It was my grandson Vinayak’s 11th birthday. He had been eagerly waiting for the day, keeping an account of the friends he was going to invite, speculating on how many would turn up, anticipating the gifts they would bring and planning the yummy McDonald’s menu. He was least interested in the outfit he would be wearing as his mother was taking care of that. He had one complaint that time was passing slowly.
There was still a week to go when I called him up to ask about what gift he would like. When I asked him if he was set for the party, he replied in the affirmative. Then I asked him how many days were left for the grand day and he said,
“Two years and six days.” I was taken aback and wanted to know how that was possible. “Two years and six days for me to become a teenager,” he said in a matterof-fact manner.
I was confused, curious and surprised at the reply but decided not to argue. “Oh! And what’s going to happen then,” I asked. “I don’t know, but lots of fun things,” he said.
After exchanging pleasantries, our conversation ended. But I got thinking about what Vinayak was really looking forward to? Some wonderful things like the latest model of PSP (PlayStation Portable) or a branded watch or the latest cellphone? Who knows what runs in the child’s head on the brink of the most exciting roller coaster ride of life - the teenage years.
To try and understand his mind, I got into flashback mode to see what I went through at that time. I thought of adding changes the contemporary living was bringing about to try and get some idea of what he was thinking. Rewinding to when I entered the teens I remember being happy. I am one of those blessed people who have had a wonderful childhood. Loved beyond measure and pampered within decent but vast limits, I have had it all. But this is in hindsight.
When I was living my teens, each day was either ecstatic or miserable. Small gifts, good word from the teachers,
preferences by friends, going to the cinema (oh yes!) made the day joyous, so much so that the buoyancy made it difficult to walk, I just seemed to fly or float. The reverse was exactly the opposite. When I found myself at the receiving end of a refusal or reprimand, I would wish the world would end.
Of course now that I am on the other side of the super (or terrible) teens I can actually enjoy that phase of life. I can even call it the best in a bittersweet way. The only issues at hand were preparing for the exams; having to get up early, not being able to do my own thing. Looking back, I feel that there was pleasure in the painful refusals. Life was pulsating at the optimum, happiness and distress alike.
I wish similar feelings for Vinayak and all the children who are keenly looking forward to that traumatic but fantastic stage of their lives. I wish them to go forth and enjoy, all the good moments that come their way and learn from all the difficulties, there is pleasure in the pleasure and there is pleasure in the pain too. This phase passes too fast, so make the most of it.
This is the period when innumerable opportunities arise, when all doors are ready to be opened, and the world is theirs for the taking. I wish them to go ahead and walk the untrodden path.
That is my prayer for all the adults of tomorrow.