It’s a cloudy morning and I’m on my terrace gazing at the deserted street below. This is my small neighborhood, Sutahat, called a “Basti” or “Sahi.” My neighborhood is always lively, but today there is silence as people stay in their homes as a precaution against the deadly Coronavirus.
Due to lockdown I have some time for leisure, which makes me appreciate the beauty of my neighborhood in which people from different religious communities live happily alongside one another, maintaining peace and harmony.
While watching the street below I ponder Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken,” which influenced me in the past and helped me make many important life decisions.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
It was 17 years ago when Frost’s poem helped me make an important life decision after my father’s death. Those dire circumstances presented me with two possible choices which could determine my future life. I had to choose between my personal happiness of getting married, or starting my career and supporting my family by becoming the breadwinner. I ended up choosing the latter because I prioritized the obligations towards my parents over my own happiness.
As the eldest born, I preferred to take responsibility for my family in our time of need. Although I chose a path due to unavoidable circumstances, I soon realized that teaching was my passion. I love teaching, and I want to serve my nation by inspiring young minds to achieve their goals. Besides attaining my goals, my family is also proud of me and my achievements. While I have found it comforting to recognize my life’s mission, I also miss the bliss of married life. Even then, the choice put before me in “The Road Not Taken” has clearly made all the difference, at least in my life.
Suddenly, it starts drizzling and I am awakened from my deep thoughts with a smile on my face which itself answers my question of regret or acceptance.