To Be or Not To Be

There she was, a thirteen year old, knowing with her whole heart what she wanted to do her whole life. She could not wait to tell her mother. When she did, this is how her mother responded. Standing in stark contrast to her excitement was the adult’s expression. No, it was not bewilderment or disappointment. Worse still, it was well, nothing. Nothing at all.

“Mia, that’s all okay. But you will have to actually do something else. You can do this on the side, like a hobby,” said her mother.

“But I didn’t mean it as a hobby. I meant seriously, like a full-time thing,” explained little Mia.

“I know what you mean,” assured her mother. “That is why I am correcting you.”

Mia was a little confused by then. Was it really she who needed correction?

“Life is not a bed of roses. We cannot do just anything that we want to. More than anything, we need to eat. For that, we need to earn, and earn well. What you want to do will not help you with that. That is why I said you will have to do something else, for a living,” said her mother patiently.

Mia did not reply. She was still grappling with the bitter life truth as laid bare by her mother.

“But then, Mia, you are only thirteen! You have a long time ahead of you to decide your career. Take your time,” her mother continued.

“Are you sure?” asked Mia finally.

“Yes, I am,” replied her mother confidently. “And you can always continue doing what you like on the side, believe me,” she concluded on a positive note before leaving.

Mia believed her mother. For years, she did, with all her being. And all the while, she hated her mother. She hated the piece of advice she received when she was thirteen and on which she based her life. She could never forget that day because that is when a struggling author was born inside her.

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