To write or not to write.
But today, I shall.
Over the last couple of months, I’ve refrained from writing because I was afraid.
Afraid to reveal my emotions. But my emotions cannot be kept captive. Not by me at least. And if not me, who can anyway? So here you are, about to read what rattled my cage one fine evening.
There was one thing I was sure of all along – that I’d never succumb to the word ‘quit’. But I did, and then I invited that word into my vocabulary.
The incident: It was sometime last November, a very senior colleague said the same words I was used to hearing for the last 10 years or so – everyone always implying I behaved 10 years older than my actual age. But this time, it didn’t make me feel better, it stung me deep instead. Because this is what he said.
You’re a very bright kid, but there’s one problem. You’re 24, and you behave like you’re 34.
I wasn’t sure what he meant by that. Not a bit. And when I narrated the same to a few friends, they did tell me that I should take it positively. Mind you, this was not the first time I was hearing a comment related to my age. But it was the first time someone pointed it out as a problem and and not as a leverage I have over my counterparts.
But sir, here’s the thing. And I’m going to keep this crisp.
I was a 10-year-old when my father passed away. And on my next birthday, I turned 21.
Twenty-one. Not eleven.
And if I turned 10 years older, my mother turned 20.
So yes, while you did get the math correct, you miscalculated 10 years of my life.
You didn’t calculate how cartoons and fairytales had to be skipped in order to allow reality to show up at our doorstep in one of the strangest manners I’ve known. You miscalculated how my sister and I had to be parents to our brothers while our mother ensured a full basket of bread on the table.
A grey hair showed itself through my sister’s braided hair. We knew what it was, but put it off by teasing her that she was going to turn wiser.
Through these years, sir, I learnt how to be responsible – for all the turns I take, for all the choices I make. And if this offended you, I’m sorry.
Now, I’m 25. And I’m not worried about what you think. Simply because it doesn’t matter anymore.