Teen years – the age of trouble, of confusion, of self- revelation, of acknowledgement of truth about the self, of angst and most of all, this process called ‘fitting-in’. They say, if you can come out of it with a better view of things both inside and outside, you are on your way to make something bright and beautiful of your life. This August, I turned 19 – the last leg of my teenage years and so I thought, why not look back on life and judge for myself, judge the trail I left behind, judge what I’ve learnt so far, judge the things I’ve discovered about myself and everyone else, judge what I am, what I could be…
Well, needless to say, I was disappointed when I looked back at the life I’ve lived – there were so many things yet undone, I hadn’t yet discovered a magic way to make me rich without having to study, I hadn’t been to Europe yet, didn’t meet any major star and most of all, I didn’t yet having the feeling of being grow up, with the confidence to say that I can do EVERYTHING on my own…in short, I wasn’t the way I thought nineteen-year-olds should ideally be back. A far cry from my early teens, when I had the very wrong impression that being almost-twenty is a huge deal. The biggest disappointment was the fact that I hadn’t yet found out within me, just where I wanted my life to go from here.
But all of us have lessons that we have leant – momentary bouts of wisdom, where perhaps, we start seeing the world with a different perspective, start seeing things around us the way they are and not the way they should be, these are times when we discover that the world is so full of grey shades, the dark grey that permeates even the ‘happy’ colors present in life. No matter how worthless or how uneventful our histories might have been, it is these flashes of sudden consciousness to facts hitherto unnoticed that makes everything that happens worthwhile, irrespective of the fact that we might have been hurt, shattered or broken because of what happened. I took a long hard look at my life and found that it is these incidents/phases/lessons in our otherwise planned life that stand out more than anything else and well; I would like to share one of them with the readers.
When I was 16, I lost a friend to road rage. He loved biking, loved cruising on the highway. He would do crazy stunts on his bike that amused us, but would never alarm us. One fine Sunday evening, his bike hit a speeding bus and the world was over for him. He died on the spot- a big bang, a shriek and then, silence forever. It was hard coping with that because I had not realized till that moment just how about anybody could die, in an instant, with no indication, no premonition, coldly, flat on the road with no mom or dad to make dying easier. Till that day, all the statistics on road accidents, all the safety rules, all the lectures on being careful had not really mattered. But that Sunday, things changed- not only that there was a gaping hole left behind in our lives but the also that all of us realized how lucky we are to be living the lives we do, how precious we are to our family, how loved we are, how the ‘lectures’and‘sermons’ preached to us do mean something- not just noises to avoid.
He was not the only friend whose death I had to deal with. There were more lives that ended with painful conclusions. Pain, death, rejection, sufferings- life’s lessons for us never end. In these nineteen years I’ve seen friends go through so much- addiction, alcohol abuse, depression, suicidal tendencies. Sometimes thinking about all that makes me wonder whether this happens only in my generation- these cruel experiences life metes out to us, the loss, the grieving, the feeling of being torn between blaming God, blaming the victims or blaming unknown strange faces we hold responsible for things that happen to people we love. I wonder if my parents had had to sit through the funerals of their friends, cry through the process of not knowing what tomorrow holds, restlessly awaiting the verdict that life would deal.
We think nothing of the percentages or numbers staring at us- the solid figures at the end of surveys. It is only when “we” or someone around us gets affected or is a part of that statistic, that they start making sense. Only then do the numbers stop being just that and start implying that they stand for real people, flesh and blood with bodies that hurt and spirits that break, vulnerable people with dreams like ours and hopes like everyone else.
‘Growing up’ is a complicated thing- and at the end of my article, I would like to say that I haven’t really discovered anything about myself or haven’t really come to a concrete conclusion about what my life stands for. But I guess, if everything had finality or if everything culminated in something definite and crisp and precise instead of being puzzling and ambiguous, life would not be that way it is. I guess, it is the beauty of life- the fact that you know so much about it and the more you know, the more you realize that the amount of things you don’t understand keeps growing at a really fast rate.
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