I enjoyed being a kid. If you got hurt, you could cry and then someone would show you an ice cream and you’d forget. Digging a pond in your grandparents’ garden was the achievement of the day. Scrubbing out dirt from your fingernails afterwards was a huge success. Life was about basketball, chocolates, being late for breakfast or that twist of ‘black salt’ from the guy in front of the forbidden boy’s school. Small things meant such a big deal. Like swallowing an orange pip had me freaking out for days about whether or not I had an orange tree in my stomach. Or whether I should have eaten that miniscule chatar matar off the field (“God said never to waste”) or not. We played in the flooded school ground with no worries about mud stains and spent hours in a soap fight when washing out the very same mud. The sand pit was cool coz we made funny sand cakes and plastered the wall. The slide hurt our butts and skinned our knees and we jumped in piles of freshly mown grass. Growing up was full of heart wrenching decisions – whether I should have called that cute guy, should I have worn swimming goggles, did I shade the amoeba in my bio project the right way and was my school skirt short enough. Every time I made the wrong decision (I had to open out the hem of my skirt) I felt like it was the end of my world.
Making a decision is the hardest thing sometimes. I try and think about what could happen if I chose one way, or the other way. Sometimes I find myself plunging into things, hoping for the best. And sometimes, agonizing over the tiniest thing, like which sock to put on first.
Sometimes I make decisions based on what I think is best for me, for everyone around. It hasn’t always been the right choice. I’ve ended up destroying friendships, destroying trust and the rules. And I’ve spend decades trying to right my wrongs. But I’m glad that I made some decisions, it makes me who I am. I did call that cute guy. He taught me that you could tell someone you’re not interested as nicely as possible. And still be friends. I dated the yuky boy, and it taught me mom was right. I apologized to some friends, and they were the ones who always make me laugh. Sometimes I feel like I could have done better. (And I’m not talking about grades here ma!) But it’s ok. It always will be. When I’ve fallen asleep thinking “today was the most embarrassing day of my life”, I’ve end up doing dumber stuff the very next day. Like following a boy, or watching patriotic movies and crying when the hero dies. Or laughing like an idiot at the silliest thing. I almost died laughing in Political Science class because the door kept swinging shut and the teacher would get annoyed. I also got kicked out of that very same class! And I’ve laughed about it years later. The point is, I always have some awesome person or the other with me who thinks my lame ideas were hilarious.
So here’s to all the awesome people and bizarre decisions I met and made in life. Without you, life wouldn’t be as good as it has been. I would have never seen Kashid, nor driven around lost in the city or sneaked into a private pool to swim. Thank you math teacher, I would have never passed in Maths in 10th grade, and ‘Bangla Ma’am” – thanks for the Bengali grades in 12th. I would have never climbed a hill in the monsoon, or thought the stars could look so damned pretty. Thank you all for the company when we were bunking march past practice and giggling through out like morons. And thank you for the
Krishna dance under the disconnected fan. Thanks for all the impromptu roof top parties, dancing under street lights you actually went out to smash with a rock, the climb to the water fall and the jungle clubbing experience. Thanks for eating sandwiches with me, or momos, and submarines. Thanks for putting up with my “i-must-feed-this-maniac-dog-just-now” trips and ferrying all the injured ones around for me. Thanks wriju for dancing in the rain and fighting with me and fighting with the rickshawalla who hit pupsie. Thanks ma for letting us be kids. I know the caterpillars in the garden wasn't one of the best ideas we had. and Thanks papa for painting the play mat and all the marvel comics. There have been evening walks and silly questions and red seeds and birds going to school. Random animals (and people) we've brought home, and all the times I just drove everyone around me nuts! So many crazy long drives, eating-at-the-kitchen-counter trips, eating momos or cold coffee, amazing sea food, a ridiculous sound and light show at Red Fort (AVOID at all costs!) and a psycho rendition of a modern day yagna at Akshardham.
Thank you all for a fantastic childhood, for believing in me and for showing me that it’s ok, it always will be!