By Pranav V
I noticed a peculiar thing at my workstation yesterday. My keyboard has 105 keys. I’ve never used some of them… because I don’t know what they’re for. A sudden sense of déjà vu overwhelmed me. It seemed as though, in the blink of an eye I had teleported to some other place. I was sitting on a cream coloured Nilkamal chair whose smooth surface had been scratched into a hideous texture. There was a 26” Onida CRT television in front of me on whose screen was a short, pudgy, mustachioed Italian plumber trying to save Princess Peach. I was trying to figure out the brand new joystick in my hand. Okay. I got this. This button makes Mario jump. This one to make him move… and all this while my whiny little baby brother cradled in amma’s arms, screaming in his high pitched baby voice, ‘Lemme play… lemme play’. Realization hit me like a ton of bricks. This was the place I’d learned to call home… some fifteen years ago.
After five minutes or so I had to yield when amma spoke in the I-will-tell-Dad-if-you-don’t-move voice. Oh… how I hated my brother for all the baby-privileges he got. And so he played and played and played till he felt drowsy and I sulked in one corner cursing God, ‘I didn’t know it was going to be this way! Take him back!’, because they had told me it was God who gave him to amma. I just assumed God could as easily take him back.Later at night amma would call me aside in the kitchen and give me a few extra pieces of mussel fry and say, ‘Only for you. Don’t tell anyone.’, and just like that I would forget that I was sulking.
Slowly, my brother started growing up and I started hating him less… because his baby-privileges were downgraded to he-is-the-younger-one privileges. Subsequently he started hating me… because at some point his privileges were withdrawn and I started getting certain privileges. When my brother sulked, the only explanation he got was ‘because your brother is elder than you’. That is when I started to like growing up. I wanted to be an adult now. I wanted the adult-privileges. I wanted to stay out till late evening. I wanted to take a bath when I wanted to and not when amma told me to. I wanted to learn to ride my father’s Bajaj Chetak. I wanted the channel not to be changed every time two sets of lips came close to each other on TV. I wanted to know what happened during those times in the movie Titanic when amma had changed the channel. I wanted to grow up as fast as possible.
Now I know all of it was a trap. Growing up is a trap. They told me about the privileges. They didn’t mention the responsibilities. They didn’t tell me how much of a burden it is to live with the knowledge that you are responsible for certain things. They didn’t tell me that all I really needed to know about Titanic was that all of them had died in the end.
I read something yesterday, which affected me greatly. “Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never being satisfied.” All I want now is to go back to that Bajaj Chetak, that Nilkamal chair, that Onida TV, that Super Mario game and my whiny little brother. I want to go home.
About the Author
Pranav belongs to the 2010 12th Standard batch of Amrita Vidyalayam, Kuthuparamba. He is currently working at the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India and resides in Hyderabad. He pens down his thoughts at http://blankpagesofmynotebook.blogspot.com