Friday, April 30, 2010

18 when he died

It all started when i bumped into a childhood friend of mine after 7 years. I said 'Hi! Whats up?'. She said ' Dude, know what? I'm getting married!'.

Yes. Marriage. Something which is associated with grown-ups. Something which people do when they're done experimenting with their lives and want to settle down. An agreement which requires the masculine party to have a 7 digit salary, two professional degrees and a house to be able to get a good deal. Something which a guy seriously starts to think about when he sees his hair-line receding. A sweet deal which can ease the EMI payments on the housing loan procured earlier using two and not one salary (this one came from a married man in his 30s.) And now, people who are my age are doing it!

I tried convincing myself that the system works differently for men and women. Women in our society are married off early when compared to men. So i figured i have a good 8 years before i get tired of living and take the leap. I convinced myself that i was still young. But fate conspired. My parents found a girl for my brother.It feels like only yesterday that my brother kicked me on my balls and locked me up in the terrace under the scorching sun over an under-arm cricket match . Now, he's getting married. Even though it's great news that my maa's wish of having a daughter is finally going to get fulfilled, it turns out i am actually growing old.

I looked at my class XII group photograph and i saw an innocent kid in myself, so caught up in his dreams that he hardly paid attention to the people around him.(I found someone in the picture whose name i couldn't recollect for a bit!) I saw a kid who was filled with optimism that one day after he is long gone, children will study about him in their text books. I saw a testosterone-driven teenager who wanted to make-out with Sharon Stone. I saw a cricket fanatic who idolized Harsha Bhogle and wanted to become a Cricket Commentator. I saw a child who'd tell his mother everything he did. I saw a dreamer who wanted to eradicate poverty, adopt children and stop old people from begging on streets. A kid who dreamed to change the world. And then he grew.

He realized that the world can sometimes be a rough place. Sharon stone is 50 and she looks different from Basic Instinct. The text books kids read today have stuff about Sania Mirza. He no longer wants to be on text books. He doesn't know if he can tell his maa everything. He no longer feels the lump in his throat when he sees old people on the street. He has understood the dynamics of the society and has no hope for a positive change.He also notices other people in the XII std. group photo and quietly smiles to himself.

Where did the innocent dreamer run off to and where did the Seeker step in? Why can't i watch Test matches and read Cricket columns with the same vigor as he used to? Why can't i still think about changing the world for the better? Why can't i lie down in my bed and watch sitcoms the whole day? Why can't my brother come back from college and yell at me for lying down on his side of the bed all over again? Where did all the innocence go? Why can't i be like him?