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Nostalgia

The Year That Was

Today is the last day when I can proudly call myself a 22-year old. It feels oddly strange. I don’t remember loving any other number of my age ever so much, as I did 22. This year gave me a lot, as well as took a lot away. It has been a year of turnarounds, major decisions, growing up, looking out for oneself and much much more. And somehow, I have made peace with the fact that I’m growing up. I do not feel weird about adding +1 to the much coveted 22. Or, so I think. Also, being surrounded by a league of older (even if only slightly!) people has done me a whole deal of good. I don’t get scared of the fact that the years are catching up on me fast. Not anymore. And it is strangely liberating.

Anyway, before I digress any further, I must jot down all the things good and bad, that happened to me in the year that was.

  • Judgement fail. Only a few days into my 22nd, and life gave me a bog shock in the form of a broken friendship. A trusted bond of no less than two years was broken. Okay, that sounded melodramatic. But then, so it was. And I would be lying if I say it hurt me bad. For, it did not. I was happy to let go of the person, because I was friends with my perception of the person, rather than with the person himself. But yeah, I would have liked it to end on a sweeter note. It left a lingering aftertaste too bitter for my liking. Oh well, someday, I shall fix this too.
  • My first job. Yes. January brought with it a whole set of anxieties, for I was clueless about the surprise that the placement season had in store for me. Out of nowhere, the opportunity knocked, and a hurried phone call to dad was all that I needed to convince myself to take it up. Challenging, too real, and a store-house of learning opportunities – it promised to be all this and more, and I have to say this, it proved right to the T.
  • From a student to a working professional. The transition was a shock. And not a mild one. Real world, as they call it, is way too cruel. But finding your way around it can be fun. It’s a roller-coaster ride. And what’s the fun if life doesn’t give you some hard blows and challenges you to fight back? If at all I have a regret, it would be not learning to be diplomatic. Being brutally honest and blunt is a way of life, and I love it thoroughly, but just sometimes, they are moments when I feel it would be awesome to know when to shut up. And what not to say. And weigh my words. And to think twice before speaking. And other such clichés. Also, another interesting and hard-hitting reality struck me in my face. It wasn’t any two-month internship that I was undergoing. Life had been changed forever, and there’s no going back now. Work/job/career feature in my real life now, not just in those dreamy future plans.
  • Living on my own. This was the most courageous and life-altering decision ever taken by yours truly. The girl who had stepped out of the comforts of her home just to be cocooned by a protected microcosmic existence in a haven known as MICA, was suddenly looking at living all by herself as a lifestyle option now. The choice was tough. Yet, alluring. And the sense of adventure beckoned out too loudly to be ignored. The romance flew out of the window in the very first week. House-wifely tasks replaced books to read and movies to watch on my to-do lists. But what an experience it has been. To be the master of your own house. To clean up your own mess, without anyone telling you to do so. Experimental cooking. Being responsible. Being irresponsible and knowing it. Making wrong decisions. Learning from them. Learning to not regret the decisions. Paying the bills. Budgeting. Or, a lack of it. Making a mess of your finances. Checking them doors before sleeping. Grocery-shopping. And what not. My friends joke that in the home that I have built, all I need to bring is a husband, and it will be complete. Go figure.
  • Impulsive decisions, random getaways, and bold moves. I had freedom, and I learnt to took the reins of life in my own hands. Did not make the best or the most correct decisions, but hey, who’s complaining. I had fun. And that’s what matters, right?
  • Random realisations and reaffirmation in my belief-system. I learnt to respect myself all the more, for what I am and what I stand for. I learnt to love myself for the things I believe in. I learnt to be stubborn enough to not be let down by a random jerk. I learnt to accept the fact that believing in your beliefs takes courage. All the more so, when the other people around you do not subscribe to your point of view. But then, ‘to agree to disagree’ is your best friend.
  • Folks and family. Made peace with the fact that you cannot always please thy family. And it’s a wasted effort. No, I do not mean it in a selfish way. However much you try to be on the same plane with the folks, you just cannot. I learnt to accept the fact that some things will never change. And it is better to leave them as they are. As long as it is not a fatal move, it will not kill anyone, right? Communication carries within it a huge degree of mis-communication. So, you cannot trust that bit too. It’s only a matter of coming to terms with the fact that at the end of the day, YOU are an individual. And I have come to terms with it. At least for now.
  • Sorted my life out. In chunks. Majorly. Even if only in my head. Now I know what I want to do, how do I want to live, and what all I want to accomplish in this lifetime. How to go about it is also sorted to a very large extent. It’s doable, achievable and very realistic. No longer I’m afraid of the what ifs, buts, and if nots of life. I have a back-up plan ready. Yes, saying that out loud made me feel cool. There is no back-up plan. But I know how to deal with situations now. And I’m confident of my actions.

Yeah, I guess that’s all about it. Or, all that I remember. It’s been an utterly fulfilling year. And I’m a happy 22-year old today. Even if just for today.

Goodbye 22. Welcome 23.

Finding the Lost One

This train journey was never expected, let alone welcome. The busy working professional that I have become, travelling by train equals loss of precious time now. Clubbing a weekend plus a chhutti and managing a casual leave makes for a good recipe for a quick trip home. Flying to and fro makes sense. Not so much to my ever-deteriorating bank-balance, but definitely to my rational mind. And the heart longing for family and home also readily approves.

So, today too, I was to take a flight back. But perhaps Gods had a different plan in mind. As luck would have it, I reached precisely five minutes after the check-in counters were closed and the true professionals that the IndiGo staff are, I wasn’t allowed to board. Cursing the airline, swearing never to fly IndiGo ever again, I called dad, asking him to come back and pick me up. Not wanting to burn another hole in my pockets, I decided to take a train this time. Luckily, got a ticket, and got it confirmed too.

Boarded. Overwhelming nostalgia took over. I could see liveliness all over. A college kid going back to the campus. A newly married couple flirting so enchantingly. An uncle chatting away incessantly on phone. A bhaiyya listening to ‘pyar humein kis mod pe le aaya’ on loop. An elderly couple debating animatedly on Ahmedabad vs. Delhi.  And a me, finding myself again. I had not planned for this travel, so wasn’t carrying the usual paraphernalia for whiling away time. Just had a small book and a notebook for company. The book was read in the very first hour itself, and all I was left with were my thoughts and the notepad.

So much time, and nothing to do. Gave me a lot of fodder for introspection and retrospection. The usual distractions which do not let the quizzing me get the better of the answering me were absent, and I was left at the mercy of my questioning self.

I would not say I did not like it, but it left me uncomfortable for sure. I keep running away from a certain part of me, which this jorney forced me to undo.

In an 15-hour encounter, I found myself again. Well, nearly.

Sometimes…

 

**This post was written about two years ago. Found it stashed somewhere, and this stands true for what I feel today. Hence, posting it.**

It’s just a realisation that keeps reinforcing itself time and again. I just felt the need to pen it down to make the effect less harmful. Everytime I think of it, it gives me jitters. The thoughts of being selfish, self-righteous and indulgent make my life hell, and i start rotting. But is it really so? Can a person not live her life for herself? Is it necessary, or say, required of one to be caught up in all things social without being alone? Ok, agreed that I love living life on my own terms. So? Is it bad? And even if it is, who is to decide that? I just sometimes wish that there were some authorities sitting right up there who could tell us lesser mortals what is right and what is wrong. I am not saying that I would love that dictatorship, but it will be anyday better than this subjectivity that we abuse so much. 

Come to think of it, just because there is no one to judge what is right or wrong, we keep on doing what we want to, or we see others’ action as such. But, where to draw a line? Now, it is a random thought, but I need to find answers to my questions. For me to decide the appropriateness of what I am doing, it is a difficult task. And I am highly incapable of doing that. Now, one may ask that why on earth would I want my actions to be evaluated. The answer is not so simple, but still I will attempt to find one. 

It is because I am all alone, and tomorrow, I might have to be answerable to a higher one.
It is because I need strength to do that thing when I do it.
It is because I am insecure and need acceptance for my actions.
It is because the things I am talking about affect my life, and I need to be sure that all this is correct.
It is because I am fighting against something, and I have nothing to back upon.
It is because…

OK, thats enough I guess, but the bottomline still remains that who will decide for me. I think this post is not so much an appeal to find an answer, but to rant and rave. I feel so light now. There are things that are keeping me depressed, and there are things that I can’t even begin to talk about, but these are the things that give direction and meaning to my life. This is a tought ime and I have to fight it all. But, again, I need reassurance, and I need support…

The Innocent Romance

It was drizzling. Wanting to hurry up and be home at the earliest, I hired an auto and jumped in. The roads were full of muck. My feet got some of it too. Gosh, I left the clothes hanging outside. They would have been soaked again. I need to pick up milk. I will make onion paratha today. Do I have to buy tomatoes? Oh, the Cornflakes jar has to be refilled. It’s been long since I spoke to dad. Tomorrow I might have to work till late, yet again. That call needs to be made to the agency. Bhaiyya, yahan rokiyega. Do minute mein aati hoon. I picked up milk from the corner-shop. Sitting in the auto again, before I could drift to my mind’s wanderings, I noticed some movement along the trees on the road-side. I heard a duet of nervous giggle, as I saw one teenage couple emerging out. The boy held the girl’s hand firmly and they hurried past. It was quite late. Probably the girl had to be home, only to answer the waiting parents.

It warmed my heart. That vulnerable age, the innocence, the excitement, the hush-hush secret, the grown-up feeling, all came rushing back to me. My mind was wandering again, but now, in a different direction altogether.

Rules of the game

Breaking rules is cool. But not always. Today morning, while coming to office, I saw a perfectly dressed (read: Proper formals, with tie, black sexy shoes) man on a bike. It was something very attractive to see him wearing a helmet, follow road and traffic rules, and be a gentleman. He waited for the traffic to pass while taking a turn, when others just barged their way out in the mad rush. I could not help but think, who do we fool when we break those rules. It is but self-safety. Being responsible was never better defined. How can one claim to change the world when we are not ready to take the first step. And true responsible behaviour is not following the rules when authority is watching over, it is when you behave responsibly even with nobody to oversee you. Reminds me of what PAT said on the very first day of MICA. He said, we treat you like responsible people here. There are no rules, and it is your freedom to choose how much freedom you want. You know, that’s where it is difficult. Choice is definitely not the best of things. If you are told, do this and do that, life becomes easy. You follow it, and if you are unhappy about it, you can just blame it on the one who asked you to do that stuff. But if you ‘choose’ to do something, and still you are unhappy, boss, that’s miserable situation to be in. Takes me to another of my theories. It’s a running joke among my friend circle. See, I am single, and at times, that puts a lot of pressure on you. Now, I cannot have a relationship just for the heck of it. I strongly believe that if it has to happen, it will happen. And it’s not in my hands. But just for the sake of argument and putting those relationship talks on hold, I always resort to my theory. I tell them that I shall let the parents take the trouble of finding someone worth it. First, it is not an easy thing to find a suitable guy. Second, I have no time to actively ‘scout’ for one. And third, if something goes wrong, it’s you who shall be responsible. Let parents do the job. First, they won’t get you hitched to a donkey. They shall do a proper research and all that. Second, you always have an option to say no. Third, if things don’t work out, you can blame it on their choice. Of course, things are not as simple as they sound, but what’s the harm in saying so. Especially when it helps rest the case.

So yeah, I digressed, and how, but the point is, it’s difficult to exercise the right to freedom, and as they they, with freedom, comes responsibility. Just the sight of that responsible man today warmed my heart. I was content with the realisation that not everybody is rushing to break those rules. There is still some hope!

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