Saturday, 18 January 2014


I sit on the couch in our living room, my mind buzzing with anxiety about my oncoming exams. Vaguely, I wonder if I made the right choice. Do I really want to become what I think I want to become? I look around the room, at the people that I call my family.
My mother talks about my 5-year-old brother to my dad - recalling a little incident that took place in the park. It is a very ordinary evening, my parents are both crooning over how their son said a really sweet thing to our grandmother.
As my parents talk, my brother sits right there, playing with his little cars. He hears my mother immitate him, and, even though she means it in a good way, he gets offended. He tells them to stop laughing at him. They try to make him understand that they aren't, but he just isn't ready to listen. He picks up his cars and stomps to the next room, banging the door behind him. After giving him a minute, my mother cracks the door open and asks him if she might come in. He ignores her. She enters the room and, I don't know what happens in there, but two minutes later he is shouting her out of the room.
Meanwhile my dad, sitting beside me on the couch, says, 'What will we do with this kid? He gets mad for the smallest of things!'
I keep quiet. The major part of my mind is following a similar train of thoughts, but the other part is thinking back to my own toddler tantrums. You were just like that, remember? says a tiny voice that I'm sure belongs to the latter part of my brain.
'Wasn't I just like that?' I ask my dad, without thinking.
'Oh, you were. You were one hell of a drama queen. You loved all the attention.'
I smile. Did you, now? Think about it, the tiny voice chimes in, but this time it doesn't sound so tiny.
So, I think. Did I really do it for the attention? I mean, I was just a kid. No. No, I don't think so. Suddenly, I remember. I remember that I hated listening to people talk about me like I wasn't even there. I remember how my parents used to discuss everything about me - good, or bad; and sometimes with my sister - right in front of me. And I remember being mad at them for it. It is a silly thing, if you think about it. But it makes me realise something. It makes me realise how, even at that age, we wish to be treated as equals - it's human nature. And once we cross that age, once we begin to understand the language - to process what we hear as something that has meaning - we become fully human.
To wish to be treated like an equal by adults is, of course, silly. The kid doesn't get that, though. What we can do is try to understand what he does get. We can.
I realise that everyone, no matter how young or old, appreciates being understood. This makes me think of myself, as I am now. A teenager. The category of people who feel misunderstood all the time. Is that how parents think of teenage tantrums, too? Do they really think we like to do it for the spotlight? No, they've also been there, right? They know how it was when they were our age. Or do they? I mean, sure, they know. But do they still remember? And if they do remember, do they still understand? So many questions.
Today, I am in that phase where I have begun to find kids annoying. I have begun forgetting what it was like to be a toddler, to be that innocent and tiny. So how much longer would it take me to forget how it was to be a teen?

A cousin of mine, at 24, has already begun forgetting how certain things were very important to her when she was in school. When I mention them, she tells me I'm stupid to give them importance. Perhaps I am. But I remember how these same things used to be as important to her as they are now to me. She has forgotten all about it, though.
Now, forgive me the lack of seemly modesty when I say that I am a keen observer. I observe people, and I learn little things. So far, I've learnt one particularly important lesson. Everyone does something for a reason. When you are mad at someone, try to put yourself in their place. Try to understand their perspective and their position. Be fair; think what you would do if you were in their place. It'll help prevent you from being a jerk to anyone.
This time, I learnt that 'everyone' includes kids, too. But I wonder. Will the same thing happen to me? Will I grow up and forget how it felt, being a child? Probably. And so, I thought I would write this down, just for the record. 'Cause, as the saying goes, 'Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young.'

Coming back to my initial reverie, I think maybe I should become a shrink. Giving people my precious advice, and charging them for it; listening to all their problems... Nah, that one could be depressing. I guess I'm going to stick to my current career plans after all.

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