03 May, 2009
The Beautiful Gawky Age of being a Teenager...
I often give my students the essay to write ‘Childhood is the best period of a person’s life’, transcending each time into reminisces of my own. As memories juggle and tumble, I realize I don’t bear in mind much of my infant years and the moments that do stand earmarked are those from my teen times. What a beautiful age to be in! And kind of unfair that God ji gave us just seven years of it ranging from 13 to 19...maybe so that one never really reaches the seven years’ itch with it...and teenage remains the utopia we all just fondly hark back to forever!
Though at that time, being gawky, unsure and trapped in that sort of midway path, I am sure I wanted to be an adult, just as quickly as when I watched the shooting star whiz past, leaving us kids hopeful of materialization of the wishes we made upon it. But looking back after it is gone, as happens in every other case of our lives, it becomes a different story!
Teenage most definitely is the best spell time of a person’s life, the time frame that he really misses and cherishes. With the gen next being upwardly modern, stylised and more comfortable in their skin, it is great fun to watch the youngsters. Whether you travel by the metro subway, visit a coffee bar, go to a pick up joint...they are there everywhere...indulging and living it up...a silent reminder that you are not a part of this ball game and no matter how young at heart you may feel, you are not really ‘that’ young anymore to join their brigade or behave like them.
However, please don’t take away my fun that I derive from watching them. There are these girls, getting prettier and cheekier with the passing generations, dressed in hipsters and tops that barely reach the midriff...uhem...And when they sit on backless benches or bend to pick up the fallen pen...whoa...it is party time for the boys behind them...literally and otherwise. You find them mostly in size zero or pleasantly plump...there’s no other way to be, with wooden bangles covering half their hand or evil eye bracelets...loads of studded pins in their hair or letting them loose in a nice wanton wildness. They might sport an occasional tattoo and some adorn the eyes with loads of mascara. The traditional ones would be dressed in a short Fab India kutra and Patiala salwaar, have mojaris, some light silver jewellery, a big dial watch and an ethnic folder generally in the hand, as their butterfly clip randomly buns up the hair just above the nape....!
Whereas the guys...hmm...very easy to spot a ‘with-it’ teenage boy...jeans so below the hip that you live in a perpetual fear of now it would definitely fall leading to a bear all...excessively gelled and spiked hair, the latest and the most handful of mobile phones being flaunted...of course constantly texting on it too...The devilish Casanova smile and smooth manners, some buttons undone of the shirt....and reeking of a cartload of attitude!
I watch as my students indulge in teasing each other and even the silent gestures made with the eyes. I notice how blatantly this contingent holds hands or rests the head on their beloved’s shoulders in movie halls and their proximity might just cause you to turn your head, but not them to avoid your glare. I smile when I perceive how they just roam around in their bikes and cars on the same road all evening going up and down the path...maybe in a sort of display of themselves or to be the only early bird to catch the first worm that comes along. I try to make sense of the games they play of posing as hard-to-get, when secretly wishing for the proposal to come along on the knees. I hear the giggles and mindless laughter and how they do not hesitate even for a second before declaring that they are in a committed relationship. I get carried away in their narration of their dreams and anticipation and anxieties of the mysterious future yet to come. I smell the freshness and allure. I taste the freedom and splurge on emotions! And all my senses get attuned to what completely fascinates me.
Aw...take me back to these years yaar...trade all my accumulated and self-professed wisdom and years of wealth and health of course too...but give me back those years when we just cared a damn...!
I remember how the most favourite line of a group of my friends used to be, whenever we were stuck up with a prick... “Sit on the middle finger and spin for all I care” which had almost become our anthem. Indulging in crank calls, attending bashes where the hotties of town collected (including dandias too...eeeeeeeeww...to think of it now), talking for hours on the phone, the greatest discoveries were not truths of life...but the snooping and stumbling upon who is sleeping with whom! How we loved to gossip... character assassination of those where we didn’t dare to reach while within simmering along also, was a silent adulation for them in the hearts! How lying to mom came so naturally (...some things have to be sacred for a teenager), how dreams of careers and the expectancy of the “tall, dark and handsome knight with the shining armour” ruled most of our nights! I miss those years so terribly that I am conscious of a stinging pain somewhere at the loss of it right now!
But then time has to move on and it has moved.
Somewhere in my heart I am still standing at that milestone I crossed almost a decade ago. Somewhere in my heart I know I love too much and equally what I have with me now to really think of giving it up and rotating backwards the hands of time.
But then wistfully let me sojourn back to those years every now and then, when I sit at my window, bogged down by the shovelful of responsibilities ushered upon me...and smile even in my solitude!
Those really were the days!