Friday, October 7, 2005

Birthday Blue

For the first few years of your life, you are not bothered about your age. From your teens and till you step outside the college and the university, you are proud of it (probably must be the result of the stubble that starts appearing on your chin). From around 22 to 27, you don't think about it much — everything around is young, everything's possible — Carpe diem and all that. You've probably just started working and are too busy being a pain in the neck (and elsewhere) for the old fuddy-duddies with your excitement and your enthusiasm (Yeah, still carpe diem).

Post that as the big 30 nears (and you reach 30), age-anxiety sets in and you become increasingly squeamish about your age. You are already at the age (and look the age) where kids around start calling you "uncle." Your reflexes are a bit slow (some helpfully point out to me that my slow reflexes are also a function of my size). You are surprised by how many of your beliefs and habits have solidified and resist change. You have become more intolerant than you ever thought you would be. You often realize that you are probably not as close to what you had expected to achieve by this time. You seem to be getting there, not at a sprint but at a steady jog. Opportunities, and not just career-wise, around seem to be shrinking. Life is cool, but not as much as you thought it would be. Your sense of mortality is growing. You have probably made a few concessions, given up some of your romantic and idealistic notions and are doing a compromised version of "what I really wanted to do."

I have reached that age today "officially." Some of all that I have said earlier has happened or is happening with me. Some I can see lurking around the corner. Some, I have heard others speak about and hope never to encounter.

Life has been fairly long. Sometimes, when I have had deadline after deadline staring at me everyday, I have felt it has already been too long. But it has been reasonably exciting and interesting. A great many sad things have happened over the years, and since my last birthday. But a great many happy and good things have also happened over the years and in the past one year.

It’s not been the most eventful year of my life, but I managed to muddle my way and get a few things done. Some just happened. In no particular order:
  1. Made a few new good friends, the kind you don't mind meeting everyday.
  2. Managed to keep up with most of my old friends too.
  3. Saw a few close ones start new lives. Some tied the knot, some went abroad, a few moved to other cities within India.
  4. Started blogging and barring the occasional hiccups, have continued to blog. I didn't expect this "craze" to last for so long.
  5. Was pleasantly surprised that there are some people (admittedly very few), apart from myself, who read my blog. Found the blog had been mentioned on the Beeb, not for anything great, but it was nice.
  6. Surfed a lot (the Internet, not the sea).
  7. Managed to read at least three books a month, often more (considering that most of my reading happens while traveling to and from work in Mumbai's crowded local trains, not bad). Some of them have been really good.
  8. Started sampling some non-fiction (I was, and I am still, largely an ONLY fiction person).
  9. Visited Mahabaleshwar, finally.
  10. Visited Siddhivinayak for the first time (And there was a time when I was working for a year in Dadar, about a stone's throw away from the temple). Not that I am particularly religious, but mom and dad, for a few days, felt that I had finally joined the side of the Good.
  11. Managed to send Mom and Dad on not one, but two vacations that they wanted to go (should actually call them pilgrimages).
  12. Managed to steer clear of numerous pesky relatives, especially the kind that wanted to see me "happily settled."
  13. Worked on some interesting projects, the kind that make the long hours seem worth it.
  14. Worked also on a few boring projects, the kind that make you want to stay in bed and call in sick.
  15. Learnt that perceptions and labels matter. Haven't figured a way around it yet though.
  16. Learnt that I can be comfortable with most people and can easily avoid those with who I am not.
But there were quite a few things that didn't happen. This can be my "to-do list" for the coming year. Again in no particular order (except the first one):
  1. Get absolutely, totally drunk (now you know where my priorities lie).
  2. Meet more people. Make a few new friends.
  3. Meet my old friends often.
  4. Blog more. More original posts.
  5. Start writing my thesis. Or make an honest attempt at it.
  6. Visit my teachers and college more often.
  7. Read more and have a variety in what I read.
  8. Take a good look at my life and my career. Decide where I want to head to and how I am going to get there.
  9. Learn to strike a work/life balance. Basically, get a life.
  10. Learn to avoid getting into a soup at work.
  11. Learn something new.
  12. Take a long vacation (counted in months, not weeks)
  13. Earn more (doesn't seem to fit with the earlier item on the list — Well, work something out).
  14. Look for a home closer to the office (is tied directly with the preceding item on the list).
  15. Visit a few places that I have never been to before.
  16. Learn to drive.
  17. Go for those long walks that I used to enjoy so much.
  18. Go trekking, hiking.
  19. Go on Ashtavinayak Darshan. That should fetch me enough brownie points with my parents to last for a year.
  20. Spend more time with my parents and attempt to understand them.
  21. Continue to steer clear of pesky relatives.
  22. Get "people skills."
  23. Exercise (oh, yeah?).
  24. Stop feeling blue and enjoy life more.
  25. Stop making such lists.
  26. Start working towards doing all that I want to do.
Many apologies for this rather self-indulgent, rambling post cum grocery list. But I thought I could get away with this today.

And if you are wondering about the title, nope I am not blue about getting older. . . It's just about my new blog template.

Corny, no?


ChrisWoznitza said...

Hi I´m Chris. Greatings from Germany Bottrop !!

Namita said...

Hello Mandar!
Many Happy Returns!

Are you coming to the US anytime soon?
Have an excellent day.

Nandita said...

Mandy yaar,
Just Chill! as the most popular song of the season will tell you.
Happy Budday Buddy!!
As someone approaching the big three-oh, I agree totally with item 1 on list 2 and will definitely try to help you meet that goal :)
To that end,

solzaire said...

happy birthday dude :)
live long and prosper.

saala tere ko aur jaldi mere ko bhi jeetender ka 30+ pills khane padega :) :)

abhijit said...

thirty can get dirty if you keep on trying to be young. i think thats the bottomline. lets accept that we are now uncles and enjoy the feeling...
a list of privileges that we can grab is more attractive to me...
1. shout at parents when you know what they need to be told
2. give your opinions without thinking whether you are still green behind the ears.
3. have a major say in what you want in life
4. ignore things and people you dont want.
5. invest in wild wishes (particularly ones which u have wanted to do but haven't had the money for in the past)

many more and i think we can come out with some novel ideas if we really think about it.
btw.... i have to quit writing because a deadline is farting straight on my face....

Ro said...

In honor of you Happy Budday, here's a "creative" poem I found:

Ode to Beer

Beer, beer, its so fun
It makes me want to bang a drum

Beer, beer, its so happy
it makes the guy over there not look so crappy

Beer, beer, i want to have sex with you
But only if you buy me dinner first

Beer, beer, come out and play
If so, i will do whatever you say

Beer, beer, you are my best friend
the morning sucks though when you come rushing out the other end

Beer, beer, make me fat
I will drink you out of a hat

Beer, beer, get me drunk
So i can pass out in my trunk.

Here's hoping you have an "eventful" year!!! Love you lots, Mandy.

angela said...

The first item on your to do list is, in my opinion anyway, an extremely noble and relevant one. You need good and hardy friends to aid you in this quest. When shall we set forth?

Anonymous said...

Hey Mandy,

Wish you a Very Happy Birthday!!!!
The List for the coming year look great......
you are a true friend

anushila said...

Mandy, Mandy,

It really doesn't matter whether you're thirty or forty or eighty, as long as you enjoy living. Nothing – either material (includes people and money) or emotional (love, hate, lust, kindness, just to name a few)– is bigger than the consciousness of being alive. Live every moment as it comes, becoz it will come ONLY ONCE. There's no heaven above or hell below, it's all here buddy, on this good earth. And, as long as we are part of it, we're there. After that there is oblivion....

Live every bit of life, young, old, beautiful and ugly. Each bit has a pattern of its own. Enjoy all of can't say that we enjoy the tears and sorrows though..

Believe me, every phase of our lives has some thing unique about it, some thoughts, some experience, some happiness and, of course, some pain..

Well....the bit above might a too premature for you, as you're not even half way towards the century, which everyone who was lucky to be born should want to reach.

So go ahead and FREAK OUT :))) and postpone all those glum thoughts about "reaching thirty" for you fiftieth birthday :)))))