The Others



There’s Us – We have regular jobs, deadlines, stress, friends, late nights, parties, brunches, holidays, different jobs, same friends, tighter deadlines, more stress, later nights, bigger parties, fancier brunches, better holidays and so on.

Then, there are the Others. (I’m not referring to the weird Lost freaks or Nicole Kidman’s scary onscreen offspring.) The Others don’t have regular jobs and the resulting accruements. The Others have organic farms. They go trekking every other day to some unheard hamlet in the interiors of Maharashtra. They play the sitar. They play the drums. They learn pottery and write poetry. They devour books that aren’t bestsellers. They learn to cook Spanish food. They learn to read and write Japanese, French and German. They go for weekend road trips on their Royal Enfields. They stay for a few weeks in Turkey. Just for fun. They do volunteer work in Palestine. They work for National Geographic. They travel. A lot. They wander. Endlessly. They’re content. Relatively.

The other day, I met this 29-year-old woman for a story. She had this glow about her. I put it down to good genes and some MAC concealer. As I started interviewing her I realised that it was natural. She is a vegan, which means she doesn’t consume dairy products because of the harm they cause to animals. She eats, breathes, believes and lives organically. She toiled on her own farm for two years. She went to a tiny village in Japan where she lived and baked bread with a local family. She now runs her own organic café. She had something she truly believed in and she looked well… happy. That was the glow. I know its presumptuous of me to claim she’s happy after knowing her in the span of an hour, but you can just tell that about some people.

One of my close friends quit her promising job with a news channel and went to Helsinki to teach Finnish high school kids about global issues. She met people from all over the world and now has friends in Portugal, Columbia, Cameroon, and Belgium. On a cheap Euro rail pass, she backpacked around Nice, Paris, Stockholm, Monaco, Brenham and Amsterdam. After she came back I asked her, “Now what?” She replied: “I don’t know. I’m just excited about heading to Himachal Pradesh for a few days.” And no, she isn’t depending on her parents to support her whimsical lifestyle. She earns and spends her own money.

These are the ‘Others’ I’m talking about. I’m not cribbing about my own life. I’m rather happy myself. But what gets me down is that I know my life by rote. I can’t seem to distinguish one day from the next. Sure, I have fun doing my work, and hanging with my friends and going out and traveling occasionally. I’m a conventional 24-year-old girl with great friends, a good job and a stable life.

I’m part of the ‘Us’. I want to be the ‘Other’.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (18 votes, average: 4.56 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...
  • Amitabh Varma

    Same here, Tasneem! I wish I were a part of the “others”.

    [Reply]

    Shourabh Reply:

    You belong to the same school of frustration and discontent as me then.

    Looking and hearing about such people makes me want to gag on the fabric of the life I’m leading.
    And more articles on Brunch about people like you’ve mentioned only contribute to the impending sense of doom at my existence.

    And on sober contemplation, I have a feeling that these people have somehow managed to crack the code of leading an enjoyable and fulfilled life.

    [Reply]

    roodrow Reply:

    how can you quit a job and support a whimsical lifestyle at the sametime? Its not just about being independent of your parents. What if you have to support your parents? have to admit this other life looks uber-cool but dont tell me you can go for it without a strong financial backup and particularly no family responsibility.

    [Reply]

    Tasneem Reply:

    you cant. i know many “others” who although they’re pretty content wandering about, they still worry about parents, money etc. Its not the perfect life, but I could live with that!

    Tasneem Reply:

    whoa…*mouth gapes at man fridays wisdom”.
    You nailed it. couldn’t have said it better myself. And it is reassuring to know that everyone has to take a dump.

    Mayank dixit Reply:

    Dear tasneen,

    What i am seeing here that other than me everyone have got reply from you, I knw the reason behind that.. but i was not expecting that a journalist like u will behave in this negative behaviour.The reason behind that may be the comment given by me on one of your article “The world is divided into two kinds of people – Homophobes and people I respect”.

    I am sure I doesn’t come in the categories of people who u respect..But u r taking things on your heart. homosexuality is not a crime its a debatabble topic… and my thinks is not as u have on this topic… may be we are same ideologies on other topics..It always feel good and appreciate ur efforts that do reply every messg.

    I hope Ms. nashrulla will not be baised to other next time :-)

    Tasneem Reply:

    yes gagging is a common symptom of the “us” grp of ppl. you know but theres this other type of us people who are really happy being us and not the others. i wouldnt mind being them either. the worse is being someone who you think you may not want to be!

    [Reply]

    Mayank dixit Reply:

    There is much difference in Others and US.Those who live the life of others have different way of thinking.They never planned ttheir life and always keep it open.
    they love to do experiment with his/her life in search of something which satisfied them.If we are satisfied with or life we can’t be others.others always walk alone not in group.

    So In all if we wish to be part of others don’t be satisfied.However it can never be planned always in your genes and your surrondings.

    [Reply]

    Tasneem Reply:

    some day….some day!!!

    [Reply]

  • Masha

    Me too!!! Me too!!! I mean I’m happy and everything but I want to be one of the “Others” :)

    [Reply]

    TLOB Reply:

    I think of the others all the time. In fact, I wonder who are these people and how they can be so happy ( secretly, I know there are all unhappy. they just act)

    I guess – as someone above mentioned it also- we indians mostly are risk averse, and our previous generation of license quota raj had seen worse so our conditioning has been such that we play safe in safe jobs, in saving money, not doing things where heart is ( broad generalization, but applies well

    [Reply]

    Vincent Vega Reply:

    I think I would fall in the category of ‘US’- always longing take off everywhere- then console myself with ‘Someday.. Someday’. I love my job too but I also think it is remarkable that some people will go out of their way to live life on their terms. I also find it funny that some people here assume that such people are unhappy. I don’t know the details of their lives but I am pretty sure that even secretly, they are happy. Why would they secretly throw away the security of money? To pose? To look cool? There’s only so far one can go with posturing. There are so many people I know who CHOOSE consciously not to follow a pattern. Therefore, assuming they are unhappy is an attempt to make ourselves feel better about our mundane existence- our ordinary lives suddenly seem so much better if we think ‘Oh they must secretly be unhappy’.

    [Reply]

    Rohan Naringrekar Reply:

    well few years back for a brief period of about 4-5 years i was in the category of ‘others’ . i mean to some extent… i learned french(atleast i think so..) i used to go for a trecking or rock climbing regularly with my small group of amature photographers ( actually i was the only amature there, all oders were professionals) i used to travel a lot without asking myself where im going nd why… but unfortunately i had to shift n get myself involved in this routine predictable life.. just to have a stable life…i really miss those carefree days i lived in my college days, given a choice i’d go back to such lifestyle again n live every moment for Myself…

    Tasneem Reply:

    the funny thing was, up until college and i had abolsutely no qualms about being part of us. I had a conventional school and college life which was nothing out of the ordinary except that it was awesome fun and I loved it! its only now that the mediocrity and banality of it is getting to me. Mind you, i still have plenty of fun…but at times even the fun starts to feel monotonous.

    rohan naringrekar Reply:

    my school or college were not at all different from urs.. my group of crazy frnds were the reason i cld enjoy that small phase of my life in a different way..

    Tasneem Reply:

    EXACTLY Vincent! and i think many of “us” fool ourselves into thinking we’re happy just cuz we have “job security” and “regular pay checks” and “a great social life”. Who are we kidding?!

    Tasneem Reply:

    haha. keep saying that they are unhappy to placate urself TLOB!
    yep true…we love our comfort zones we indians!

    [Reply]

    Tasneem Reply:

    ok masha, i get you!!! but why are you so happy abt this?!!

    [Reply]

    masha Reply:

    I’m not happy about it.. I’m happy with my life now.. ok.. just little frustrated with the monotony of it all.. but i seriously wonder what i would have to do to get a life like the “Others”.

    [Reply]

  • man friday

    It’s all about boxes. We all live in boxes. It’s just that the walls are defined by different facets of life. For ‘us’, the walls are defined by our financial needs, our need for security, our need for social acceptance and our fear of the unknown. The ‘others’ have perhaps broken these walls. But they still have walls. They are confined by the nature of their own personalities and by the physical nature of human beings. Think about it this way. No matter how random you think a person’s life might be, he/she still has to take a dump in the morning.
    It’s a little like this, Lame people want to walk. People who can walk want to run. People who want to run want to run faster. And Usain Bolt wants to fly.
    Eventually, even the most enlightened of human beings are confined by the greatest wall of all — mortality.

    [Reply]

    Samar Halarnkar Reply:

    How about a story on the others? Brief? Deadline?

    [Reply]

    Tasneem Reply:

    aaah…brief…deadline….words that the others never have to deal with :)
    Already doing one on organic lady, and have done one on my finnish friend too

    [Reply]

    sagar Reply:

    hey tasneem i just stumbled upon a blog which has some posts a little too similar to the ones in ur blog.
    here is the url : http://jnikita.blogspot.com/
    plz check it

    Tasneem Reply:

    oh my god…i checked…and she’s copied one of my entries verbatim!!! god the cheek of this woman! what can one do in such a situation?

    Tasneem Reply:

    whoa…*moth gapes at man fridays wisdom”.
    You nailed it. couldn’t have said it better myself. And it is reassuring to know that everyone has to take a dump.

    [Reply]

  • http://mywriterkeeda.wordpress.com Ishmart Alec

    well you could sum this up in one line – Grass is always greener on the other side.

    http://mywriterkeeda.wordpress.com

    [Reply]

    Tasneem Reply:

    i dont have grass. i have weeds.

    [Reply]

    man friday Reply:

    You have weed??? … Dude … Then what the hell are you complaining about?

    [Reply]

    Ishmart Alec Reply:

    ROTFLOL – Thats the best I have ever heard. buehehehehehehehe

  • Socrates

    Humans will always find a reason/reasons to feel miserable. As soon as you make a transition from being one of us to being that enchanting other, the other will no longer remain the ‘other’. It would have become you or ‘us’. And other would have shifted somewhere else, maybe someone who’s an organic cafeite to someone who did organic farming and now just sits jobless the whole day.

    Rest assured, you will continue to search for something that makes you feel miserable. But just be careful, there’s a chance that you might just reach the point, the point of no return. And become happy. Forever.

    [Reply]

    amit Reply:

    well! well! well! that is something interesting, never ever thought of anything close 2 it! thank u so much 4 bringing this 1, it is not that we aren’t happy, with being ‘US’ it is just the human tendency, that we always fancy being something that is sometimes different from being ‘us’. but i guess in the end when u admit 2 d point dat u r happy being ‘us’, that is where it shows that @ the end of the day however we want 2 become a superman, we are not prepared 2 get in any trouble. so whats the basic difference between ‘us’ & ‘others’
    it is the attitude, why crave what ‘others’ got, infact it would be fascinating if the ‘others’ thought that about ‘us’. just the one thing about your writing , it induces me to think beyond my imagination, and woudnt it be a better 1 for our country to elude ‘us’ & ‘others’ from our minds and just keep the needful ‘WE’ in their mind, i guess that would be helpful for the indians, but as i said earlier human tendency and practically speaking the’INDIAN TENDENCY’ rocks. whatever it is, but it was fun writing to you, i guess i better be careful next time & not talk something away from the topic, anyways i do hope you would enjoy giving your few minutes reading my thoughts!

    [Reply]

    Tasneem Reply:

    ha interesting though tthat….what if the others thought the us’es were cool? what if the others wanted to give up all their traveling to exotic locations and sit on their rears in an office with disparate air conditioning temperatures?!

    on a serious note, i did enjoy reading your comment amit, and pls continue to disagree with my whining whenever appropriate :)

    [Reply]

    Tasneem Reply:

    whoa u really could give socrates a run for his money….thats if he made any.
    but i suppose i have to agree with you. still i will continue in my endeavour to search for something that makes me feel miserable abt myself….

    [Reply]

    Socrates Reply:

    [i]Because here’s something else that’s true. In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of God or spiritual-type thing to worship — be it J.C. or Allah, be it Yahweh or the Wiccan mother-goddess or the Four Noble Truths or some infrangible set of ethical principles — is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things — if they are where you tap real meaning in life — then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. On one level, we all know this stuff already — it’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, bromides, epigrams, parables: the skeleton of every great story. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness. Worship power — you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart — you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on.[/i]

    [i]And the world will not discourage you from operating on your default-settings, because the world of men and money and power hums along quite nicely on the fuel of fear and contempt and frustration and craving and the worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom to be lords of our own tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talked about in the great outside world of winning and achieving and displaying. The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default-setting, the “rat race” — the constant gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing.[/i]

    From:
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122178211966454607.html


    I have nothing to add.:)

    [Reply]

    Socrates Reply:

    P.S. David Foster Wallace (the guy who gave that speech) hanged himself sometime back. ):

    Socrates Reply:

    P.S. David Foster Wallace (the guy who gave that speech hanged himself sometime back. ):

  • Sambhavi

    Lovely post. I am trying to be a part of the OTHERS. I am a 22 yr old, still studying, yet to enter the world of work (pay bills, worry abt taxes, blah blah) but i am trying to find a career that lets me be part of the OTHER side….will anyone pay me for this?? I know…having my cake n eating it too ;) ….but i know its possible …for starters i am going to Europe to study (ostensibly hehe) n plan to galivant across on Euro pass (which is not sooo cheap after all esp. when u r NOT earning, but still…)
    Hoping to start a blog to can my experiences…..I feel people shd make efforts to become the other…atleast for some part of their lives… coz life is too short not to indulge in fancyfree dreams….else these regrets stay later on. when health or time or age may not be on ur side. so go for it even if its a little frivolous n irresponsible…its okay!!

    [Reply]

  • Shobhit

    Well, this article brings to my mind another instance of an other which me and my friend were discussing the other day.

    He’s a 24 year old guy who works just like me as a consultant and earns almost the same. He’s a bassist in a rock band frm his college and does gigs over the years for a certain faction of music lovers. Owns a Royal Enfield and does some fabulous work in the office. But last week I came to know inspite of him being among the few ones to get an appraisal and an increment he’s quitting and leaving the firm this month. When I asked “Why dude?” he had a simple answer, I want to learn mountaineering and then trek and teach mountaineering. My mind was blank for a minute, why cant I ever find something which gives me the same fever of going for it inspite all odds and why cant I have all the courage in the world to take sucha decision.

    The answer to it probably lies in the way you want your life to be a few years later. The difference between him and me is the thought process of what he thinks he can do now and live life and what I think of future as part of my current decision…

    Though I know I’d love to be “The Others” but not forever…I guess this is my future process speaking! :P

    [Reply]

  • Arpita Chakraborty

    Wow…tasneem u r a great writer….
    Kudos!!!

    [Reply]

  • Ali

    Hey everyone!

    Its an interesting discussion, ‘us’ and the ‘others’. I believe that if we can strike a balance between the two, life can be a lot of fun. I went to the U.S. for a bachelor’s degree when I was 18. At the time, the place to be was Engineering. After studying engineering for two years or so, I got totally burned out and I just couldn’t picture myself being an engineer. Without telling my folks, who would have had a panic attack, I took an year off. I used to deliver Pizzas and I first made enough money to buy a muscle car I had always wanted, after that I took road trips coast to coast, like Miami to Los Angeles types. It was fun, it was during this time that I developed interest in stock markets and when I came back I could see my future in stocks. I switched majors to Finance and I had to work twice as hard, take enormous course loads to finish both engineering and business administration.

    But the point is, I think I am a very focused guy, it doesn’t keep me from doing crazy stuff though, out of no where, I applied for a two week leave and travelled all the way to Makkah and Madinah just to find peace. The thing is, if know how to handle both kinds of lifestyle, it is doable. This article is old and it just shows how big a fan I am to be replying now! Catching up on the good stuff!

    [Reply]

  • ally

    well if you to be a part of the “other”, get out there and do it, you got one shot at life, go for it, it all started for me with work at a tourist resort it was a “seasonal job” and people from all over the world came to work there, and thats a good place to start.

    [Reply]

  • http://deleted priyanka

    I aint a part of “us” yet…and would want to be one of the “others” someday in my life…
    but is it actually possible for people from conventional families to turn into those “others” or the mentally- satisfied ones ? for once is it possible for “us” to leave everything behind and live the life like the “others”??

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous

    These are all speculation blaming this or that minister. Who is real culprit and who is mostly benefited is till secrete I think that never disclosed Raja and his gang will came without any blame

    [Reply]

  • dp

    It baffles me that CBI is investing everyone from Shourie to Jaswant Singh but is not at all interrogating the current HM,the then FM,chidambaram.Smacks of political conspiracy.Yes it is a fact that the note of Mar,25th ,2011 is the handiwork of top officials of PMO,Finance,Telecom etc but it’s anybody’s guess whether it had the blessings of the current FM.But that can’t absolve the responsibilities of Chidambaram & PM as both of them were kept in the loop by Raja.

    [Reply]

  • Jodh Arora

    Shisher Ji should have printed copy of the said letter. He must also show if FM Chit
    or PM MMS have gained any monetary gains in this deal. Otherwise he is either
    wanting to create a turmoil in INdia as the world is fighting Recession and depression.
    If the majority of the developed countries are victims of the coming DEPRESSION, can
    CHINA and INDIA stay unaffected. India’ s biggest problem is INFRASTRUCTURE. And media is busy with Anna Ji, Ramdev Ji and BJP and forgetting the economic Tsunami. CAN SISAR JI RESPOND? my Email is there

    [Reply]

    Kumars1 Reply:

    India needs a dynamic oriented leadership in these uncertain times. The present government is incompetent and discredited. Bring in Mr Modi.

    [Reply]

  • Shethanant

    Anant Sheth writes from Baroda(now USA) Is this governance ? Nine out of 10 issues are like these scandals. Are we to play into the hands of Policians who don’t show what they were elected by the people for.
    Country is run and we have to be content with senseless doings by them. They will go home with bagful of money before the next election. Such selection must stop in the next one. Let Anna and such leaders draw out the right plan for selection to avoid reentry of such leaders.

    [Reply]

  • Shethanant

    After approval, if found alright, please do it.

    [Reply]

  • Abu Ahmed

    Revenge of the Sangh Parivar – of course the opportunity is provided by the UPA govt undoubtedly, but the utterances and least possible action taken against Hindu terrorism by Chidambaram has finally got his goat. Bring somebody more pliable to the Sangh Parivar in the Home Ministry – thats the message. 2G is just an excuse, getting Chiddy out is the real grouse.

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous

    “If Mukherjee and his Ministry believe that Chidambaram could have stemmed the 2G rot, the latter could also raise questions that the finance minister had not done enough to control the runaway inflation, prices, downslide of rupee and monetary policy.’

    It appears that since the Home Ministry is Mr Shishir Gupta’s beat , an affinity has developed with the incumbent Home Minister.

    [Reply]

  • yashu

    your source of information? :)

    [Reply]