Am I old?

Life is lived in the first 20 years and the remainder is just reflection – Graham Greene

Guess what I’m 19. All this while these quotes used to awaken a sense of “this is for someone older than me. It will be long before I even need to start thinking about this.” Now it has come to “oh shit in a year or two I’ll be the person experiencing this!”
Hence the question, am I old?

What is old? If young is a time of action, then Graham Greene is calling me old. My time of doing something has passed. Now I’ll spend the rest of my existence thinking, reflecting, pondering, contemplating… This raises another dilemma, have I acted enough to have material to ponder over for the remainder of my life? What have I done in my 19 years on this planet? A few pranks, attended few family celebrations, won a few prizes, read a few books (not nearly as many as I wanted to) and watched lots of YouTube videos (half of which I don’t remember watching). I don’t think this is enough! I mean statistics say I have a solid 50 years of life left (wow that’s a blessing).

Then there is my Granddad who at eighty five probably thinks I’ve seen nothing of the world yet. To him young is inexperience. Then how much experience should I gain to be considered old? I can’t read minds but I think for my Granddad, no amount of experience I gain will be enough to convince him that I’m old enough.

If old is just a number then which number is it? Is it fifty, sixty or twenty? Who gets to decide it? If old is having physical constrains then am I old if I fracture my hand and can’t use it for a month? Are grandparents the only people eligible to be called old? Then what happens if due to some weird connections you are a grandparent at 19?

The problem here is that I am adding value to the word “old”. My literature professor always says that to have a conversation that leads to a conclusion we must stop adding value to words. I don’t know about you but to me old has bad value attributed to it and so I don’t want to be considered old.

Funny how when I was a kid all I wanted to do was grow up. Become older. Now, I don’t want to be older. I want time to stop progressing so that I get to enjoy eternal youth.

I wrote this huge, kind of stream of consciousness, type of essay only because of a quote. Wow holidays and lots of free time makes me crazy.

P. S. I went to a function toady and happen to have this pressing doubt, how do Brahmins manage to cook such tasty food without using onions!?

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Have you watched a moving parade?

Participating in a protest march or a parade is one of the most exhilarating things I’ve done. There is this weird energy when a bunch of people come together to make a “racket” for a cause or out of sheer happiness. But watching a parade pass by is an experience I’ve never had before. This Saturday, that changed.

I was walking to my destination lost in thought when I happened to notice that the usually crowded JLB road was pretty vacant. Then I saw a bunch of police men diverting the traffic to another road. I wondered if there was a politician in the city. An extravagantly decorated auto with a humongous poster told me it was Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s birthday. That guy fought for the rights of the dalits and the untouchables. He was also the head of the drafting committee of the constitution of India, the largest written constitution in the world.
I walked towards the parade to get a closer look and that’s when I noticed so many different kinds of people that I absolutely had to write about them.

The screamers, well they scream. It might be slogans or songs. They have the loudest voices and some how, no matter how long the parade is, they don’t stop. Then there are the dancers who share the energy of the screamers but multiplied by 10. How can a person possibly dance so much? The steps are pretty standard, put both your hands in the air and move your legs. Done. But it should be draining. Then the stunt masters. Here I am, unable to skip a rope ten times continuously and they pull off the most complicated and (honestly) hurtful stunts in the tarred road. And the musicians are the people who bring all these three together.

These were the people with some purpose in the parade. Now coming to the other category, the jobless people. You’ll find people who clearly don’t know what the cause is, the people (most likely a less known politician) who can’t walk another step but will not stop and take a break because prestige! There are also these people who successfully get their vehicle to the parade. These are the people whom you should befriend. I mean you can hitch a ride when you can’t walk, take a deviation from the parade a little bit to grab something to eat or drink. I mean come on you will be more energetic once you’ve eaten.

There are also these associations that most likely get active only a week before this one event and are dormant for the rest of the year. They are most likely formed by kids and their number one agenda: get matching t shirts. I saw so many groups like that. The cost of printing Dr. Ambedkar’s photo on their t shirt must have been more than their six months pocket money. But that can’t stop them.

Then there are the photographers and the photo addicts. Absolutely important places they need a photo: them in the front with the parade behind them, in front of the tabloid they didn’t help make, while dancing, casual candid…

Then there is the category of the irritated people. The police officers who don’t want to walk in the sun, the musicians who have played the same tune way too many times, the cultural and folk art performers. Honestly I think the folk art performers have it the worst. Their costumes are heavy and sweaty, they have a lot of heavy stuff to carry especially if it’s dollu kunitha or pooja kunitha, it is also very likely that they are walking bare foot.

The organizers have a weird way of functioning. They are either holding on to their wireless and communicating with hundreds of people and screaming at the parade to move or trying to find the musicians so that they can dance!

I have to give a special shout out to the wonderfully dressed and absolutely cute looking kids and their parents. These are small kids who won’t remember they did this but they look so cute in their costumes!

Well even though to many these celebrations may seem absolutely point less and unwanted (trust me the people standing along with me were not pleased that the road was closed) but I think it is these “pointless” celebrations that give us a reason to accumulate in large numbers, meet people and keep the community functioning. So weather you like it or not I think parades and rallies are here to stay and will be one of the primary ways people voice out their opinions.

Familiar 

A few months ago something started bothering me. I was living away from home so I was no longer waking up to my dad calling out my name. I didn’t have mom telling “Good morning ” when I went to the bathroom, eyes still half closed. I no longer had my comfortable chair to sit on in the balcony while sipping tea. And so many more things that made home, home. 

For a few days I missed it. I hated waking up to the sound of my alarm. My mom wasn’t around saying “Good morning” (don’t even get me started about food). And I had to wear flip flops everywhere! (Yes,  I don’t wear flip flops in my house) 

I slowly got used to it. These things became familiar. But that’s the problem! I didn’t want them to become familiar. I didn’t want to get used to this new place. In my head me getting used to this new place meant loosing touch with home. My short trips home during some weekends only increased my fear. Suddenly I was missing the flip flops, the bathroom seemed bigger, the lights seemed too bright and the water tasted funny. 

I was literally trying to make my new place of residence “unfamiliar” like that was even possible.  

This time during semester break I realised how stupid I was being and how my ‘fears’ were baseless. Just because my hostel has become familiar my home doesn’t get erased from my memory. I’ll just have another place in another city I feel comfortable and maybe sometimes happy in. 

Hair

I went to church today. The priest was giving a sermon and I (as usual)  was trying my best  not to fall asleep. The priest parts his hair in the centre (my brother used to do it at one point of time. Now when we look back at those pictures we realise how much our style sense has improved). Today the hair at the back of his head decided to stand up in such a way that it looked as though he was wearing a black bow on his head!  This was enough to keep me awake for the rest of the mass.  

I kept thinking about hair. My hair to be specific. This thing that grows out of the holes in my scalp has a mind of its own. When I was young I had straight hair. As I grew they became wavy. Now, for no reason, they are curly. Well most of the time. Some days they are curly on others they are wavy. The most irritating days are when half of them are curly and the rest decide to become wavy. I mean all I want is for them to choose a texture and stick with it. Am I asking too much?  

Jimmy 

Jimmy is a parakeet. He lives with my Uncle and Aunt in Mumbai. He is more or less a watchdog. Whenever my Uncle, Aunt or cousins come near his cage, which is near the door he talks. He is capable of very little speech. He says “meetu meetu meetu…” and whistles a tune. If a unknown person stands near the gate for a long time he screeches. If you put your fingers anywhere near his cage, you can be sure that he will bite a piece off it! 

Ever since I first saw him, I’ve wanted to be his friend. I want him to stand on my shoulder like he stands on my Uncle’s. According to me if he talks to me or announces my arrival in his special way, he has accepted my friendship. Every time I come to Mumbai I stand in front of his cage and call out his name, talk to him but he gives me no response other than his puzzled or sometimes angry looks. This time I used my newly acquired skill, I whistled. I would stand in front of his cage and whistle all sorts of tunes. He still did not give me a response. 

Today I went to his cage and took a photo of him and showed it. To my surprise he whistled! So I opened the front camera and showed it to him. Seeing his own face he started moving around in his home and talking. Just when I thought I might have succeeded he started pulling at things in his cage and he got very agitated. I got hatred in response to my love 😢

The story doesn’t end here. At night he was screeching a bit so I went near his cage. To my surprise he spoke to me! He whistled!  He said “meetu meetu meetu…” several times! I might have started a conversation if not a friendship. To check our bonds I put my fingers near his cage and he still tried to bite it off. But I’m sure we’ll be friends one day. If only he would remember me and our little ‘talk’ until my next visit. 

My current feeling about rain 

If you ask the younger Delisia, rainy season might have been her favourite season. Especially after I was allowed to ride my cycle to school. I would get soaking wet every other day and tell mom that the rain started after I left school so I could not avoid it. I seriously loved rain. All this was when the other problems of rain didn’t concern me. Now that I live in a hostel with no washing machine to wash my socking wet cloths, rain is one of my worst enemies. 

I used to hope and pray the whole day for the rain to pour heavily when school would end. I wouod take my cycle and choose the longest route home. Now I want the rain to (not pour at all if possible) pour when I am not outside.

The worst is when there is bright sun the whole day and all my washed cloths are out bathing in the sun and then out of nowhere it starts raining. I think the rain is just jealous of my washed cloths because it rains heavily for 5 minutes, completely soaks my cloths and leaves. No sign of rain anymore. Clear sky for the rest of the evening!  

You can be sure that all my white pants haven’t been worn for two months because I don’t want to deal with scrubbing them to get the stains off. I would also want to take this opportunity to curse all the buses, cars and autos who go through a puddle without slowing down. May one red T shirt make its way into your laundry when you are washing your whites 😀 

Resourceful? 

Have you ever been described as resourceful? Well at the risk of sounding boastful I must admit that I am quite resourceful.  This one time there was something stuck in my nail and I couldn’t get it out so I used a compass to get it out.  

Now I don’t want to talk about myself.  Rather I want to talk about this lady I met in the bus while travelling to Mumbai.  She looked pretty normal at first. As soon as the bus started moving she pulled out a plastic cover and put it over her head like one would put while trying to escape the rain. I tried so hard not to laugh! I thought why is she using this improvised version of an umbrella inside the bus?  She removed a monkey cap next and put it on. Oh so the improvised umbrella is to protect her already scarce hair. Then she got up from her seat,  went to the adjacent row which had two empty seats, put the arm rest which divides the two seats up and slept horizontaly. I shamelessly stared at her as she was doing all this and returned to the book I was reading and made a mental note to write about her. She taught me a very important lesson, the main attribute one must have to be resourceful is to also be shameless.