Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The Big O

To put it simply, turning 30 is tough. To put it more accurately, turning 30 is very, very tough. A day before I turn 30 is a good time to reflect on it.

When you are a child, all you want to be is a grown-up. You are fed up of the way your parents and everyone else around you controls your life, and don't allow you to eat that chocolate which has been reserved for guests, or let you play till 9 in the evening. You have waited for years to become old enough to fill your notebooks with nothing else but scores from playing book cricket. People find it difficult to appreciate you enough. You are just a smart kid, rather than a person whose opinion actually matters. Your parents and relatives and everyone else have often told you that you are young, and do not know the world enough. You want to stop them and tell everyone around you, "You know I am old enough now. Stop telling me. I know what to do."

But then, you realize, you are not old enough. And that you have no idea what to do. And you are  turning 30.

30 is a big age. You remember how when you were a child, your parents had all the answers. They had just turned 30 but they looked so old, and they were responsible adults, who knew exactly how to deal with different people. They knew how to handle the maid, how to talk to the village sarpanch, how to deal with people in marriages, how to deal with deaths in family, how to talk to the sisters of the convent in my school and most importantly - how to handle you. They could navigate through this world seamlessly, without any hiccups. They were able to pass through difficult solutions and knew exactly which puja to conduct when, and what social rituals demanded from them. They knew the value of money and what it meant to earn it. They had theories of honesty, integrity, religion and they shoved it down your throat. And while you cried at every opportunity, you never saw your parents shed tears. Well you did share your mom shed tears sometimes, but somehow you knew those tears were special and had some meaning, unlike your crocodile tears which came up every time you were denied buying a bottle of Pepsi. They were in many ways- and still are - like Superman and Wonder Woman (without the ridiculous outfits ofcourse!). And they were adults. Responsible adults - 30 year old adults.

You are no Superman. And you are turning 30.

You are not even close. You suck at social transactions - you still fumble while speaking to any girl you seem to like, and while you pretend you like being an extrovert and partying, you actually suck at it. You have still not managed to call up your first cousin whose mother - your mother's sister in law - just passed away, and offer condolences, and tell him how sorry you are. You are sorry, but well it is just too difficult to talk and you do not know how to proceed with it, something that you thought came naturally to your parents. You do not know what to gift one of your best friends on his wedding, and are most likely to go there empty-handed -  like you have done before in your other friend's wedding. You have little social relationships as compared to your parents - and even your family interactions are minimal. There are so many situations you have no idea how to handle. You feel embarrassed to admit it, but you know you have somehow not aged enough. All you really know is how to drink and appreciate some good beer and solve crosswords. And maybe solve some Analytics and data problems for your clients. You spend your weekends playing FIFA and watching sports, things you wanted to do as a child. Your life rocks, but you know you are in a cocoon. And your parents, who are after you to get married, want to get you out of it.

And so far, you have always told yourself and them, "I am not yet 30. I can live with this. I am yet to become a proper adult."

But right now, today, or rather tomorrow, you are running out of the excuse.

Turning 30 is very, very tough. It does not mark you as being responsible. All it means is that your excuses for being irresponsible are over.

And you absolutely hate it. 

The other reason, of course, why turning 30 is so tough is because it makes you realize that maybe, just maybe, your parents were as clueless about you when they were 30. And that they just put up a brave face in front of you. And that they were not Superman and Wonder Woman, but rather ordinary human beings.

But like the life of Pi tell you,you go along with the better story - so Superman and Wonder Woman it is. And that they have somehow connived to produce someone who has no superpowers.

This just sucks!!