Saturday, January 20, 2007

Early twenties hitting hard 2

The debris from the explosion have flown quite a distance, the stink of burnt human flesh still ripe in the air. They say the only assurance of survival during wartime is the sound of gunshots, but while distant death chants are being fired aplenty, being in the midst of an actual war makes them sound like inexperienced idiots yapping from the luxury of their living room sofas. The tanks are drawing closer every second as the two of us, stained in blood, dirt and mud, make a desperate crawl through the forest for survival; but the tanks are grinding in fast…the end is nigh…ghosts shouldn’t be white…oh no school’s over – I’m going to be bored now…

Sometimes I wonder what goes on under that dense clump of hair when I go to sleep at night. On one such occasion, as I woke up (once again) from the jaws of death, clearly disturbed by the goings on in my virtual world, realization dawned upon me. I realized that – God willing – while I’ll somehow get my buttocks saved in Dreamland over and over again down the years, there are other things that I will never experience again. I realized I would never learn to walk or talk again, I would never beam in pride after having gobbled up a large pizza for the first time in my life again, I would never wonder where babies come from again, and the list went on and on. Like a million hits per second.

To summarize, I realized I was twenty-one and a half. Holy Quackamoly! Where the heck did all those years go?!

Eight and a half years later, I’ll be thirty, and then forty, and then old. Bah, humbug!

And then I also realized I was sounding like my parents. I guess now I know why people wish they were back to childhood again. The innocence of youth is priceless, and the inexperience also prevents you from realizing that you’ve used the word “realize” too many times in your writing, and feel bad about it. Bah.

So I started off with a dream, and ended up here. So much for “flow”. However, I’ve never really enjoyed making an attempt to make my writing flow, because my thoughts never flow. My dreams never flow; neither do my nightmares. Back in high school, my English teacher had employed several adjectives to describe me in the light of my writing, most of them indicating her strong desire to wrap her fingers around my neck and strangle me until I was twice as dead as the average dead person. Although I had lived up to her expectations in the end, I told myself after high school that I was never going to do it again.

The fact that I will never again be a toddler with nothing to worry about, or a teenager just making his way past all the anxieties come adolescence, does bother me. However, flipping the coin, I also realize (dang! did it again) that there is so much more that I haven’t done yet, and so much to look forward to. I was on the subway with my mom one day, and a transvestite walked in. I noticed my mom stealing glances at him/her, so I thought she was thinking what I was thinking. When we got off the train and I asked her, she responded, “Yes, she has beautiful eyes, doesn’t she?”

“No, mom, she used to be a man. I mean she’s still a man”.

Back then, my mom was forty-four, and she had never seen a transvestite until that day. Albeit all my insistence, she would not accept that she had just seen one; the concept of a man acting like a woman and getting transplants was too alien for her. I wonder what explanation she would come up with if she had seen two guys kissing. “They are just brothers”. Oh no!

I personally don’t find anything wrong with someone being homosexual or some guy acting like a woman – whatever makes them happy. However, denial is a major tool for many people when they try to explain something that they regard as out of the ordinary, which is also ok – it’s really just human nature. Even then, whether in denial or not, the fact that my mom saw a transvestite for the first time in forty-four years opens a whole new basket of optimism for myself – it tells me that I too, have hope. The world offers a humongous reserve of surprises, home to not only transvestites and homosexuals, but also to stuff like mid-life crises, a full-time job, illegal kids and divorces. Not too sure why I mentioned a full-time job in the same sentence.

Then again, there’s the good stuff that comes with getting older. When I, along with some of my co-workers, almost got killed by a sheet of ice sliding off the roof of a four-level building the other day, one of my colleagues, twenty-fourish, went red and totally freaked out. “There’s so much that I want to do!” He may have been over-reacting, but it shows how huge the bundle of what life still has to offer is.

My boss, on the other hand, was calm – “Meh, happens to me everyday”. One word - experience.

So as I bask in the light and heat of a 100W bulb on a Saturday afternoon, reflecting on my early days and how cool it would have been to go back, I also see myself bitching about not being in my twenties twenty years from now (if I make it that far, that is). With the dawn of 2007, I guess my aim in life for the new-year would be to try and make the most of the advantage of being younger than the average forty year old, then.


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