Go

You’re at an airport. You emerge from the metal detector. No sounds. No flags. No worries. Wrong. Your hands get “randomly selected” to be checked for bomb residue. Your skin is brown. Your eyes are wide. You’re 15 and your palms face the ceiling as a pale, overbearing stranger brushes your flesh with powder. With a smile that doesn’t meet his eyes, he says, “You’re good to go.” And you go.

But you wonder if you’re really ‘good.’

You write a piece about it seven years later. You like to write. You think you’re good and acquaintances on Facebook concur, so you must be destined for fame. You wanted to be an artist, but no amount of lead curled on card-stock or steaks of acrylic red are brave enough to elicit opinions. 

The world is full of them––opinions. 

But with your writing, you take a leap of faith. Because you believe in it. It’s not just a hobby for Facebookers anymore. It’s a profession. It’s a dream, an accomplishable one. It’s not just a streak of paint; it’s not just visual. You feel alive when the ink sounds from your lips. 

But the moment you announce your destiny of tapping letters on a keyboard so that they construct a 500-page manuscript, you are bombarded with words not belonging to you. 

Queue the badgering: “Where’s the money in that?” Well, if you cared, you’d be an accountant. “What husband would want that for a wife?” Who knows? What wife would want a husband like that? “Preeti’s daughter is going to be a doctor.” Well, Preeti’s daughter has been flunking biology since high school. She likes history. But does anyone ask? No. Comparison is a competition that keeps culture alive. 

It’s like being back at the airport but instead of bomb powder, you’re being checked for every aspect of your life that might go awry and burden the family’s reputation. But the second you succeed in one endeavor and have a name worth bragging about even for a moment, the pestering becomes pleasant phraseology. “Wow, I’m so proud of you.” “We all believed in you.” “I knew you could do it.” Bet you knew it before they did.

But you accept it. You accept the journey before the accomplishments. You accept the critics before the confidence. You accept the random selection for not being random. And you accept that you like to write.

So, you’re good to go.

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