10 April, 2007

Overgrown Baby

You cant help growing up, but you can help not maturing!

There was a time when we used to be called babies, children and more recently adolescents. Somehow, they give the feeling of patronising. As if you still ought to be let off in spite of your doings. After all, 'they cant be like this all their lives, can they'? Thank God for his infinite mercies. We all had grandparents and distant relatives. Otherwise it would be just parents, parents and teachers.

But then, even they expect you to grow up. When you reach, maybe, 20. When you are old enough to start working. Or for Gods sake, atleast after you’ve started working.

Teenager is not a name that fits you perfectly. So they don’t call you that. Oh forget it, they wouldn’t even want to call you that! The kind-hearted resort to consoling everyone saying they will mature soon. 'After all, they don’t have a family to support, and they are atleast improving'. The more cynical claim they’re just hopes crumbled. Black sheep!

And of course, not to mention the other three quarters of 20-something people in the world. The ones who do exactly what is expected of them. Who graduate after studying the most brainy of sciences (no insult intended), who get into the jobs in the poshest offices and who wait for their mothers to find them a wives!

For some inexplicable reason, I seem to attract the first mentioned set of people than the other three quarters, for not a few times has whichever group I am in been called a bunch of “Overgrown babies” (and I love that term). Now that’s actually surprising considering that many folks picture a long faced, sober, kill-joy when I am mentioned.

But reflecting on it, I couldn’t help noticing that the nomenclaturing is relatively recent, and started much after I graduated from being eligible to be called “teenager”.

Nevertheless, I couldn’t help pondering about how I changed. Externally, there wasn’t much of a difference, was there? I still was sober, hopelessly old fashioned when it came to appearance. Relatively outdated when it came to likes such as movies or music. So, then what? My two trips back home earlier this year gives me few answers. Let me tell you what changed.

Being at home is different. Oh no, I mean, being at home for a short vacation is blissfull. Even mom, of all people, rarely, if ever, shouts at you. Whatever small things you do, like helping out in the kitchen, is appreciated. The mess you create is ignored. Don’t mention the food. It is literally a feast for family.

But the best part is the laughing that happens. Never was life at home so fun filled as those days. Who said you needed reasons to laugh? Of course, having a born comedian for a brother, and a sister whose career ambition’s seem to be making others laugh at her, helps!

But that’s not just all about it. It was just being young at heart, and preparing to enjoy the things the rest of your group enjoys.

Like reading Brer Rabbit along with the sis, and laughing, and then fighting over which story to read next together (the argument, predictably, is along the lines of who has read the next story how many times how many years ago).
Like watching Tom and Jerry, and laughing like 10 year old’s (well.. what else does one do watching Tom and Jerry), oblivious to the fact that its just not fair (hey its always the tiny mouse that wins), laughing because life is just as fair as we make it out to be, so it doesn’t really matter.

Like listening to the young girls version of the story of Macbeth, and insisting she read out from the original text (yes, that thick black ‘complete works’, which, once upon a time, made my favourite books list) whenever I didnt agree.

Like singing all those old songs (with the portions of the lyrics that memory was smart enough to retain), trying to teach songs, refusing to learn, fighting over it, and then complaining to the higher authority, you know who!

Like peeing in the backyard (thank God again for a backyard and all the greenery) in spite of all the other males at home using only toilets.
like waking up whenevr you wanted. Waking up to bed-coffee or breakfast. Like sitting up late night trading useless stories. Like wandering around seeing all those faces you simply couldnt remember in the din that was 'life'!

Like imagining you are still the 10 year old who first came to live in Kerala. Making up for all the years wasted pretending you was something Important. Whereas you were just a speck in a mighty desert. And what was expected of you was to enjoy today. Not worry about ten years hence!