Last night I dreamt that I had gone back to school to join my old classmates, except that I was 31 and the rest of them were still teenagers. These dreams usually are panic-ridden for me because I feel like I have missed a lot of classes because I was out living my real life for over 10 years and will now fail my school exams.
It was different this time. I felt very confident and sure of myself. I knew that I could make up the missed lessons by myself. I knew that I did not have a year's worth of notes and that I would have to borrow someone else's and plough through them for my exams. I remember looking at other people's notebooks and wondering how much it would cost to photocopy all of it. Making up in a short period of time would be very difficult, but for the first time I knew that I could do it. No question about it.
I remember a slick young History teacher talking about Italy and showing off to my young and inexperienced classmates, and I wanted to tell him that I had written history books. He did not impress me.
A guy in my class tried to hit on me in a disrespectful way, and I turned back and put him in his place. I would've never known how to do that before.
I remember some parasitic female friends from back then, they were trying to put me down again in my dream, but I didn't feel like I needed them this time. I ignored them. They were children to me and not important at all.
In my dream I had just come from living in Delhi, working with NDTV, and visiting Bombay, and I felt so wise and confident. I had already lived in America and Canada. I had dealt with very difficult situations and had spent most of my 20s alone and in foreign countries.
I decided to leave the classroom early. I carried a huge camper's bag on my back, but it did not feel heavy at all. I was able to carry it very easily, which surprised me because I am quite short. My old parasitic friends tried to follow me but they couldn't. They were even treating me nicely because they realised that I had changed.
But I didn't need them anymore. I was not the same. I would never need to return to this classroom again.
I was smiling because I was free.