I woke up to my wife’s beautiful smile on my birthday. But I didn’t greet her with the same big, warm smile. Stepping into the 30’s club all of a sudden seemed so awkward.
I knew the numbers would keep increasing as the years would pass, but the one thing that’s quick to advise but hard to follow and that’s ACCEPTANCE.
But as I share my anxiousness and fear of growing old, I’m given a few strong inspirations from my friends and family.
To look at the brighter side of life with more experiences in my bucket.
Age is just a number. Living life is a choice.
Thirty is NO dirty.
Retirement is coming soon.
I thank them all who cheered me up and wished me luck and blessed me with their love and affection. So I thought how do I make this 30 that’s making me feel old make me feel young?
I reminisced about my childhood days. Images after images kept scrolling in front of my eyes. Memories making me feel pumped again, memories of embarrassment, memories of school and college, memories with my lovely sister, memories of childhood pranks.
Oh boy! The list can keep going. And as I’m soaking in those memories in my ME time, I thought it would be great to pen a few best ones down to share the stories with my little son when he grows big.
- 4th grade – The first crush. Oh God, I still remember collecting every item that she would touch whilst we were doing a science project together and I had them stored in small boxes in a secret place for almost 4 years. And I finally threw them all away when I realized how silly I was being. Time to move on.
- 2nd grade – I was drawing a birthday card for my mother in the class, writing boldly – I LOVE YOU MOM. So a girl comes up to me and says, “I love the card, can you please make one for me”. I right away agreed and but then I realized she can’t be my mum, so what do I now. I replaced the MOM with her name only to be caught by the teacher and to be called upon by the principal to bring my parents the next day.
- Nursery – My mom dressed me in a grey suit for the school annual day program. As I was walking proudly on the road with my head held high and holding my mom’s hand. I missed seeing a small pothole filled with rainwater and thus, landing my face right into it.
- 8th grade – I was dared by a friend if I could copy using micro xerox chits during the exam. I wasn’t a guy to say no for an answer. I found a xerox shop very close to my house and my heart pounded while I gave him the book with the marked pages, fearing he might inform my parents. The greedy shopkeeper never informed but the thrill of copying using those chits lasted for almost a term.
- 8th grade – I walked into a new restaurant to get some idli’s packed for my sister. The restaurant was extremely busy and I asked a man standing close to the counter to pack me three idlis. He ignored and muttered something under his breath and I lost my cool and shouted at him. He punched me right on my nose to only let me know that he was also a customer waiting for his delivery just like me.
- 10th grade – I had safely placed a letter of my girlfriend between the pages of my Maths book to only find it missing when I reached school the next day. I began sweating, fearing that it would reach the hands of the teachers if I had misplaced it. With fear making me paranoid, I reached home and found my dad very polite, extremely unusual and I knew something was wrong until he pulled the letter out of his pocket and asked – WHAT IS THIS?
- 7th grade – I hated my parents for doing this. As they allowed me to independently ride a cycle on the road, they would always send a staff who would ride behind me to ensure my safety. I would explain to them that if I had to fall, I any which ways would. It’s not like he could be a superhero and come to my rescue from anywhere.
- 9th grade – The campus life in TVS Matriculation school especially the canteen moments. That’s when Pepsi had launched Blue Pepsi to celebrate the world cup tournament. Having veg Biryani every day at the canteen and digging it inside to find the big chunks of fried bread chunks.
- 4th grade – Summer swimming classes at Madurai Corporation. The 5 feet depth was manageable until the coach made it mandatory for everyone to learn swimming in 12 feet depth too. Initially, I would excuse myself and hide in the changing room only to be caught by the coach one fine day.
- 8th grade – Right opposite to the house where we lived for quite a long time, there were plenty of apartments (Meenakshi Apartments) and a big playground in the middle. We would play cricket all day long starting right after breakfast and finishing before it would get dark. A couple of families still recall the number of windows that we had smashed with our big hits.
- All through high school and college – As friends, we thoroughly enjoyed eating out and mostly junk. We would sneak outside the house with excuses to relish some good food and each other’s company. And do I have to say, we would have to again stuff ourselves with the food that our mum would prepare with so much care and love. Can’t dare to upset mum’s and make them sad! Can we?
- 12th grade – Winning the title of Mr.Losa and we couldn’t afford to celebrate it big. My parents were working and they couldn’t attend it. So to make up for that they still suggested we go to a restaurant nearby to have my favorite masala dosa.
- Childhood can be a little hard when both parents are working and are often stressed. Not blaming them but as a child, we just can’t see the bigger picture then as we can now as adults.
- 8th grade – I once collected all the waste newspapers, plastic bottles, and other waste materials lying around the house. Do you think I was cleaning? That’s what my granny thought. Instead, I brought them all to junkshop in exchange for money and later my sister and I enjoyed a good portion of fried rice and chili parotta.
- All throughout school time – We were blessed to have a mother who was always going an extra mile for us to ensure we eat healthy food and stay fit. We were studying in TVS school attending the morning shift. The classes would commence by as early as 7:40 a.m and the bus would arrive at the stop by 6:15 a.m. My mum would wake up by 4 a.m and we would every day wake up to the sound of the mixer going ggrrrrrrrr…
- All my life – As a brother and sister, we were more like partners in crime. Helping one another get through difficult situations and team up when our parents would attack any one of us. Making it more difficult for our parents to catch the rat. haha.
- Nursery School – I had peed in my pant and the elderly child care lady collected my pants for washing and I was waiting in the bathroom to collect it back. Children are curious and the world knows it, so I turned the right handle and the water flowed from the bottom tap and I was curious to turn it left and was left completely drenched from the shower above me.
- College – I must have watched the maximum number of movies on the screen in theatres during my college days. The afternoon lectures would make us feel drowsy after a heavy lunch.
- Humor and rumor always had a strong affinity for me. I could crack somebody up so hard that they would pee in their pants laughing and rumors making headlines that I would often be called to the principal’s office or receive thrashings back home.
- 7th grade – I had mastered certain skills of riding a bicycle. And the most important was riding free hand. I could even turn the cycle at the corner ends of the road, so I thought I should game up my skill. I pedaled fast and rode the cycle free hand over a bumpy pothole. Well, it landed perfectly fine, skidding on the road and peeling my skin off near the elbow, leaving the mudguard covered in blood and a big scar which I’m still proud of.
- 8th grade – I would get down from the bus at our store while returning back from school. That day as I happily walked in, my mum was attending a customer showing her lingerie – big padded brassiere. I had seen them for the first time and I quickly picked it up from the counter and innocently placed it on my eyes thinking it was meant to cover the eyes. Well, obviously it didn’t cover my eyes but a hard slap landed right across my cheek.
- College – I had never been away for a long time from my hometown (Madurai) in 18 years. And in order to get better exposure and be independent, I decided to do my Masters in London. One year of my life, managing studies and work, learning many new things was an experience of a lifetime. A toad gets to see the outer world only when he sticks his neck high out of the well. .
- College – I started preparing for one of the most competitive exams to get into IIM and that’s CAT. About 6-7 friends we all boarded the train, went to Chennai and sincerely I prayed that my paper should be evaluated by someone young and empathetic who knows how CAT is making lives miserable. And finally, on the day of the result, the screen flashed with 22 percentile. I still don’t know what this percentile is and how it’s calculated.
- 9th grade – It was during the Diwali season and as usual, the holidays were always well spent in supporting my parents at the store. But this year, I was high with 104F fever. What was great about it was that I went alone to the hospital, got myself admitted and then came back home. My parents thought I was very brave and I enjoyed every bit of appreciation and attention for a week.
- 12th grade – I was always good with studies until 10th board exams happened. With 60% marks, I was already being judged. My parents thought I was distracted, not making use of my full potential, so they changed my school thinking my life would change. Well, they thought my life changed, but for me, the subjects changed and that mattered and I scored 87%. I owe my teachers a big time for this accomplishment.
- 6th and 7th grade – Two consecutive summer holidays gone in the drain. The first summer holiday I was diagnosed by Jaundice and in the next year’s summer holidays, it was chickenpox’s turn. Oh God, the itching these chickens caused felt like I was attacked by millions of mosquitoes.
- Two of my best study friends with whom I have shared great study time. Badri during my school days in TVS and Abdul during my high school in Mahatma. With Badri, it was more of creative conversations and with Abdul it was pure rote learning, especially Economics.
- 3rd grade – I found my grand dad’s shaving kit in the bathroom and I decided to have a shave. I cut myself near the lips, on the cheeks and as I washed my face I started sweating out of fear to step out of the bathroom and show my face to my family. Upon enquiring, I informed my Dad that a boy in my class used a knife while we were fighting. I wasn’t expecting my Dad to come to school the next day and the poor boy was made to stand outside the classroom all day. Not something I’m proud of. But back then, I just wanted to save my ass.
- 29. They say change is inevitable. But I didn’t know my parents had taken it to my schooling. Having changed 6 schools in 12 years was fun back then, I was enthusiastic about going to a new class to meet new friends. And the best thing was I ensured that my parents also get to meet the principal of all the schools. haha.
- 30. 4th grade – This tops the list because the memory of it reminds me of who I am. Creative, curious, adventurous, determined, happy and hard working. I won 13 prizes in various competitions in a year. Also, the only moment of my school life my parents are proud of.
Ricky Schroder says with regret, “I spent my whole childhood wishing I were older and now I am spending my adulthood wishing I were younger”.