I loved going to school but I did not like to wake up early in the morning and the fact that for most part of my schooling, I would leave for school an hour earlier than majority of the students to learn classical dancing or some other extracurricular activity, adds to the contradiction here. But I would sleep after watching these weekly television shows like Son Pari, Karishma ka Karishma etc. with my younger brother, followed by all the popular K-serials with my grandmother (yes, you can go all judgmental here but, in my defense, I learned everything I did not want to be every time I watched a dutiful bahu normalizing sleeping in silk sarees and jewelry). So, waking up early used to be hard and mama would lead me to the washroom because I would refuse to open my eyes. Before falling asleep in the washroom, I would tell myself that I would become this renowned surgeon or everyone’s favorite news anchor or one of the most sought-after authors of my time and I would be important and in demand enough to decide what my office timings would be. Well, what did the 10 years old little dreamy girl that I was, knew of how things indeed worked?
I could not wait to be 25, settled and successful, ‘settled’ being the most important word in this sentence (and this blog). And you cannot really blame me because this is what you are fed with- ‘bas kuch saal padh lo aur fir life set’, this is what they would show in all the movies- regardless of how the story would start, the lead actor would always end up all successful and ‘settled’. So, as this over-ambitious (I also wanted to be the President of our country at some point in my life) dreamy girl, I thought I would have a house of my own (mine- not papa’s, not my husband’s papa’s), an awe-inspiring list of achievements to my credit, a voice that would motivate and an NGO kind of a thing that would be filled with giggles, hope and all things beautiful- by 25!
I will be turning 26 next month (I can’t put in words how uneasy this number makes my insides) and I do my research on all these ‘affordable’ real estate projects in Tricity, only to conclude that I can’t afford to have a home of my own for another decade or so (practically speaking; my heart feels differently).
With this ongoing pandemic, I cannot take a bag full of clothes at home to get washed, ironed and folded every month, so I spend a significant part of my Sundays begging the clouds to not come anywhere near my washed and wet clothes and I get excited over spreading a new bed sheet on my bed and I arrange and rearrange the containers in my kitchen to have a sorted week ahead-so, no home with my name on the nameplate, no black sedan, no NGO, no one is telling my parents how motivational their daughter is, instead, everyone is asking them- Beti ki shaadi kab karni hai?
I blame it on all these filmmakers who don’t emphasize on how expensive a house really is, how long it takes to become the person of your dreams, how quickly you age after college, how more than half of your friends get married or engaged by the time you are 25, exerting an overwhelming mental pressure on your parents because you are not ‘settled’ as per the societal norms, how everyone has their own journey, their own definition of ‘settlement’ and HOW IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO BE SETTLED BY 25!
We need to normalize being 25 and lost, unsettled, unmarried and still exploring and wandering.
My life today, does not mirror the imaginations of my younger self but honestly, I am content with how things are (well, on most days), because I have not lost faith in my definition of ‘settlement’; I have just pushed the deadline. I have understood that life is not about constantly running to reach the finish line; it is about feeling more alive every day because a mind that is restless enough to not enjoy the journey, will not experience the contentment devoid of anxiety on reaching the destination.
I will turn 26 next month, with a lot unachieved on my list and I like to wake up early now but deep down, I am still that little girl with big dreams, who practices her thank you speech in the washroom for God knows which award!
Unsettled & Unfinished.