It's Cafe Coffee Day on 12th Main. I'm sitting with my laptop open, typing desultorily and waiting for a friend to join me. At the table next to me three people are doing business. I know this not from their conversation, which I'm not paying attention to, but the tones of their voices. After a while, I look up and see that they're discussing the new logo of their company. I can see the screen clearly and I automatically critique the logo in my mind. It's not much longer before I feel impelled to lean across and present my credentials and opinions. The upshot of this is an offer from the guy to introduce me to publishers for my book, and a freelance project.
Over the next few weeks, at various other cafés, more freelance projects and job referrals come my way from others engaged in trying to turn early mid-life crises into pots of gold. It seems this town is full of people who work better in cafes than in cubicles. There are far more of us than I'd thought. We followed the prescribed path from birth. We got the reasonable education, no hitch, became reasonable adults at eighteen, no question, found the reasonable job, no sweat. We moved smoothly from good company to better one with scarcely a break, climbed steadily with reasonable reward. We stayed firmly on the rails for 15 or 16 years until the Great Pointsman in the Sky (or the evil one below) fell asleep or something and we found ourselves suddenly thrown off, bruised and unreasonable. The early troubles we should have had suddenly come due, we take our belated gap year and give ourselves the career angst we skipped.
Most of us are still walking beside the rails, half ready to leap on should another slow train arrive, but we're getting more unreasonable by the hour. Most of us will return anyway to some cubicle or the other, refreshed by the break. But the 0.1 per cent who don't, will, in between dodging the bouncing cheques, invent the next Mac or Google, found the new Tata or become another AR Rahman or Chetan Bhagat. I don't know yet which category I will belong to, but it's an exciting time here in the recycle bin.
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