When did I become a grown up?

I’m gonna go out on a limb and say this happens to everyone. Almost everyone, at least. That feeling of “wow! I’m an adult now? When did that happen?”

One of the instances of that feeling accosting me occurred last weekend. I was at my sister’s place and was out for an evening walk with my sister and my 6 month-old niece when three 10-year-ish-looking girls ran towards us, all giggly. I smiled back politely and maybe encouraged by that they proceeded to tell me the story of how they saw “3 frogs.. no wait, there were 4 frogs – 3 big and 1 small.” The long story was told, debates on the size of frogs were made and they ended the story with “Don’t go there Aunty!”

When they said that, I immediately looked at my sister, because in my head, it makes sense for her to be called “aunty”. ‘Coz, you know, she has a kid and stuff. Only catch – they were clearly talking to me.  (Unless all three had crooked eyes. That is a possibility, yeah?) Then I convinced myself that they called me “aunty” ‘coz I was holding the baby – can’t blame the kids for being politically correct, can I? It took me a few more minutes to accept the reality that I am (and I look) old enough to be included in the ‘aunty’ category, especially from a 10-year-olds eye.

As we were walking back, my sister and I ended up talking about the whole ‘oh-man-she-called-me-an-aunty’. (Dear reader, I can sense you rolling your eyes at me now. I’ll stop in a bit. Thank you for your patience!) When we were talking it dawned on us that there is no equivalent term in English for the Malayalam word ‘chechi’. Technically, it means sister, but colloquially, it is used to address all women who appear to be older than you but is no old-old, geddit? You can’t ask people ‘sister, could you help me get an auto?’ whereas ‘chechi, can you help me get an auto?’ is completely acceptable. The vagaries of languages. Sigh.

As for the growing old part, I feel that there is a huge difference between growing up and feeling grown up, though I am still on the fence about the importance of the latter. All this hungama (which I am causing. Yes, I’m aware of that) is reminding me of a conversation from the movie ‘Liberal Arts’ (it’s one of my favourite movies. Go watch it if you haven’t. It’s super amazing.) which goes as follows:

Prof. Peter Hoberg: You know how old I am?

Jesse Fisher: No, how old are you?

Prof. Peter Hoberg: It’s none of your goddamn business. Do you know how old I feel like I am?

Jesse Fisher: [shrugs]

Prof. Peter Hoberg: 19. Since I was 19, I have never felt not 19. But I shave my face, and I look in the mirror, and I’m forced to say, “This is not a 19-year-old staring back at me.”


Prof. Peter Hoberg: Teaching here all these years, I’ve had to be very clear with myself, that even when I’m surrounded by 19-year-olds, and I may have felt 19, I’m not 19 anymore. You follow me?

Jesse Fisher: Yeah.

Prof. Peter Hoberg: Nobody feels like an adult. It’s the world’s dirty secret.

And now you have in on the dirty secret too. You can thank me in the comments. Or send me Bournville – the super dark one, not the raisins one. That works too.

Rant! – Desi Kalakaar??

STATUTORY WARNING: This is a rant – there is a good chance that none of what is said below will make sense. You enter at your own risk.

One of the many strange habits I have (like I-hate-talking-over-the-phone thing) is that I rarely watch TV. Of course, this might be due to the fact that most of the time, you’ll find me holed up with my laptop. Even if I do watch TV once in a while, the channels are mainly confined to music channels and Fox Life. I absolutely hate the serials and beyond-words-stupid stuff like Bigg Boss & Satyameva Jayate (more on that later).

It was while flipping through one of those channels that I saw Poogyaneeya Shri Honey Singh maharshi’s new single, ‘Desi Kalakaar’. Now I’ve heard his previous songs, so I had braced myself to be OMG-ed at his beyond-belief lyrics. However what I was not prepared for was to see Sonakshi Sinha dressed up as a…erm, how to put this politely…hooker? And what was with all the 5-day-old-make-up and barely-there shorts?? Okay, I realize that I am coming across as a kind of judgmental ass here, but hey – this is one of my fav heroines we are talking about!

Sonakshi, right from the start, had charmed me with her unconventional slightly-plump look (which I personally refer to as the ‘Indian look’). My admiration for her had been heightened by her performance in ‘Lootera’ a movie which I loved. So you can hardly blame for being pretty disappointed to see yet another actor bend to the industries pressure and lose their identity. After all, this is an industry where Aishwarya Rai’s and Kareena Kapoor’s malnourished look received much traction as the infamous ‘Size Zero’!

And it is not just the heroines either. One of my roomies, a slightly chubby, rather cute (and extremely immature for her age) 22-year-old keeps asking me if “Di, mai motti hoo kya?” (Yes, she calls me ‘di’. Yes, I cringe every time I hear that. But that is not what we are talking about here. Focus, people!) I initially thought that it was a ploy on her part to just hear it being denied, but turns out, she has been told that she is a ‘moti’ and should lose weight by her boyfriend, her relatives and a good percent of the people she interact with. Is there any wonder that she is so insecure about her looks??

What is it with people and their obsession with body weight? Million dollar question indeed. I found myself asking this question when I was watching ‘Spanglish’ the other day – in the movie, the uptight and snooty mother keeps on telling her slightly plump and very intelligent daughter that she needs to “lose weight”. The obsession we Indians have with skin tone is bad enough, but weight too??


Standing out in the crowd

But if you don't, then you are truly one hell of a person.
But if you don’t, then you are truly one hell of a person. (Image courtesy – http://www.quotehd.com)

The other day, while mulling over a cuppa coffee with a couple of friends of mine, one of my friends mentioned that the one thing she wanted to do in life is to tread a path that hasn’t been cut out yet. This comment of hers had the entire group (including myself) nodding their heads in agreement. Obviously, that is one sentiment shared by countless souls around the world – to “do something different(ly)”. The magic of firsts. Or seconds or thirds, for that matter.

It was only later while walking home braving hordes of horn-blowing demons that it struck me how ridiculous the idea of originality is. I mean, yes it is pretty cool to be a Christopher Nolan in a field that thrill you to the core, but there is an equal amount of awesomeness to being a Marlyin Monroe. Yes, she is as cliched an actress that could be imagined with her chiseled features and come-hither charm. But the fact that she has carved a niche for herself among so many other actresses/wannabes who possess roughly identical skills as she does – that does sound impressive! Does that make sense to you?

What I’m thinking is this. Its perfectly easy to be appreciated for doing something that has never been done before. I mean, there is no yardstick to measure the brilliance of ‘The Lord of the Rings’. That book (and movie) is so good, so brilliant that it needed a brand new scale made just to measure its awesomeness. That is beautiful. Unspeakably beautiful, I agree. But what I’m saying is there is a certain beauty to being the Sonakshi Sinha of Bollywood too.

If people recognize the artist in you even if the only thing you give them is running around trees in multicolour sarees and grandma jewellery (and still manage to make people drool) like a gazillion artists that have come before and after you, is that not a true achievement?