I call this part of my realization during my time in Lusaka as
The Power of "Commitments"
Commitment, this world has an enormous power to rule, restore or ruin anyone's lifestyle. The commitment of a Daughter to her Parents, the commitment of a Son to his Family, the commitment of a Father to his Children, the commitment of a Married Woman to her struggling Family, the commitment of a boyfriend to prove his worth to the family of his love, the list is endless. My time in Lusaka was the best time I realized the power of this aspect of life.
To stay in a Rat hole like place and eat whatever is put on your plate and work like Donkeys in both shifts without even a single recreation, this can be done only when a person has no choice but accept. As a student, an outsider, I always felt the easiest of all professions, where you don't have to be stressed much, stretch working hours and most of all always be connected to young and energetic people was to be a Teacher. For a person with great aspirations to be an influential and well informed Teacher, it was a Shock to find the Job most stressful than any other. My life pre Zambia and during Zambia was two extremes I felt. 24 hours of WiFi connectivity, Uninterrupted Power and Water supply, No curfews and a loving Family to share your feelings. My Pre-Zambia life was Perfect.
You may think I was spoilt with a luxurious life, trust me I was prepared for the stay where I may have Load-shedding and limited supplies even before I started for this Journey. It was not a shock to have such discrepancies to me. However, the greatest shock was I couldn't use WiFi during work time after which I can't stay longer near the Modem range of my College as I had Curfew to be back to Hostel and worst of all the library was nothing but a bunch of books in a few racks. Come on! No books, No internet, how can a teacher do her preparation without any Resources? How do you expect that the lecture delivered will be sensible and productive enough? And a compromise on Quality is the Greatest Agony for a teacher who is in Thirst for knowledge and is waiting like a Hot spring to splash out all of it to her students who have Paid and Come to seek the same. Lets universalize Work Politics and Narrow mindedness as a part of any work life.
The next shock, was Curfew. Lets consider it from the point of view of the Management. Yes, I understand that Protecting the Staff in a completely New land is a Responsible Decision. But we are from a country where Rapes and Murders are Part and Parcel of our life and even after clear evidences and proofs the Judistriction of the country keeps thinking for years to Punish the perpetrator or Not. So, a country where people rob to fill their empty stomach or perhaps with the threat of being trafficked is nothing more frightening than my own land. I chose it and I was prepared for it. How do you think it is fair to hold a 22 year old Major Woman like a prisoner behind the gates of a Hostel was your Right? I couldn't do anything but adhere. I had no friends who could protest with me or who could help me through this. Curse of being an expat, you need worry about your passport and permit before raising your Voice. Was I experiencing Slavary? Capitalism? Tyranny? or combination of all of It? I wondered many times.
Does it seem more of complaining? Bare with me. All that I wondered during these intolerable moments was where do the rest of those who work with me get the Tolerance from? and there stood the answer in all their Sad Faces- Commitments. Their financial commitments to their families left them with No Choice than to stay back, Tolerate and accept everything that came by their way, so that they can pick the few pennys thrown by the Masters and give them to their Suffering families. I exclaimed with astonishment on the mental strength of those men and women who have sacrificed the most important aspect of life, Time loss of which is irrevocable, to the happiness and peace in their families. Commitments gave them a reason to stay back and never give up, Commitments gave them the strength to accept the odds as a casual part of their life. I couldn't help but pity their desperate hearts that long for a break from that Melancholic Monotonous Life and be a part of the Family that is finding its way through Debts and Discrepancies.
I always felt that I should be responsible person to my loved ones. But that doesn't mean that I shall shun to anything that came by my way. My commitments cannot overrun the right to have my share of freedom and happiness in my life. Forget freedom and happiness, at least the right to live a decent peaceful life. When I see those people around me I was only reminded of the story of a Farmer who was promised to get the land that he ran and covered from Sun rise to Sun set. The farmer aiming for a Fortune and to set all his life straight with one challenge, made his family and child stand at the start point and ran throughout the day without missing a minute. He din't stop even when he felt thirsty and exhausted. By dusk, when he reached his Family, he collapsed. The farmer gave his entire life not living his share of happiness for the sake of his Family and the Family is nothing without the Farmer just with a Piece of Land that he gave his life for. Similar was their life, taken the unpredictability of life one cannot be a Slave to their Commitments. Their inability to fight back pained we within. Sometimes, I was also the Farmer like them.
But my heart always questioned me. Did you come here for this? Was this your aim? Is this tolerance worth your Time? In search of answers to these I found myself lucky enough to be free from financial Commitments and only bound to Emotional Commitments. I felt that my emotional commitments to achieve, make my family proud, make their efforts count was not in the success path. I found myself looking for temporary satisfaction of their expectation failing on the greater one. It was as though we were getting fooled by a Mirage. Perhaps my decisions seem Impulsive. Perhaps it was too early to give up. But I could only answer a NO to a question Was it worth to Wait?
I feel even at this very moment proud and gifted to have a family that never thrusted its commitments on me, all they wanted was the same in return. Having provided me the education and ability to be on my own, they wanted me to be independent and responsible for my own bread and butter. The commitment I have is for my own self. Sometimes it made me think that the bleak and emotionless life that they lead is an effect of the unspoken piled up frustrations, for they were victims of familial obligations.
It took a toll of strength and thinking to break the emotional bond of commitments I had and set myself free to a better future. Better Now than Later as the Latter is Uncertain. It is again the Commitment to my own self that gave the strength to look beyond and see a bigger picture for a brighter tomorrow and a better today.
Gifted I am, for I have this Life,