Saturday, 16 April 2016

A letter to 27-year old self: Keep the madness alive

It’s a strange time this. I am 27. I celebrated my birthday a week ago. 8 days ago to be precise.The exuberance of youth, the madness, the fizz is slowly settling down. A method is taking shape. I calculate costs now. Nothing comes without money. Everything has a cost. I understand it more clearly now. I am 27, and i have total savings of four thousand rupees, perhaps five. That will not make my father very happy. I have only recently joined a stable job, one where i do what i like.  I like what i do, finally. I need the dough though, duh! When the money takes care of fringes, i can take care of the work. I tell that to myself now and then. It convinces me of stability. It tells me, whispers in my ear, that i am ok. And i shall get through the worst. I seldom go to the clubs now. They are loud. I hate noisy places. I do not have many friends so to say. The school friends, well they are there. To wish, on holidays, New Year’s and birthdays. Sometimes, even that does not happen. But i do not regret it. There are no best friends i have and i like it this way. I am sometimes sad that  i do not have many friends, but then, its a discomfort i chose. I wanted to be away from the idiots. I wanted to be away from men who do not understand women. I wanted to keep my women safe, the women i like. I like my women too. The likeliness is not equivocal. But i have accepted my physical form now. That i am a little bulky. That i am not the smartest of the lot. But hey, i know my words. I like my work. That convinces me to march on.


I like my Whisky now, with just an ice cube,  perhaps two. The beer pint stares, trying to remind me of the old friendship. But that is past. I have moved on. I like my whisky now. It’s a strange time this. Some of my friends have got married. Some will, in an year or two at max. Others are getting engaged. The seniors you looked up to are getting divorced. Its been 10 years since they got married. Only 10 years you say? Oh hail the Indian arranged marriage system, someone else says. Its fades into oblivion. The madness. Its blurred now. There is a method.

Everytime i log onto to this indispensable devil called social media, i find out someone i knew got married, or engaged. One day i too will, perhaps. The times are such. These were the people who held ideals aloft, like flames, ready to create the next big revolution, stage the next big upset humanity will ever see. They talked on feminism at length, over countless bottles of beer. I was with them then. They ranted on, for hours on end,  on how their idea was the next big thing. I was silent then, listening intently, not because i necessarily wanted to. But because i had no ideas of my own. And yet, i believed i was different. I believed it then. I believe it now, more so, after they got married. Some of my friends, the ones from school, grew up way too fast. Circumstances made them. One guy lost his mother. He was young. So was she. She had an accident. It was rare those days. The rarity killed her. Another friend lost her father. He committed suicide. He was not young. Not old either. They moved to another town after that. And i never saw her again. No one did. Some say my friend got married as soon as she graduated.  She was a smart kid though. She would have done well, had marriage not consumed her. Or circumstance. Perhaps time. Yes. Time consumed them. It consumes all. All pain and happiness, gory and glory, money and matter, it consumes all. Ideas stand the test of time. Ideals do not. They change, alter their course to suit the beholder. At 27, most of the ideals change anyway.

There is a complete overhaul. Sometimes once, sometimes twice. I no longer write whatever comes to my mind. I no longer rant, sewing my words to harm someone’s business. I am mature, or so i think. I have two or four years left to go, before i am made to sit before a girl, and talk to her, like her, marry her, love her, fight her, love her more. I am not supposed to divorce her though. That is not what the society wants. Oh, did i tell you about that professor, we thought was perfect? Turns out, he is not the ideal man afterall. He has his flaws. Or maybe they are not flaws at all. Who am i to judge? I do not do that now. People can wear whatever they want to. That is their choice. I will too. That is my choice. Stilettos, palazzo, skirt or a shirt. Bell-bottoms.

Some friends did not change. They still make those jokes, on men and women, on husbands and wives. Perhaps they do not view social media as an agent of change. And why should everything be so serious, they ask. I view it as a place to be reflective of yourself. Perhaps i am too self-conscious. I do not want people to be judging me. And hence, each word i write, i calculate. Am i embarrassed of the past me? I think so. I am proud too. That i changed myself. That i grew. From a small town boy to the big city lad. I can move about in the city now, earn a living. I can talk to the girls, and the guys. I can berate them if i want to. I sometimes want to, but i don’t. I would like to be calmer now, unmoved by failures, unnerved by brashness of the city.

I do not judge them now. I do not have the time to. I am busy, not with my ideals, not upholding my principles. But with the work, the next story  will work on, the next book i want to read. Oh yes! I read a lot these days. I like it. It helps me escape for a little while, amidst all those people, the crowded metro. I steal a glance at that cute girl, standing next to the door. She looks at me once, and then turns away. Perhaps fed up with the routine that she is used to. I do not mean any harm. I can not explain that. She will not understand that. It is a big city. Close to 25 million people live here in this city. Why should she trust me. She should not. Its not all hunky dory. She will forget about me anyway. And so will I. That is just how this city operates. I would like to believe i am sapiosexual. And that i am intelligent. But no one ever got turned on by me, by my words or my voice. That is my dilemma. I am a good guy. Or so they say. Maybe they mean a plain jane. I am good nonetheless. I am humble, for my roots are.

They maintain i write well. That i am good with words. She says that too. Perhaps they are right. But i still want to read more. I want to read because i lost so much ground to these kids from the cities. Sometimes due to the place. At others, due to myself. But like everyone knows, that is past. I do not want to complain now. No grudges. I want to read better books now. I read the average ones too. I watch movies, better movies. I do not have a favorite actor anymore. I have a list of people, actors and directors whose work i like. I learn from them, every now and then. I learn. I reread quite often. Not because i forget. No. But because i want to keep those memories, those characters alive. They are a big family now. The characters, all in my mind. Sometimes their intermingle, meet each others across lines and borders. They build a story for themselves, and wait for me to tell it to others.  They are friends, like i am, in my physical form, with 35 year olds. Or even 40. People who have similar ideas and ideals, who understand me. I like to believe that they do, that they do not despise me. I do not think my mother would approve of that, of me being friends with a 35 year old woman. Of me calling her by her name. Of the 40 year old young editor, who i recently met. He has seen a lot more of this world, and tells good stories. He also has a good collection of books, and whisky. They seek approval, like i do. I tell myself i am an artist. And that i do not need people to praise me. I lie. Everyone knows that a good audience brings out the best in the performer. How do i gather a crowd? Do i, like they say, sell myself? Do i praise the work i have done, the hard work i have put in? I think i can not. But i want people to say, to praise my work. Its a little diabolical to be honest.

My mother would term him bad company. She would not approve of him. She would not approve of many things i do. Of smoking, drinking heavily once in a fortnight. I do them anyway. But she is mother. She would understand. First she would disapprove, and then understand. Just let me be. My father would be silent, during all this. Most fathers are. Most Indian fathers are. They do not express. And that is how we are, the young new generations. But we are not so silent, not so inexpressive afterall. We are a mixed bunch.

I think my father, and his father would have similar thoughts. They would be confused too. Even if it was for just a day, they would be normal too. And not just fathers, not the superhero we have always known. Our children will be confused too, able to shake-off the notion that there are somethings their father can not do. That their mother can also fall ill from all the hard work. They too will, perhaps, write a letter to their 27 year old self, or wonder about marrying when they are 30, or perhaps 35. My father got married when he was 25. He would have thought too, at 23 maybe, when he got his  job.

At 27, here i sit thinking whether i want to get married or not. What do i want to be when i near 40 years of age? When do i retire? How do i plan my savings? Do i need savings? What ideology, what political stance should i have? I have none. I am just a simple guy. Is it too late already? Has the party started without me again? Will i ever be a name, or end up as just another statistic? There are many questions i want answers to, for myself. I do not know whom to ask. There is a method to my madness now. I think i should not lose it. No, i should not.

I should set my madness to words, like i have done here. Like i will always do…

1 comment:

  1. At your age you should be able to figure out what you really want in life. Set goals in your life that you want to achieve in the coming years, whether its about your career, you family or your love life. Maybe you can be a essay writer online to earn extra income to sustain your needs. Whatever you decide on, don't forget to pray for guidance and blessings.

    ReplyDelete