Tuesday, July 04, 2006

I am the Master of my Fate. I am the Captain of my Soul

I want to say this before I turn 31 in the middle of this month. It’s been brewing in my head for ever so long now; a seedling of a thought brought on by the newness of the New Year, now grown into full fledged thoughts.

I was not a ‘successful’ teenager in any sense of the word. All these years on all I recall was being desperately awkward, pudgy and not particularly popular. I spoke too much (and this was not an endearing quality) just to cover up my teen insecurities, was basically the odd one out who never really fit into any one group of friends and mainly spent my high school years flitting between the teenage cliques that dominate the school hierarchies. Some of it had to do with being in a school where most of kids came from creative background families: journalists, publishers, IAS officers, gallery owners, news readers, rich industrialist entrepreneurial families. My dad was in ‘service’, worked in an office and my mum was a ‘home manager’ making sure me and the Nik ate well, studied hard and generally grew up alright. I was never embarrassed by this difference (and I am so thankful my mum was home when I got home each day) just acutely aware of it. I tried to gravitate towards the ‘service’ background kids but didn’t really find any group to belong to, just one-off friends (some who’d last a year or two till we moved to different sections) with whom to walk to the canteen every few days, to share girlie chatter. Then I tried desperately to fit into the cool arty family teen groups but just did not fit. Again I found a few friends from this group, people willing to engage with me on an individual level but not really willing to be my introduction and support into a group in which I truly didn’t belong. By the time I was finishing school the whole ‘trying to fit in’ got boring, then frustrating and then I just walked away. I lasted on my single friendships quite well. Anyway, school did end and with it all the angst of not belonging.

It was only temporary. I got to college and hostel life - all the way at the opposite end of the country. I was thrilled by the idea of a whole college of people to possibly befriend. Year 1 was easy as I bonded instantly with the 5 other girls whom I shared a flat with, 3 to a room. Then we moved to a hostel and I got my first taste of late teen rejection. The rooms were built to line either side of a corridor. Every set of two rooms were connected by a shared bathroom in the middle, with interconnecting doors. As the hostel was new and huge there was no pressure on rooms and the 6 of us decide to share 4 rooms facing each other. So my 2 roommates and I had to decide who would be the singleton and which two would share the room on the other side of the bathroom. It was a similar situation for the other 3. I pulled the short straw as my two roommates chose to share and for me to live on my own in the other room. I was devastated, my teen eyes seeing this as outright rejection. I kept up my brave face (which was difficult to start with) but as with all things time evened out the creases and found joy. I eventually grew to love my own space (who wouldn’t – two beds, two cupboards, two desks – more than enough place to spread out my junk and no nagging roommate demanding spic and span cleanliness) and we remained great friends for the rest of our college days.

When I started working I was a bit at sea again where friends were concerned. I was in a city where the language was not familiar and the possible office colleague/friends all kept breaking into their own language/ culture things. I found my way though, growing more confident with the passing year and adapting to make myself more friendly/ approachable; basically forcing them into being my friends. Not attractive but very essential in my minds eye.

Back to work in Delhi in my mid-twenties I suddenly found myself in a group of friends just on the back of being V’s girlfriend. And it was fabulous. Suddenly I was included not just by accident, clumsily in the middle of a group, but for real. And what a grand time we had! But all good things must come to an end and after 3 years we all moved to different cities to pursue different things.

I don’t mean any of the above to sound sad or pity seeking. It’s not in any way. I have plenty of dear friends; individuals from school, college, different work places who have kept in touch even in the tbe (time before e-mail). Equally I have slipped out of touch with a whole bunch of people, time and circumstance just overtaking their importance. It’s just to put some chronological order to my life in the context of friendships: for me to be sure of where I’m coming from, and know where I’m headed.

All I’ve been thinking these past months since I turned 30 was that my immense need to be popular, be swamped by friends who loved me, was gone. *Poof*. Just. Like.That.

I think the 30’s can be a time of great personal security. It’s like a magical feeling of finally knowing your place in the world, being surrounded by the few lasting friendships that truly matter, being confident in what you do, who you are and finally shedding the insecurity that comes with youth. That is not to say that there aren’t any insecurities, because there are. Just more mature ones, things that don’t hinge on looks or brains or how many people will invite you to their chaperoned dance parties.

I feel all grown up. Responsible, mature and sure of what I’m here for. Secure enough to spill out my guts on a blog read by me and 3 unknown people.

I love being 30. Enough said.


  1. '...on a blog read by me and 3 unknown people.'

    and 1 known person :)

  2. My 30's have also been so much better than my 20's. Touche!
    Plus, a premature-Happy Birthday to you! Have a great day.

  3. Wonderful to see you corroborate one of my pet theses.

    Believe me, it just gets better from here on.


  4. Anonymous10:35 AM

    this is the yr i turn the big 3-0...reassuring to know that things just get better!
    and yes, you are a great 'group person'!!:)

  5. Yes Shoefie, 1 known person thank the lord!!

    Sunrayz, The 30's do rock and many thanks for the wishes.

    Alfred: I believe you. All my misgivings about turning 'older' have just dissipated. Its so nice not having any 'youthful' pressure. Nice to be comfortable in my own skin for once.

    Bosk: The turning into 30 is a bit scary because you don't know what to expect and you have stress pangs of losing your young days forever. But once you get there you will love it! Don't know if I am a group person but certainly loved being in that group!

  6. Here's to the fabulous 30s.

  7. Happy Birthday from someone who has a couple of years to go b4 30!!

  8. The 30's perspective. :p

    When I turn 30, i'll refer to this blog to pick up a couple of things :p

    Happy 31st B'day. I can already smell the cake cooking in the oven :D

  9. Opppss.. cake baking in the oven.. :D Ahhh, whtever :p

  10. yup, at one point its more the merrier types, as we grow older we just wanna hold on to the dear ones tightly!

  11. Jane, my endless motto has become ' Here's to the 30s'!!

    Manish, thanks. May your journey to your 30s be filled with fun.

    Me, you won't need this blog when you turn 30 - your own will be full of advice although I hope endless drinking and smoking aren't part of the perspective!!

    Shub, it's all about becoming more selective as you grow more mature. What seemed like a great crowd in your 20s seems like a bunch of hangers on and its all just too tiring. I can no longer recall how to have a simultaneous conversation with 30 people - as I did in my 20s!!??