I had a decent childhood. I was bullied by some people, I bullied some people; I did good at studies, I didn’t go through any major heart breaks; I made friends, I lost friends. Years just went by. No drama happened. But sometimes, I feel, may be, I have forgotten few things of the past – of kindergarten, of teenage, of school. But, I don’t regret my poor memory as what remains with me is a warm feeling that ‘all that ended well must have gone well too’! However, certain incidents in 2018 brought back some childhood nostalgia. If you are wondering what, here is the list: visit to an ophthalmologist, too many party invitations for 2019 in advance, the sight of a teenager enjoying fruit beer, and a bottle of Keventers milkshake at a friend’s place.
So, while sitting in an eye hospital for over 5 hours and with dilated vision, I got reminded of how my grandfather had accompanied me for my first ever visit to an ophthalmologist and how excited I was after he prescribed glasses for my barely myopic eyes. Well, for the uninitiated, I was a nerd — so, you shouldn’t be surprised at my reaction. But a decade and a half later, I saw an ophthalmologist again to see if I can get the glasses off my face. Somehow, I feel this whole journey of un-nerding (I can’t get a better word for my feelings) is crucial for my adult-ing process and with this, a part of my childhood would be gone forever.
The second item in my list leaves me nostalgic and craving for solitude AF! So, even before 2019 officially rings in, I have invitations for new year parties! As a teenager, my standard response to any such invitation I received was, “My parents won’t allow me to attend the party!” My poor parents, most of the times, didn’t even know I was invited to these parties. But you know, this response works beautifully when you are a teenager. People pity you, you are not asked too many questions, and sometimes you even get a piece of the cake from the party (saved for you) the next day. I used this excuse almost till it’s expiry date — yes, till the day I got married. I considered using “My husband won’t allow…!” excuse a few times, but then, I know, if I really use it, I will be out-casted from my circle in no time. But then the INTJ within me still prefers sitting in pajamas and watching the Bollywood award nights on television over partying with real people on the new year eve. You see, watching award nights on television allows me to sip soda, not speak a single word for rest of the night, and still (virtually) be in the company of coolest people from B-Town! But 2018 has taught me, declining invitations as an adult comes with a lot of baggage and unwanted social commentary. And the very feeling leaves me nauseous, nervous, and nostalgic AF! I want to un-adult at the very thought! Arrghhh!
The last two things: Fruit Beer and Keventers Milkshake are feelings (not things) that I will never shake off to pretend I am an adult. 2018 was the year when these two came back to me in unexpected moments. The other day, in Ahmedabad, I saw a girl sipping fruit beer as if it was the coolest stuff to do ever. Looking at her, I went back in time. And I did something that is very uncharacteristic of me. I walked up to the girl and said, “Trust me it’s better than the real one”. While she looked at me in amazement, I knew I have killed the Cool-berg versus Budweiser debate in my head forever. AND I KNOW, I am saying this at the cost of sounding super uncool.
And now coming to Keventers Milkshake: I don’t know how many of you remember the softies/milkshakes from Keventers near Janpath in Delhi. It used to be the coolest after-shopping experience for me as a teenager. While a lot has changed in life in the meanwhile, the feel of Keventers remains the same.
Exactly like how I am an officially an adult, but something inside me still remains unchanged: the feel of childhood in the absence of the memories! Ahan!