“Tu ki ye?”

I pressed the pause button. I stared at the screen. The thought had never hit me.

Six hours ago…

Trying my best to get through my homework done as fast as possible I was daydreaming about my future. ‘I want to be the kind of person who does all his work in an hour or two and enjoys the rest of the day’ I thought to myself. My mind was filled with the scene of future me basking in the evening sun with a sugar-loaded coffee in one hand and a novel in the other. That sure is my dream life.

Four hours ago…

Done with my homework, I was listening to an interview of an entrepreneur. ‘Wow…I want to be like him. I should start now. I want to outwork everyone.’ I thought. ‘Arrey, a couple of hours ago you wanted to chill and work for no more than two hours a day?’ my mind argued.

Three hours ago…

I was enjoying a Turkish TV series while having lunch. “Tu ki ye?” asked the protagonist’s boyfriend. That was when it hit me. Questions I had always asked myself were ‘Who do you want to be?’ ‘What do you want in life’ ‘What kind of person do you want to be’, but I never asked myself ‘Tu ki ye?’, meaning ‘who are you’ in Kurdish Kurmanji (by the way it means the same in Punjabi). Shockingly I did not have an answer.

I tried coming up with things like ‘I am a student’, even tried putting hardworking and lazy before student. But I realized being hardworking or lazy our just states of mind put into action and I stop being a student when my ears are blocked with my ego. I felt as though whatever I had believed myself to be in the past was just a temporary phase of my mind, something similar to how aliens connected to dragons and horses in the movie ‘Avatar’ (One of my favorite movies, but you can get the idea of what I am talking about here), they became one temporarily.

The same way, I think we become one with our current habits, personality and beliefs, but we are not our thoughts or beliefs, they just become a part of us ‘temporarily.’ There are small moments when we disconnect from them, where we actually feel and realize that the real we is different from the one we believe ourselves to be. These moments are both extremely uncomfortable and enlightening, and let me add scary at least for me. In my opinion, it is an extremely important question, more important than what we want ourselves to be, because we cannot transform or evolve an abstract idea of ourselves.

If you are yet to ask yourself the question, allow me to do so.

Tu ki ye?

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Samarth Khanna

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