When I was 10-years old, I didn’t think of how my life should be/could be after I am 25-years old. My 10-year old self concluded the planning of my life as a happily ever after at 25 with an assumption that at 25, I am financially independent and can shop for all candies, books, clothes I like. Fortunately or unfortunately, I was financially independent at a tender age of 21. So, with 4-bonus years at my hands, I explored life to the craziest extent possible (oh my crazy is far more subtle than your crazy). So, yes, I shopped – Shopped for things I needed, things I wanted, things I thought I wanted, and things I thought I might need in future. I was a 21-year old who had no financial responsibilities back home but, as the much-awaited first child of two working Indian parents, certainly had the luxury of receiving pocket money from home even at the age of 21.
My bonus years
So, yes, from the age of 21-25, all I was doing was working during weekdays, roaming around with friends over the weekend, and again, going out to the random-est places to wine and dine with friends and friends of friends. My job involved travelling all over the country to coordinate for press conferences and corporate events – so work took me almost everywhere from tier-2 towns like Benaras and Bhopal to tier-1 cities such as Hyderabad and Kolkata. For places such as Kasauni, Mussorie, Jammu, and Goa that work didn’t cover – I had the craziest bunch of friends who made plans to travel whenever work permitted. Friends who came from far more liberal families than mine also told me alcohol was not a bad thing if taken occasionally, exposure to people of different sexual orientation made me feel passionately for LGBT rights, and the proximity with the JNU campus made me ‘tolerant’ to conflicting opinions and political views. I learned to read, to listen, to debate. I learned that as long as someone had an opinion, which was based on not hearsay, it was worth being heard once.
These were the years that shaped my personality. These were the years that brought me closer to my own views about my life. By 24, when I decided to leave Delhi and move to Bangalore for a job that involved almost no travel, I was sure of what I wanted in my life. I had taken to writing seriously (the glitz and glam of PR, I had realized was not my thing). I was a hard worker – not necessarily a smart worker, always. Most people were not my cup of tea. Though I learned the art of being indifferent to people who didn’t matter much later! I loved my own space. Home, for me, was a sacred place. I preferred fine dining over discotheques for a date. I learned, I being nice to someone will not necessarily result in a fair reciprocation. I learned that I, even after acting as the flag bearer of morality, will act selfish when it came to love. In short, the bonus years of my life, 21-25, taught me a lot about myself.
30 and stubborn
Now, inching closer to 30, I have become a little rigid about how I look at my life. So, if I don’t like you I am not going to hangout with you whether you express disappointment, anger, or hatred. My mobile phone is not my best friend, neither are random calls. So, if there is no business talking to you over phone, most likely I am not calling you or taking your calls. WhatsApp/SMSes give me the time to react to ‘how are you?’ messages so I prefer these over over-enthusiastic, random greetings on calls. If you have added me on a WhatsApp group without my approval, be rest assured that the group is on mute for the longest possible duration. Flattery is not my best trait. In fact, I really lack this skill. My praises would either be genuine or there would be no praises from me. I am not complimenting you on your attire so that you compliment me back. Sorry, my grey t-shirt and black track pants are more about my comfort that your approval. Husband-talk is not my thing. Bitching, unless you are my soul sister, is not my thing. Shop-talk is reserved for my mom. Career-talk, family-talk is reserved for my brother. For everything else, I have a husband, a best friend, and my two, awesome dogs. I nurture a few handful relationships because I genuinely believe in quality over quantity.
Being socially nice
Now, adult-ing taught me one more good thing – to camouflage the fact that I judge you top to bottom the moment you utter an ultra-sexist comment. The fact that being socially nice comes to me with great difficulty makes it far more easier for me to drop my hesitance, the moment you hint inching towards meanness from sarcasm. Confrontation is not my favorite pass time, but if you really want a showdown, come loaded with logic. Unless you infringe in my personal space or try to disturb my sanity, I genuinely try hard to be socially nice irrespective of the opinion I have of you.
I genuinely don’t understand why people care so much about fair-weather friendships? For me, reciprocation of socially accepted behavior is just about existing in harmony. At 30, I am not self-sustained, but of course, I refrain from relationships that serve no other purpose that ganging up against a common enemy or forming a mutual admiration club. May be because my necessity for external approval is less, I am more at peace with adult-ing than many others.
At 40, I will revisit this blog to see whether I am successfully on my way to become a khadoos middle aged woman or not. Like I said, I am living my life after 25 without a plan and it has been pretty gratifying so far.