“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

“Look! My new college!” Dad said, smiling ear to ear, on a video call. He was pointing towards students sitting on a dirt floor and a teacher writing on a cracked blackboard perched on a tree. Despite the scant facilities, dad looked excited! As the new dean of this rural college, he had already met all the students, supervised classes, and made curriculum changes.

Dad was happy – immersed into everything, wholeheartedly.

As I hung up, my eyes scanned my own room, stopping at the empty photo frame tossed on the floor. It had remained that way since I bought it five years ago. What’s the point if the friends I want to frame don’t stay in touch? Leaving home at 15, constantly changing cities, countries, and continents on autopilot, I had mindlessly collected souvenirs, not memories.

I was detached – moving from one thing to another, with apathy.

That weekend, I bought daffodils for my room that I had to leave in two months, cooked a painstaking four-course meal for friends that might not be in touch later, and took swing dance lessons; who cares what the point is!

If I am here, here is where I want to be, wholeheartedly.

— Nishi Anand