As I look back at 22 years of my life, I realise that my life took two sharp turns to define me as a person that I am today. In my defence, this is not a prose in praise to myself. Nor am I saying I am the perfect son or most adorable friend you ever saw. I had some life-changing incidents, and a few influences; and it might help you realise, how much wider your mind grows with age.
A man sooner or later discovers that he is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life. - James Allen
Age One: Dawn of Teenage (12-15)
Naive, unassuming me. I was a child of reason, and accepted life as it is. Rarely doubting what my friends would say. The funny thing is, I never realised I was like this. However in those days, I went on, as a dreamer. And I dreamt of science and how it could change the world, things I still believe in. With a small circle of friends I was happy. People who I still swear by, even now. Jayashankar knew what went through my “alternate universe” and we talked about it, lots. Even when I was stuck home, many pointless topics were furiously discussed over the phone, God knows why. We were similar in ways more than one. We obeyed the Law of conservation of mass, conserved it for years. The world beyond us seemed lesser than us. To add spice to this world, I put up with my male chauvinist act. And there was Kalyan chettan, my cousin, my mentor. He taught me how to ride the bicycle. He made me believe, that maybe I was different, in a good way. I knew I had a long way to go. The best part - I was being myself, never tensed, never self-conscious. Who knew things were about to change soon?
Age Two: Reinventing myself (16-17)
High school was over. I was fed up with my school and somehow I was sure, it held no future. What followed was 2 years of dramatic changes. I chose to switch schools.
Following the call of Pink Floyd, I slowly started undoing the wall. An artistic eye opened in me. Public speaking, was something I had never even dreamed I would be capable of; turned out I was more than OK at it. Majority of my Plus One days in school were consumed by the Drama rehearsals for Annual School Play. For the first time in my life, I danced - a skill that I would cherish for the rest of my days.
But all the good things apart, I was drifting away. I was surrounded by an uncanny peer group. Some were down to earth, and fun to hang out with. Some made you think you were larger than life, and lied to your face. The naive me, had to change if I had to survive. Arjun, my friend, helped me realise this and since then I thought for a second, before I act or react.
Too much goodness could damage you.
For the Plus Two year I was engulfed in the usual rat race of Board examinations and Entrance Tests. I am grateful for my parents for avoiding putting pressure on me. And that’s the story how I was saved from drowning in the deep.
Age Three: Light at the end of the tunnel (18-22)
College had begun. I had to start anew. No old friends were here to cling on to the past. But just like everyone else, I couldn’t forget how wondrous school life was. I couldn’t find the same awesomeness in my new college. I was doubtful. Not that I locked up myself in a room and threw the key away. I did meet people, made a lot of friends; but I kept my distance. Why? I was afraid that drowning in the madness that was college- the mobs, small gangs, and perverted talks- could get to me and eventually, change me. And then there was Arun. He said, “You know what your problem is? You are never happy with who you are!” A few honest words are all it takes to wake up your friend. It shook me; it shook me from deep within. Maybe it was that shadow of dissatisfaction, that was driving me to seek better. But now, I was grown up, and responsible. I could command myself. I then, took the dive. Let go my mind, and lived in the moment. Sharing your life with your friends is some of the best moments you’d ever get.
So what did I learn? You might not get everything right, the way you want it. Be good to people and they would be good to you (Karma, karma!). Never lose yourself, be the master of your mind…. and stay happy!