It's the one question I've always wanted to hate. But it's hard for me to hate things, because I usually find the things I want to hate so hilariously stupid, they end up being funny. Yeah, from my last ex-man...umm, I'm not sure the macho gender fits because it was so effeminate it once confessed "sometimes I feel like the chick in this relationship" to which I couldn't stop myself from saying "yeah? What's that like?"... to colleagues who've got on my wrong side to women who flirt with the object of my affection to Harry Potter, my hatred turns into amusement somewhere along the way.
I've been at enough job interviews and scholarship interviews and university entrance interviews to be asked that one question that is the holy grail of all HR theorists, hundreds of times.
I've come up with a series of innovative and impressive answers to where I saw myself five years from now, for a couple of decades now. (Yes, of course there were these people who would pinch my obese cheeks and ask if I wanted to be an engineer like Daddy or a doctor like Mummy or a lawyer like Patti.)
Every single time, I've been wrong. Hell, how do I know where I see myself five years from now when I'm not sure what's around the corner a month from now? When I was trying to deal with a radio show host whom no one else in the station would work with, did I think I would end up about seven thousand kilometres away from her tantrums and receiving an award for my documentary a few months later? When I decided to humour this effeminate dude right before I left for Delhi, did I think it would write me the most ridiculous poem I've had the misfortune to read? When I finally dumped the effeminate dude in the middle of its temper tantrum about four months after I began to wonder what it was doing in my life, did I think I would meet someone who would make it impossible for me (me who has always preferred long-distance relationships) to leave a city that didn't have a beach?
I've not known when the most painful, most hilarious and most wonderful parts of my life were round the corner or about to slip into my past.
But there's always been an urge in me to leave something of me in this world before I moved on. Most people see that as the motive force to have children, but as a wise man once said, progeny are not so much the assertion of one's will to live on as the insistence of life on asserting itself. I myself was never keen on having children until about a year ago. The somethings of me I always wanted to leave behind then, are the brainchildren I dream of - the ones I keep cocooned in my head, nurse into birth and spill out on paper. I long to dress them up in thick sheets of printed paper and hard-bound covers with blurbs and praise all over them.
My fear of death has less to do with the manner in which I will die and my emotions at the moment of death than the work I will leave undone. The idea of a photograph in an obituary column in place of the tributes in edit pages and mournful news bulletins, would be the realisation of this fear of death.
In the race to do something that will make me ready to die at any moment without feeling that fear, I feel another fear creeping up on me. Do I have the confidence, at this moment, now, to go the distance? Can I create that perfect brainchild that will speak for me long after I am gone? That brainchild in whom people who know me will see me, and people who don't will imagine me?
The answer came to me last night, while I was talking about it to someone I fondly think of as Superman. Perhaps it is these moments of doubt that are the birth pangs of that brainchild. Perhaps it is only after the scum of the earth have seeped into your life that you recognise the best things in the world when they happen to you. Perhaps it is only after your confidence has been shaken that you find the energy to prove yourself. Long before Barack Obama made it a cliche, some of us knew "Yes, we can" every day of our lives. Some of us took it for granted that "Yes, we would." Some of us grew up knowing we could never be mediocre. Perhaps it is only when we feel the pull of mediocrity that we can resist with our true strength.
Isn't that what happened to Kal-El?