It has been a while since I penned something down. Life has been ‘in transition’ for quite a few months now. I am on the threshold of a new life – a new job in a new city (or so I hope) and preparing for that has been quite an exercise. The happier moments have been that I sneaked in a lovely but rather rushed holiday to Thailand earlier this month (which I shall write about in due course) and that it is was my birthday last week.
I turned 25. While it was a lovely morning in sunny Ahmedabad and a seemingly normal day – somewhere deep down I was aware of how huge a milestone this day is for little ol’ me. 25. A quarter of a century. The end of the cycle in the Hindu stage of learning … for the next twenty-five years I should devote my learnings to putting it to good use to my family, society and country. Or so they say. Of course at 25 one finally must ask oneself – What have I learned? And this is where the answers are no longer simple.
Ever since I graduated from the Young India Fellowship, I have been reflecting on what it is that I have actually learned. It wasn’t Law, Sociology, Diplomacy and other Liberal Arts subjects, or the brilliant concepts of Leadership. What I learned was how important it is to value my relationships. Not just to my partner but also family, friends and relatives, meaningful encounters… If there is someone I must message to say ‘Thank you’ Hello ‘ ‘I love you’ ‘It was lovely to have met you’ or simply compliment them on their smile, clothes, their acheivements … I just do it. It does make all the the difference in the world and there may not be time to think twice.
I wish I could say I read one of those “How to win Friends over ….” kinda books and it just dawned unto me how important this lesson is – Value those people who are your support, nurture those relationships and they will not go unnoticed. Sadly, I learned this lesson the hard way.
If you ask me today – “Chiteisri – At 25, Is there something you regret?” The first thing that comes to mind is the story of me and my Surabhi Aaboo (Assamese word for Grandmother).
You see, there was a day on school when I fumbled on a debate speech and made a complete fool of myself in front of an audience of nearly 300 students, teachers and the Principal. I had disappointed everyone and was not chosen to be a school prefect thereafter.
I thought that was the saddest day of my life.
Then there was a the time when my exam results were declared and I learned that I was second in my school – not top of the class and the best. Many tears followed. That then became the saddest day of my life.
At 16, I had my first case of true heartbreak. The boy I loved and shared a cherished friendship loved my best friend. I was not even his second choice and they were secretly dating for months before they told me in order to spare my feelings. Anyone who could have seen me that day, in my school uniform weeping hysterically on a public bus for the 24 km journey home might have thought I was in deep shock. Of course, I declared it was my saddest and worst day back then…
One gets the picture…
But none of those incidents have left me with a last regret or those pangs of guilt and ache that come back in a micro-second when I remember my Surabhi Aaboo and the hellous day that I was informed that she passed away. A competitive loss, occasions of heartbreak or betrayal by friends and lovers … none of it compares.
And as I am 25 now, it is time for me to mark the occasion with this ‘valuable’ lesson by telling you this little story, albeit a powerful one in my-so-called-life…