It all began innocuously enough. With Archie Comics – a Double Digest at that. As kids this was one piece of reading that was seriously frowned upon. My mother called it ‘trash’. As we grew older, we discovered more stuff that was soon classified as trash too – like Cosmo and Mills & Boon. But I digress. The compound library is fairly well stocked with fiction and as I later discovered with magazines and comics too. I felt a familiar wave of teenage nostalgia and I grabbed 2 comics.
That evening I put sonny to bed and curled up with the first of my comic books. As I flipped page after page, I just wasnt getting hooked onto Archie’s antics. As a matter of fact I found him shallow and ridiculous. Even Jughead, my fav character just didn’t whet my appetite for further reading. Betty, seemed less like the simple girl next door and more like a doormat and Ronnie who I’d always disliked was the only character who showed some – well – character.
With a lot of effort I managed to finish the first comic. I put my lack of appreciation to tiredness, fatigue, distraction – after all it was the end of the day. Maybe if I read it another time – the old magic would re-work itself.
I next picked up – John Grisham’s King of Torts. Grisham was one author, that I liked to read. Although his novels usually centered on courts and lawyers (except perhaps for The Painted House), I found him pretty good. I hadn’t read a Grisham in the last 3 years. I hadn’t read beyond ‘Da Vinci Code’ in the last 2 years (sad, I know). The King of Torts is in the Grisham genre of lawyers, yet it just didn’t hold me – I found it moralizing, sermonizing, at times just unbelievable. Yes, Grisham always has victory of good – over the corporates (read evil) yet this one was confused. Maybe I was confused. It took me a full week to finish this one – and even then I skipped a lot of pages and speed read the end (which really means I read every alternate para).
Then I wondered, what the hell was going on? It couldn’t be – that I was bored of reading. I still read the papers, a few magazines and a whole lot of blogs.
“You’ve grown up! Finally! Things change, people change” said hubby. That’s what I was worried about. Do people change so much that a lot of things which they take for granted or take as basic don’t hold true anymore? I mean your interest in reading is pretty strong, right? That cant change.
Then came this post by Tamil Punkster which The Mad Momma followed up with her version. TP talks about why marriage is so out for her and TMM talks about why marriage works for her. While reading and commenting on both, I realized that things that we hold as sacrosanct as youngsters (and now that I’m across 30 – I’m not one) probably start losing relevance as you grow up. Because other things start taking precedence and holding more importance to you.
I’ve always planned that I would have a child before I hit 30 and that within a year, I would be back at my job. The baby would be taken care of by a good nanny and I’d have my mom over to supervise the nanny. My mom is supervising a nanny – except the kid is not mine. Its my brother’s child. And here I am hundreds of miles away, being a housewife and taking care of sonny myself. What about my job? I chucked it 3 years ago. We’d been married for 6 months – hubby in Canada and me in Mumbai both holding our jobs and both being extremely unhappy. So I said good-bye to a job I loved and moved to Canada to be with hubby, with a man I loved and to start a family of my own. But then the choice was mine – and the choice really was – what made me happier? Sure I loved the job, but I guess I loved the man more.
A similar dilemma presented itself again – when I got the ‘I want a job’ pangs. I received an offer from an ad agency. Except that they were based in Dubai. Which meant I would have to split the family again. And this time – there was sonny to take care of too. Would I want the job and keep the father and son away? Probably seeing each other – once in 2 months with hubby missing out on all his daily antics. Was I ready to be a single parent for all practical purposes? Was I ready to be away from hubby – for a second time in our 3 years of married life? Sure I wanted the job, but I wanted the family even more so.
So yes, as a working woman there were things that I wanted – that I thought were non-negotiable, Yet time and circumstances made them the less ‘wanted’ objects. And all these transitions, decisions, choices, were made without too much angst. You instinctively knew what was the right thing to do.
So coming back to the original question. Does a person change so much over time, that things he/she holds sacrosanct looses relevance? Do circumstances play such a big role that valued objects lose their value? And then when you sit down and think about it – you don’t even think its such a big deal that you’ve made such a huge change in your thinking or plans?
Does that make you easily adaptable (which is a plus)? Or does it mean that you weren’t pretty strong in your original intent anyways (Uh-huh)?
Or does it mean – that finally you’ve become an adult, in its true sense. That you have the clarity of vision to see what you have and what you want in the long run. To put your ego aside and say “I may have wanted this but this is what I will need in the long run”. And yes, it means foregoing what was held as dear. To stand steadfast to the decisions even when others doubt you. To take what you’ve been served – even if its not to plan and devise a new plan around it.
Perhaps it does.
And who knows a few years down the line, even this will seem part of a bigger better plan/picture. I’m going to end this post with Ruyard Kipling’s If. Its apiece I have always loved. Everytime I read it – it fills me with fresh vigor and intent. I used to have it pinned up on my soft board at work. Must take a printout and put it on my fridge.
IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!