Perusing through my book of memories, I find there are an uncountable number of instances when I was twenty but acted like a two-year-old and when I was small but understood or at least grasped the complexity of a given situation. There are moments in life where you need to shed every bit of the child within you, to tear apart the chains of childish aspirations that weigh you down.
You are an adult when you learn to take ‘no’ for an answer; you’re an adult when you learn to make compromises for the greater good; and yes, you ‘are’ an adult when you press the ‘close’ button on your screen in the midst of binge watching a good sitcom.
I personally feel that one doesn’t transform into an adult, one simply dons the cape of being an adult or a child when the opportunity presents. For our grandparents become children while playing with us and us teenagers and young adults become adults while making impossible choices: to either splurge on our pocket money or to but our loved ones a gift.
Besides being addicted to marijuana, alcohol, and cigarettes I was addicted to bunking; the former precisely being the reason for the latter. During college, I had to call my parents due to the same aforementioned reason and the encounter was not at all what you would expect-
“But please, sir,” I requested our department’s HOD to consider, but from the looks he threw towards me and from the tone of his voice I was sure he would never have considered it. Through his heavy spectacles, he glanced me and graced me with his final words “Get out”.
“My parents are not here, sir,” I said, finally shelving out the final card in my sleeve. “My mother is sick and my father is in Delhi for a meeting.” I intertwined my index finger and forefinger- a common superstition that would mean reversing the lie; bending it to match the truth.
“Look, boy,” said an authoritative voice, with an air of finality; “your local guardian was of no use, he could not satisfy me with his answers, better lies.”
That was one of the times I acted like an adult only to lie; to save my precious butt. The end did not go well, well not according to my plan. Life is all about choices, our choices alone define us, makes us look like either a mature adult or an undisciplined kid. There may be different actions which in the process of executing them made us either an adult or a child; for me it was love.
Me: “I’m sorry I said those harsh words if only I could take them back…”
She: “Well, the words have been spoken and you couldn’t possibly take them back without
But words cannot be taken back once spoken like a cannon ball. The problem was it hit the target a little too hard. I knew I had blown the chance of getting close to her, forever. Over the course of a few months (or maybe for a whole year), my heart bled profusely. I felt like a fool, but that helped me even though I didn’t realize it at first.
Transforming into an adult sometimes takes years, but on the contrary being a child takes very less. My grandmother becomes a child whenever I gift her chocolates. She smiles through her gums and half broken teeth and that makes me happy.
Back then, during my schooling, I bunked a lot. So much that it became a bad habit.
There I sat abhorred and laden with thoughts pertaining to free body diagrams and Newtonian mechanics; the otherwise white board filled with the scribbling of the toughest problems I’ve ever related myself with. The institute prided in getting its students placed amongst the top ranking individuals in any decent entrance examinations. But success comes at a hefty price nowadays, does it not?
Oblivious of everything, I decided to write something on the desk- covered with shining plywood smelling of varnish. I wrote a question, “Am I destined for something bigger?”
*Almost a year and a half later*
Yes, I was caught red handed. My father cried when sir showed him the attendance register, where beneath my name the whole column save some, cried blank; like a desert with a few oases here and there. On sir’s instructions, I am told to wait in our classroom; the classroom seemed like an old memory suddenly jogged into existence.
I walk towards my seat at the end edge of the room where I had scribbled a question many months ago-
“Am I destined for something bigger?”
Below the question was a faded ‘YES’ which was crossed and replaced with a big, gruesome ‘NO’.
Being an adult or a child is just a state of mind.