At 28, life seems to have just begun. Coz 16, 18, 21 have all been like any other. Like a signboard you see outside a shop, on a journey. You see them passing by, but they have nothing much to do with your trip. They’re not like milestones that tell you “you’ve reached here”. Funny because, they are meant to be milestones. Because that’s when a sense of independence crawls in. The urge to break free, the restlessness to do more, the anxiety to know what’s in store for you – everything makes you look at life from a whole new perspective. One that’s got only you in it. Life begins to run parallel to that of your family but never seem to meet anywhere. Late nights never seem too late and weekends never seem to end. Such, would have been the life of many an 18 or 21 year old. Strangely, not mine.

Looking back, I realize that life had a lot to offer. An awesome childhood with some really good friends (Many of whom are still my best buddies), an equally exciting campus life, an awesome mom and a terrific dad as parents, an affectionate elder sister, crushes, true love, all of it. But what I didn’t seem to have was the feeling to be independent. I never felt the need to stay away from home. I didn’t think I had to live life on my own terms. I never dreamt of being alone in a new city, where nobody knew me, so that I had nobody to stop me from living my life.

While most of my peers eagerly waited to fly free, the thought of staying away from home gave me sleepless nights. But if life were to be such at 21, so be it. Thinking so, I packed my bags and started for a new life. Away from home for higher studies. I was by myself. And I was miserable.

I felt suffocated in my independent life. Nothing was the same. I never went out. I did nothing that I didn’t do back home. I was on a constant guilt trip. Every time I tried my hand at something new, I’d feel a chill down my spine. To me, doing what I wished, without my parents being around, was wrong. Such a bore, I swear!

And so set back. To home sweet home. With mom and dad and nothing to worry. Life was safe and blissful. No more risks. No more lies. And life went on.

Not too far, however. As I entered the late twenties, life began to take a new turn. New ideas started taking shape. New perspectives were formed. Questions raised. Explanations demanded. An age-long siesta was coming to an end.

Today, I look back and wonder if there’s something I’ve missed. And all I do is nod my head. At a time when I had the choice to grab life by its bars, I parked it aside. Safe and sound. And today, when I wish I had the freedom to surge ahead and not look back, I know it’s too late. All that I once thought was luxury, have today become my necessity. I guess if I’d lived life differently then, I’d be happy where I am today. I wish I could look back and tell myself, wow what a ride. Sadly, I think, the ride’s just started. And will soon have to see its end.

Optimism tells me there are still miles to go. Pessimism tells me I slept through my journey.


Saritha ki Swayamvar!

If marriages are already made in heaven, then what takes God so long to deliver it?

Disclaimer: I’m not the kind who thinks marriage is a waste of time. I am career driven, but marriage does not take a back seat because of that. To me, with the right person everything can be as fine as it is. You can call it high expectations, but I call it safe optimism.

I have to confess, however, that the whole process that goes behind this sometimes gets me thinking. Right from uploading a picture online to the “they might have something to talk” line, everything. Board exams can be called off, gay weddings can get legalized, but some things simply refuse to change.

That’s not all. The minute the word spreads that you’re in the market, new norms take birth. Outlooks change. And everything boils down to one word. Society. A man-made consortium of peeping neighbours, agony aunties and long lost friends who bump into you at the mall and gesture the thaali with their hands and go, “married”?
Coz I woke up late for my wedding? D-uh!

I can write a book on the kind of questions and responses I get on this subject. It’s hilarious.

So after surfing through a million “leaning-on-somebody’s-expensive-cars”, “mama-says-I-Iook-good-in-a-tie” kind of pics, when you finally like one, you think something’s moving. But no. You thought too soon. It's now that the villain makes its entry. The horoscope.

Astrology, I think, is a kind of voyeurism. You peep into somebody’s future to see whether they’re going to be happy or sad. And then decide on whether they need to be together. Interesting job, I should say. So, forget about the rest of the world you need to convince, try and get the astrologer to say a yes. He’s the man!

If he gives you the green signal, and you’re the girl’s family, things still have a very very long way to go. Wait for the guy’s folks to see what their man thinks. Not the son, the astrologer! The funniest part, he might have a completely new opinion to share. And you go back to square one. How then, can astrology be true? Different story.

When matters move beyond photographs and horoscopes, the real action begins. The girl seeing aka pennu kannals. This ritual can be divided into 5 parts.

Families exchange smiles, enquire about the journey, behave like family already.
The girl walks in (shameless ones like me will be right there for them to see when they walk in), the family looks at her, analyses, exchange glances, nods whatever.
The boy, who’s also there with ma and pa, trying to act his calmest best, and trying harder to catch a glance of everyone in that room with rapid eye movements, finally rests his eyes for a sec on the girl.
The family, now ready to demonstrate their broad mindedness, sends the boy and the girl to talk for a while.
Decision taken.

In an attempt to escape all the formalities, you try your hand at finding Mr. Right all by yourself. What goes in is just another complicated process. Unless of course, you’ve had the stars favour you always or you’re part of a bollywood flick.
So Mr. Right, wherever you are, how about catching the next train/flight/bus/auto/bullock cart. (No scrap the last one) and making an entry? It’s about time, don’t you think?


Praying for a miracle.

Everybody has a reason to pray.
How true. And it’s funny how all of us use prayer as some kind of a wish that’s been granted to us by a genie. The minute your realize you need something badly, you just close your eyes, frown hard and then repeat your “wish” ten times and then wait for “poof!” the miracle to happen.

And it’s funnier when people want YOU to do the wishing/praying for them.

Pauly: Sari, I want you to pray for me.
Me: Sure Pauly. What’s it for?
Pauly: There’s this business I’m into.
Me: Aah ok. So you want me to pray for the business to do well?
Pauly: No.No.
Me: Then?
Pauly: Actually, am sending a consignment from Blore to China tmrw.
Me: Oh cool. So you want me to pray that the consignment reaches safe?
Pauly: Noo sari! This consignment will be sent to Dubai.
Me: Aha. So..you
Pauly: No that’s also not what I want you to pray. The consignment has around 3000 Blackberry phones. And they will be sent to the poor and underprivileged around the world.
Me: Umm…
Pauly: Yea. So I want you to pray that they buy the blackberry.
Me: You want me to pray that the underprivileged buy the blackberry, right Pauly?
Pauly: (Now smiling): Yeah!!
Me: And wow much does a Blackberry cost Pauly?
Pauly: Umm..30,000 Rupees?

Wonder if Genies exist.