Thirty And Me

Keep Calm Turning 30

At precisely 42 seconds past 5.30 PM this evening (on Aug 20, 2014) the Earth will complete it’s thirtieth revolution around the Sun with me on it. I have spent the past four hours reading about what it means to people when they exit their twenties.

Turning 30 is supposed to be a big deal, an achievement of sorts, having survived tsunamis, earthquakes, riots, murderers, diseases, ninja assassins and of course, traffic. It is also supposed to signify the fact that I’ve officially a grown up and cannot rely on my youthful ignorance as an excuse when I screw up. I am supposed to be responsible, financially and emotionally stable, be able to hold down a job for more than three months and not throw boogers at passersby. I am not supposed to scratch my balls in public and have random fits of paranoia causing me to run down the road naked, dodging invisible aliens. I am supposed to be mature enough to realize the difference between right and wrong, morals and immorality, black, white and grey, and most importantly, coffee and tea.

I am supposed to start leading a healthier lifestyle – no more smoking, no more drinking binges and definitely no more weed. I am supposed to drink lots of water and work out regularly to ensure that my first heart attack happens only three decades from now.

I am supposed to be a strong pillar of support for my parents, be able to provide a good quality of life for my wife and be a responsible role model for my younger brother. I am supposed to be mentally strong to deal with the real world and I am not supposed to get depressed with the fact that I am growing old and am one year closer to death.

When I look back on the things I’ve done during the past three decades, I am surprised at the level of ignorance, insensitivity and intolerable cruelty that I have exhibited at times. I am also surprised at some of the intelligent decisions I’ve taken, something I was not sure I was capable of.

I’ve alienated people, I’ve infuriated those who love me and I’ve driven others to murderous rage. I can think of people who would put a bullet through me right now given the chance. I can think of people who would walk past me on the street and pretend to not recognize me. I can think of people who would smile at me and stab me in the back with the metaphorical knife when I turn around. But I can also think of people who would love me unconditionally and take me in as a part of their family. I can think of hundreds of people who would still acknowledge my existence without any animosity.

In a world filled with hate and anger, where people are being slaughtered each minute, the fact that one insignificant boy in Bangalore has grown up and turned thirty should not make a difference. But when I look at the journey I’ve been through to get here, I am overwhelmed. I am moved to tears at the kind of experiences I’ve had – the good, the bad and the ugly ones.

We all have fantastic experiences in our lives every day. Each moment of joy we experience means so much to us that it’s hard to imagine hordes of such people being killed. Millions of dreams and hopes being crushed every single minute by people pursuing theirs. I ask myself if it’s all worth it. Is it worth having a really ‘happy’ birthday when there is so much grief all around us. Or maybe, these tiny sparks of happiness keep the world turning.

We are all allowed meaningless rants straight from the heart, once a year. Today is my turn. As I see the clock inch closer and closer to the hallowed hour, I am filled with a little hope about hope.

Image Courtesy: keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

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Maturity At Midnight

It’s 10:01 in the night, on August 19, 2011.

In a little less than two hours, I will hope to attain certain levels of mental and emotional maturity. In vain, as I’m sure it will turn out to be. I’m nearing the end of my twenty-sixth year as a son, a brother, a friend, a lover, an enemy, an employee, an employer, a writer, a blogger, an asshole and a jolly, fat man. It’s not something that I’m particularly happy about, turning a year older, but to quote another jolly, fat man, “When you stop running and bend down to smell the roses, the terrific rip you hear is the seam of your trousers tearing away your modesty.”

I feel like I mooned the entire world for these years.

It’s 10:12 now, and I’m staring out the window into the inky night, picturing the leaden sky, when a light turns on in my neighbor’s backyard. The housewife next door comes out with some wet clothes and starts hanging them out to dry. I quickly look away, because she’s so ugly that I’m afraid that if I stare at her long enough, I’ll die. I hear the fan whine as it goes through the motions, countless times a minute. I hear a ping and I see a reminder icon flashing on my desktop tray, warning me of the various people I need to pay off. My phone vibrates next to me and I see an official email about a meeting we were supposed to have today. I sit and stare at the blank text box and wonder what to write.

How do I express what I’m feeling right now. It’s been such a fantastic journey with ups and downs, trials and tribulations, rights and wrongs, fights and friendships, love and hate, greed and generosity, intelligence and utter stupidity. I don’t think I can make it all up even if I wanted to. If I were given an opportunity to undo just one thing in my life so far, I wouldn’t do it. I would make the same mistakes again, I would have the same experiences again and I wouldn’t regret one second of it.

I have made some fabulous friends along the way and I have made some venomous enemies too. I have loved and lost and am yet hopeful. I have lived in sheer happiness and I have been depressed beyond measure. I have written and I have tried to. I have no regrets.

It has taken me a little less than two hours to write these four hundred words. It’s midnight.

I am 27.

Image Courtesy: Isilmetriel

Growing Up!

I’m halfway through my life and questioning my existence.

With my lifestyle, I’ll be a medical miracle if I live beyond 53 or 54 years of age. And on the twentieth of this month, barely ten days away, I will enter my twenty-eighth year. Almost half my life has gone by, and I’m sitting in the dark wondering what I’ve achieved so far and what I plan to do for the second half. I seem to be stuck at the intermission for the past few months.

Growing upWhen I look back on what I’ve done in my life so far, a lot of things stand out as being above average, but nothing stands out as being phenomenal. “Been there, done that,” seems to be motto I lived my life for the past twenty-eight years. Software programming, journalism, cancer research, authoring books, public relations, entrepreneur, serial dater and party freak. Now that I look back on those years, all I see is a lot of confusion. I have a goal in life and I am yet grappling with the tools needed to achieve that goal.

I think growing up sucks.

Image Courtesy: Afkaary

Moto!!!

I got my old phone back!! Yippeeeeeee!!

Ok, I got carried away. I apologize. When I went to New York a year ago, I left my lovely sleek camera-less Moto flip phone with my younger brother for safekeeping. Of course, I should have known better. He disposed of my SIM card and got a new Airtel number and started using it. I expected this, obviously, having lived with the jerk for nineteen years. But what I didn’t expect was his resistance in giving the phone back to me! I hounded him for four weeks and finally, after a lot of blood and sweat, I got my baby back! Here’s what transpired:

Week 1: I asked him nicely. “Please give me my phone back.” He refused and ran out the room.

Week 2: I tried bribing him. “I’ll give you a hundred bucks if I can have my phone back!” He scoffed and said, “I’ll give you two hundred to drop the subject!”

Week 3: I tried stealing it. He had left it home and gone to college. I exchanged SIM cards and tried to start the phone, only to realize the jerk has activated a security code! Bah!

Week 4: I tried wrestling it from him. My neck is still weak from the choke hold he applied for ten minutes as I passed out.

Week 5: I emotionally blackmailed him. I promised to buy him a brand new drum kit if he gives the phone back to me.  He relented after bargaining for an hour – one drum kit, one carton of chocolate ice cream and a brand new Moto flip phone next month. I looked at my phone, resting in his hand, being held hostage. I never negotiate with terrorists, but my lovely phone had been through enough. I couldn’t bear to see it tortured anymore. I agreed to the jerk’s demands and said yes.

Now, I’m broke, he has a new drum kit and I have my phone back! All in all, a very satisfying deal.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, today’s his nineteenth birthday. Happy birthday, terrorist! 😀