Tag Archives: Nostalgia

A Story That Wrote Me

This has been a year of such drastic changes and shifts that my whole outlook has been the here and now – surviving these. But I am a creature of nostalgia and the past doesn’t impede me. It teaches me, it nurtures me and it gives me fodder for the future.

This Sunday, I attended a storytelling session organised by Spill Poetry. Bring personal stories only, they’d said. I approached the stage with no prior preparation for the first time in nearly three years. Poetry and Spoken word have become such polished, seasoned ventures and I’m nothing if not competitive. But oral storytelling? I had no references.

This has been a year of such drastic changes and shifts that my whole outlook has been the here and now – surviving these. But I am a creature of nostalgia and the past doesn't impede me. It teaches me, it nurtures me and it gives me fodder for the future. This Sunday, I attended a storytelling session organised by Spill Poetry. Bring personal stories only, they'd said. I approached the stage with no prior preparation for the first time in nearly three years. Poetry and Spoken word have become such polished, seasoned ventures and I'm nothing if not competitive. But oral storytelling? I had no references. I started to weave a tale from something that happened to me in 2005. At the time, it happened so quickly and in such an over way, I barely had a chance to notice how much it changed me. But it did – me, my relationship with the city and my sense of security, home and independence. I overshot my time limit but the organisers were kind enough to let me continue and the audience kind enough to listen and tell me they could relate. I am so grateful to have had a chance to stop and examine my past and share it with you. Thank you. #openmic #spokenword #liveperformance #performance #shayar #shaayari #sher #ghazal #mehfil #maqta #story #storytelling #stories #storyteller #personalstories #mumbaifloods #mumbai #mumbaiker #mumbaiwriters #mumbairains #26thjuly #spillpoetry

A post shared by Ramya Pandyan (@ideasmithy) on

I started to weave a tale from something that happened to me in 2005. At the time, it happened so quickly and in such an over way, I barely had a chance to notice how much it changed me. But it did – me, my relationship with the city and my sense of security, home and independence. I overshot my time limit but the organisers were kind enough to let me continue and the audience kind enough to listen and tell me they could relate. I am so grateful to have had a chance to stop and examine my past and share it with you. Thank you.

Here is the story that I told.

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Friday Night Dinner with Friends

Imagine spending two hours with a stranger, thinking that he reminds you of someone. Vaguely.
Imagine talking, laughing, listening, joking, all the while wondering why it feels so familiar.
Imagine feeling like you know so little about someone you call a friend and there’s nothing more you need to know about someone you’ve just met.
Imagine being spontaneous and sparkling and thinking that you’ve done this too many times with too many people.
Imagine having dinner with Nostalgia and realizing over dessert, whose face its wearing.

It’s him. The last memory of him has him in a green shirt, just like this one. The spectacles are exactly the same, as is the square-cut face. Not an exact match since he was last seen, years ago. So this is him, is it? Older, nicer, easier to be with?

But wait, this isn’t him. It’s someone else. A perfect stranger. But my god, the resemblance! You can’t unsee it now that you’ve seen it. Present, dinner with friends merges into a frame from the past, nostalgia colouring in the details in this sketchy outline that is sitting in front of you. Him. HIM. HIM.

Odd it took so long to figure that out though. Really, really odd that someone who feels like he’s embedded deep inside, one with your cells, is so hard to recognise in the face of another. He eats a bit differently, though. He never used to like caramel custard and you don’t think he knew how to use chopsticks. The chopsticks click, the spoon clatters. And again the frame shifts. It’s not him. Someone else. Stranger. No, not a stranger. A friend of a friend. You turn to look at the person you arrived with, clinging to the present, to a notion of who you are now.

Maybe memories crumble like over-thumbed bits of paper and after awhile, all you have left is the vague recollection of something that used to occupy that place. A stray browned scrap of paper that floated off, after the original disintegrated. The memory of a memory.

You find yourself miles away from that once-so-familiar picture. That must have been someone else, a different you. That happened to someone else, someone who became the you that you are now. But that was another person it happened to. You find your hold slipping. You realise the memory doesn’t stick to your soul and prick you anymore. He? Who’s he? Who was he? Somebody that happened to someone you don’t even know anymore. You’re not a part of that story. That story doesn’t even exist in your world now, without you. It doesn’t exist because it is without you.

And here you are now,
in a world new enough to be interesting,
familiar enough to be comfortable.

And you’re having dinner with a stranger, not with your past.

* This is an older idea repolished and brought up again since it is still relevant.

V is for Victoria Terminus

VOn 26 November 2008, a young man walked into a train station and changed the lives of millions of people forever. I am one of those people, because I am a Mumbaiker. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t look it up until you finish the story. This story is in memory of the unsung Mumbaiker who travels by train, squeezes forbidden affections into communal tensions and bears the hated distinction of having ‘the Mumbai spirit’. For today’s A to Z Challenge, V is for Victoria Terminus. Always.

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

V is for Victoria Terminus

The car pulls into the lane. Karthik frowns at me, as I get in. He doesn’t like me standing here by myself. He’s given up trying to convince me. I haven’t given up trying to convince him, though. I never even tried. There is nothing to worry about. Anything that can happen to me here, can also happen to me on the main road.

“Look, it’s all lit up.”

He says, pointing to the obvious, unmissable.

I’ve succeeded in missing it. I’m adept at it. It takes great perseverance. Or simply many years of steeping in the fabled Mumbai spirit. We learn to unsee things that are right in front of our eyes. We learn to get past things we can’t afford to dwell on.

We stop for dinner at Worli. This takes some doing, though, since Karthik is hungry already and it will be at least an hour before we get back home. Nothing will be open at that hour. Chembur, like the Chennai extension that it is, sleeps early. He tries to convince me to eat while we’re in town. Worli is a good compromise. Still South Bombay but far enough from the wretched place.

And because he has been patient, I compromise and agree to go to that restaurant. Karthik looks positively jubilant and then immediately, he’s contrite.

“The smell won’t bother you? What will you eat?”

“I’m sure they have vegetarian biryani. Or pulao.”

“I don’t think they make biryani or pulao in Lebanon.”

I settle for a wraps, which I know they have vegetarian versions, of. Karthik practically swoons when his chicken shawarma arrives. It smells so good. I work my way through a wrap that tastes like cardboard covered grass.

Karthik is very happy as we drive back home. He starts to reminisce about the best foods he’s ever had.

“You know, Hyderabadi biryani is really okay. But the real pleasure is in having it at a Muslim’s house during Ramzan. Mutton biryani and paaya.”

He’s driving towards the sealine, I notice, instead of towards the Eastern Express highway.

“Have you ever seen this place, during Ramzan?”

I pretend that I’m dozing off. But he won’t be shaken, when he’s in this mood.

“I know, I know what you think. But really, it’s a terribly racist attitude. Muslims have as much right to this country as we do. They are not all terrorists and criminals.”

The green flags flap in the breeze. Across the water, Haji Ali dargah floats peacefully in the moonlight. I close my eyes, even though Karthik can’t see them, when I have my face turned away. My husband of three years believes that I am staunchly anti-Muslim. I’ve done well.

Rashid would have been proud of me. Rashid’s sharp, twinkling eyes belying the laughter that he didn’t let reach his lips. Those lips, oh those lips! Fifteen years later, I have still not forgotten those lips. Nobody forgets their first kiss. Especially not if Rashid was the one kissing them.

We turn off at Bandra and I’m forced to open my eyes. The smell at Mahim Causeway would wake anyone up. Karthik seems to detect my open eyes and immediately starts talking again.

“You can always tell when you’ve passed the old city and have come into the new parts. Even newcomers. South Bombay has such wonderful classic architecture.”

“It’s all dying embers. SoBo is dead. All the action is moving to the suburbs now.”

Karthik laughs, derisively. He can never understand. But how would he? He’s been in Mumbai for all for four years. He’s still enamored by the hype generated by the money-fueled talkers of this city.

“Don’t you have any romance in your soul? All these buildings in the suburbs look like monsters. Concrete Godzillas.”

“I suppose Antila is a work of art.”

“You know I don’t mean that. Antila is like the Eiffel tower to Mumbaikers, I think. The locals hate it.”

“You don’t? And, you’ve been in Mumbai for four years now.”

“Yeah. But I haven’t gotten jaded about it, the way you have. I suppose living here all your life does that to you.”

“Jaded, why? Just because I’m not waxing eloquent over crumbling buildings populated by equally decrepit old men who’ve never been beyond Worli?”

“Not all the buildings are like that. Look at Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus. It’s a world heritage site. Aren’t you at least a little proud of it? Or the Gateway of India?”

I purse my lips. Karthik is persistent. It must be the shawarma. Meat must create testosterone surges.

“It looked beautiful tonight. I can’t think how anybody can fail to be moved by the sight. But Mumbai people, you just move past it like it’s any old building. You didn’t even bother looking at it.”

Suddenly his tone is accusing and the hair on my arm prickles.

“Well, forgive me for not going into raptures over a building that’s basically a public transport facility. VT is just a station.”

“VT. That’s another thing I can’t understand. It’s been called C.S.T. for what…20 years now? Even the signboards and indicators say C.S.T. But you insist on calling it VT still.”

Actually, they say ST, not CST. But Karthik wouldn’t know; he’s never taken a train. And I’m not about to enlighten him.

“What I can’t get is how you switch so smoothly to Mumbai. Isn’t that like a pride thing with you homegrown people from this city? It’s Bombay, not Mumbai?”

“Only SoBo people with nothing better to do with their time, say that.”

I say and lean back, shutting my eyes. We’ll be home soon but not soon enough. This conversation is getting to be too much already. But closed eyelids don’t stop memories from flashing. I give in and let myself drift. Rashid will not be silenced, in my head, anymore than he would be, in person.

“You need to exercise some restraint, Sanjana. They are your family, after all. Give them some leeway.”

“Rashid, they’re bloody casteist, racist…Well, I won’t say what they are.”

“Sanju, stop it. They’ve lived their whole, entire lives believing these truths.”

“Truths? What truths? That non-Brahmins are filth? That Muslims are evil? You really expect me to sit quiet with all that?”

“No, I expect you to be wiser. Exercise restraint. There’s nothing to be gained by going all guns blazing.”

“You’ll never survive them if you take the moderate path. As it is, they’ll expect you to have terrorist connections.”

“Maybe I do. Maybe I’m one of the educated, professional Muslims who’s plotting to do you in. Maybe I’m conspiring to take over the ruling Hindu classes and marry their beautiful daughters.”

“Daughtersss?”

“Daughter. Who needs a harem, when a man has firebrand, best friend and lover all rolled into one in you?”

“You’re a sneaky one. Charming your way out of that one.”

“I love you.”

My eyes fly open at this moment. That’s the last thing I heard. That’s the last thing I saw. Gunfire. Screams. Bright lights. I had been standing at the door of the train compartment, Rashid on the platform, with one foot on the door of the train, ready to get in when it started. When the firing began, he turned and pushed me in at the same time. I staggered back and it took me a few seconds to steady myself since the train had started rolling very quickly, all of a sudden. Rashid! I screamed and rushed to the door.

The last thing I saw was his crumpled body lying on the platform. Further down, under the clock, a man in a black teeshirt and camouflage pants brandished a gun. I’ll never forget him. Even if every newspaper in the country had not splashed his likeness across their front pages for the next week.

One week later, candlelight vigils took to the streets. I didn’t participate in any of them. A restaurant in Colaba Causeway proudly displayed its bullet holes lodged in the wall and this tourist attraction has only increased business every year. The Taj Mahal hotel was rebuilt and its security amped up. The Oberoi Trident survived too. The names of the ATS officers who fell became common knowledge in every Mumbai household. But only I remembered Rashid. The station was open for business as usual the next day. The country raved about the Mumbai spirit. And I got up and went to work. But V.T.Station has stayed just V.T.Station.

When I open my eyes, Karthik is driving into the colony gates. The watchman opens the gates and I smile thank you to him. Altaf chacha smiles back at me.

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

V is for Victoria Terminus

*Image (without text) via Wikipedia

T is for Truth or Dare

T Here’s a story about one of my favourite games. This is a story of why I like it so much. I give you T is for Truth or Dare for today’s A to Z Challenge.

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

T is for Truth or Dare

What an interesting game. Played between strangers, it’s a round of showing off. Exhibitionism minus context, the spills just enough to thrill, not enough to chill.

It’s nostalgia, when it’s between people who’ve known each other a long, long time. Each one adding the finest of strokes to crystallize a shared memory. Even if it is secondhand and they’ve heard it so many times before that they feel they know it.

But Truth or Dare only ever really comes into its own when it’s played between people who know only a little but matter a lot to each other. How about newlywed husbands and wives, does that describe them?

When Mubeen told me about the dinner, I had an inkling it was going to be an important evening. Sahil and Roshan had been at the wedding but I barely remembered them. Lisa I knew, from meeting her a few times. And I was yet to meet the fabled Amara. I was worried about what to wear but perhaps I need not have been. They were all so busy watching each other, watching out for each other and watching for each other that they never noticed me. And I came home with a different sense of my husband.

Amara turned out to be nice enough, if not as harsh as they had all portrayed her. Or maybe I was the only one who saw the look on her face, when Roshan asked her who her first crush was. Her eyes darted across the room to mine and returned to the bottle on the floor. Her answer prompted a number of jokes, a story coaxed out of her, till she ended with a triumphant flourish. Everyone was taken aback.

Roshan followed, with a dare that he ‘suggested’ himself – a pole dance. And while the others laughed and hooted, I saw Sahil tap his phone. Seconds later, Amara looked at hers. Her eyes flicked up to Sahil again. I expected her to snigger but instead, she thumbed something and slipped the phone back into her pocket. She didn’t look at Sahil again till the dance was over. And after that, she ignored the phone so diligently, that there was no doubt in my mind, who was responsible for it flashing intermittently in her pocket.

Mubeen had once mentioned that Amara had had a thing for Sahil in college. I think he once even said that they had gone around together for awhile. Or maybe he thought they did. Amara didn’t seem to care anymore, if she ever had. If I had to guess, I’d have said it was the other way and Sahil was the reason Amara had a less than friendly reputation in their circles.

When Roshan came back and sat down, he steadied himself with a hand on Sahil’s knee. But after he’d settled back in, he didn’t move his hand. Sahil either didn’t notice or didn’t care. Mubeen tossed him a 50 paise coin to circle over Roshan’s head and tuck into his waistband. Roshan accepted with great pleasure, more pleasure than I thought possible for a ham performance. He seemed to like Sahil’s hand on his hip.

Mubeen was allowed some ‘grace period’ since he had a new wife to impress – or so they said. But they forgot about him and he never had to take a turn at the bottle.

Lisa is the one who really surprised me. She didn’t bat an eyelid when Roshan suggested a mujra. She laughed in delight when Amara suggested Roshan acquaint himself with a cold shower. And she only smiled when Sahil asked her who she’d like to ‘do’ that night, if she had a chance to. I don’t think I even remember what she ended up doing for her dare that night. But I do remember how it ended.

First she shivered slightly and asked Mubeen if he’d reach out and turn the AC down. He had to get up and go to the window to get the remote control. Then she stood up and moved till she was next to Sahil. She looked at Amara when she sat down. And I noticed, Roshan’s hand had gone back to his pocket. Then she fixed her gaze on me and said,

Following her gaze, Sahil pointed to me and said,

“New girl’s turn.”

Mubeen was still at the window, fussing with the remote control. It was blowing the air up and down as he bashed the Sweep setting. I saw Lisa lean in and say something, her eyes never leaving me. And Sahil said,

“Tell us something you haven’t told your husband yet.”

I relaxed. Now we were talking. I looked to my feet, then up again (into Lisa’s eyes) and I said,

“I am really good at reading body language.”

Roshan giggled. Amara shrieked a lewd question at me. Sahil as he ordered me to elaborate as he leaned back in his seat, one hand on Lisa’s back. Lisa didn’t crack a smile. When she moved forward slightly, causing Sahil’s hand to slide off, I knew she had got the message. She wouldn’t be trying her games with me.

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

T is for Truth or Dare

*Image (without text) via Gualberto107 on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

D is for Dread

DI’m rather late with today’s, having been struck down by a hot day and Andheri in general. But the delightful Jai Ranjit pushed me to explore my creative limits and how can I resist a challenge? He gave me ‘D is for Dread‘ and challenged me to write a story that had a positive ending. Here’s today’s #AtoZChallenge. (and have you read A, B and C as yet?)

~O~O~O~O~O~

D is for Dread

We took our casualties. We took the hits, like men. Sticks and stones, there were some broken bones. But that John, he cries like a girl anyway. Some guys can’t handle Grade IV fire. We’ve left him behind.

There’s brief respite. We’re home with our families. The summer is beautiful. But we all know what’s waiting at the end of it. These past four years have been playground fights, in comparison.

It must be done. The women speak of it with almost demented cheerfulness. But at night, when I’m sitting on the steps, watching my mother shell peas, I hear her sniff and say, “He’s not ready yet.” I’m tempted to run out and hug her. But I hold back and trudge back to bed. The time for tears is past.

It went by so fast. Yesterday Monica walked to the end of the road with me. We didn’t say much. It was everything that we were walking together. When we reached my door, she said, “See you.” I nodded, unsmiling and turned away. We both know she won’t. By next summer, she’ll have forgotten me. In fact, this Saturday, I know she’s seeing another guy. He lives next door to Allen. Allen, my best buddy, he gave it to me straight. Or maybe he was just happy to see her go. Allen never liked her. Allen doesn’t like girls, never has.

But he’s a good friend to have in all times. Especially in times like the one we’re going to be having. We don’t yet know what their militia have in their arsenal. Everyone in my section knows I’m the bravest of them all. But I’ll be glad to have good ol’ Allen at my side, flanking me, especially when the bus drives up tomorrow to pick us up.

I lay out my uniform on the bed. It’s crisp and new. The unfamiliar colours, that I’ve only ever seen on the older lads are now mine to touch and wear, every single day. I hang them up carefully, turn off the light and try to sleep. I’m going to need my wits about me.

Tomorrow, fifth grade.

~O~O~O~O~O~

D is for Dread

*Image courtesy olovedog on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Things I Learnt In 2007 (That Are Still True)

Things that are just never ‘right’

  • Office chairs
  • Filing systems
  • Tea made in most canteens, restaurants, dispensers
  • Bras

Things that shouldn’t but do enough work well enough

  • Men (the desi type not the ultra-smooth yurrrgh type) who sell women’s lingerie but don’t know how to pronounce the names
  • Hard mattresses or the bare ground when your back is killing you
  • An 80s hit disco number in the late afternoon and the ‘slow sappy’ playlist at 11:00 a.m.
  • Walking around for 4 minutes (no more, no less) in weather you’d normally consider unpleasant – hot & sweaty, drizzly-muggy or pouring rain.
  • Drinking hot water when you’ve bitten into a chilli and your tongue is on fire.

Things that are sure-fire bad ideas because…trust me, I’ve tried them!

  • Laughing too much before singing. It clogs your throat.
  • Listening to too much Jagjit Singh/ Micheal Bolton
  • Reading books by the same author back to back.
  • Too much time with a new boyfriend: Please note that this is defined as any of the following: Meeting/ phonetime for more than two hours, email/blog comments/SMS/chat messages that cumulatively take up more than an hour, thinking about/discussing with friends/blogging about more than once a day.
  • Publishing a post and then attempting to delete it (people who subscribe to your feed still see it!!!)

Soft Touches

This article (‘Learning to Measure Time in Love and Loss‘) may seem rather formulaic, soppy and trite to some of you. Maybe it is. I know I’m a soft touch for stories like this. But I also think, soft touches are getting increasingly rarer in a cynical today. Independence doesn’t mean not needing anyone else. Freedom is not complete desolation. I know now that it is the willingness, even more than the ability, to take responsibility. It doesn’t come easy and it doesn’t have to be graceful or dignified. Jails are made of concrete, iron and glass. But imprisonment is attitudinal.

It has been a hard year after a bad one. 2012 was heartbreak and mourning and pain. 2013, in contrast was less like a bolt from a wrathful heaven and more like a run of very human bad luck decisions. Trivialities that have been as wearisome to carry as 2012’s burdens were hard. But it is over; it’s in the past. And as dad told me the other day,

“What happened in the past has absolutely nothing to do with how the future is going to be.”

IMG_20130801_015802-1

Of course, he was saying that in response to my observation that I had always gone in for low tech, economy gadgets. But it’s just as true for anything else in life. Of note, I walked out with a MacBook Air. It’s not my first Apple gadget or even my first Mac, but it is the first time I’ve made the conscious decision to use a Mac machine (I hate Mactardism, just as much as I hate any other elitist, exclusivist attitude). In keeping with naming my gadgets, to reference The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy, this one has been duly christened ‘Heart of Gold’.

Idea gets some air

Last night, I chatted with an old, old friend after several years. I used to refer to him as the otherself at one point. I asked him how he was doing. He said he had tried something new that day, a new kind of razor blade to shave. He said,

“Everytime you do something for the first time, it takes some time to get good at it. And you do it taking in all the detail, it’s exhilarating. It keeps you from thinking that life is routine.”

I haven’t had a first in a long time, I told him. But really that is a matter of semantics, isn’t it? There are patterns on patterns and once you’ve lived a bit, it can start to seem like you’ve seen it all before, like each day is going to be like yesterday and every person like the last one who hurt you. This article made me rethink that.

Another aside, I finally got around to trying Bitstrips, that various people on my Facebook timeline have been showcasing. It was fun! It wasn’t exactly a first. It is so much like a slightly modernised version of Stripcreator, the service I used to use all those years ago when I started the Idea-toons. I was doing those before people were speaking about visual content. And several others picked up the service after that and got positioned as the ‘pioneers’ of the craft. But I was there, I was there first, I screamed in my head. In the early hours of today morning, unable to sleep, I checked into Twitter. And I found most of the people whose tweets I really like don’t follow me back (they used to, once). It was a sour feeling, one I get every now and then. I got left behind. I spent a few minutes wallowing in the nostalgia of yore, when I was one of a handful of people around who knew about blogging, who was driving social media before it had a name.

Nostalgia. It’s a tricky quagmire, for people like me to get lost in. I need it. It fuels me, it sustains me, it gives me a sense of self and identity. And yet, I must keep it from overwhelming me since it is after all, recycled experience. So I pull on a light nostalgia jacket (it’s soft-lined) and head into the grand adventure of the future. Even if it looks the same, I don’t know it right now. And that is what makes it worth living into. Besides, I got a Heart of Gold and it’s powered by the Improbability Drive. 😉

And here now, the Idea-toons are back in a new grown-up avatar.

Idea in her natural habitat

Idea takes a beach walk

What Do You Miss?

When you miss someone, you think of all that happened
And wonder,

Should I have said something then?
Should I have laughed openly at that? And raised hell over this?

It might have caused a fight, you realize, and say

That’s why I didn’t.

But if I had,
I wouldn’t have been left with things that should have been said, but weren’t
Or intensity unexpressed, worse unacknowledged
And the ugly truth, unexposed

And yet, is the truth ever ugly?
Or an emotion not deserving of expression?

You miss someone most when you miss things that didn’t even happen.

On Being Thirty-Four: Then & Now

Recently I’ve taken to thinking about what my parents were doing when they were the age that I’m at now. I’ll take my father, because I think my attitude mirrors his more and because he has been a careerperson.

Dad at 34 had been married for six years and was a father of a five year old (already in first standard in school). He drove a car he owned, albeit a second-hand Fiat. He was living in a small Bombay apartment that he owned and was still paying off. He had had a minor health scare himself and was grappling with a family member’s fearful, as yet undiagnosed ill health.

After being employed in a number of traditional companies, he had invested and been part of the founding team of a start-up. And he was involved in a legal dispute with a former colleague. He had also authored an award-winning paper and been to Lima, Peru to accept the award from Henry Kissinger.

He was breaking norms by choosing to live in Mumbai instead of the South and by being entrepreneurial instead of chasing multinational/international jobs. These were the early 80s when Apple and the Internet were young ideas, when computers were mammoth machines, when liberalization had not yet hit India, when the lure of phoren was as visible as the fear of going outside known locations.

He and I have sometimes talked about his experiences, his fears, his disappointments, his vision. I wonder if being thirty-four has changed in the last three decades.

I’m thirty-four. I’m not married or a mother but I’ve been close (to the first, I mean). I don’t drive a car or live in my own apartment. But I have lived away from family, breaking a few norms of my own. I’ve had a few minor health scares. I’ve grappled with cancer in my family, twice over.

I have also traveled abroad, alone though this is far less impressive in my generation than it was in his. I’ve notched up the traditional employment milestones and then struck out to try some things like writing a book and running an independent business. These are the early second-decade-of-new-millenium (what do you call these decades, by the way?). Tiny screen devices and an uber connected via technology world is our reality. Global village, offshoring, outsourcing, racial & gender equality are all newish ideas that are still to reach critical mass.

Thirty-four means a number of things to me. I’ve been a legal adult for over 15 years now. I’ve been a working professional for over a decade. The twenties with their fears, their desperate need to please and appease, their sprints to rack up the necessary accolades, social milestones and relevant years on both are over. The forties where the my generation’s kids will begin shaping the world have not yet set in. It’s a narrow window and I’m fast reaching its midpoint. This is where it feels like I have choices that could determine the impact I have on the world and the kind of life I could live. I’m not as fearful or needy for support as I was earlier. But I don’t yet feel the serenity and the wisdom to be able to accept and let go. Things still feel like I could, must control and drive them.

I’m sure my father felt exactly the same things in 1984.

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