positive response from everyone. He was in seventh heaven. His band had taken up another project which focused on the importance of girl child education. Their band was busy in composing songs regarding the woes of being a girl child in Nepal.
Aman was spending considerable amount of his time with his band. He was rarely found at his home. A week before the performance, Aman was fast asleep in his bed till late that day. He had returned home late earlier night after a long rehearsal for the performance their band had planned.
Aman’s father woke him up and began scolding him for being an immature boy. Eventually, Aman’s mother had failed to convince her husband regarding Aman’s career choice. He said that he was not happy with Aman’s pursuit of music. His family had been in prestigious jobs since ages and it was not acceptable for him to have his son do otherwise.
Aman was a big boy but he couldn’t stop himself from crying. The harsh words of his father pierced his tender heart. His self-esteem was hurt. His father swore to denounce him from the family if he continued his childish pursuit. Aman cried endlessly that day in the warm arms of his mother. He didn’t have the strength enough to fight back his father. His mother consoled him and made him promise that he would do as per the wishes of his father. Her husband’s words scared her. She didn’t want to lose her son, after all.
Aman broke out of this painful memory and found himself kneeling on the floor with tears streaming down his cheeks. He had accepted life as it is now. He had convinced himself that this was going to be his life till his last breath. Still, sometimes he felt like a child needing someone to pick him up and console him. He knew he would live like this but never
happily. He felt envious of the boy in the mirror. He had always wanted to be that boy, but reality was something else. He went to bed straight without changing his clothes. He felt feverish. He closed his eyes and wished he could find peace at least in his dream. A moment before slipping into his dream, he promised the boy in the mirror, “We shall meet tomorrow again.”
Submitted by: Jagina Shrestha