So the summer holidays have started and am back to my home from my hostel, and inspite of the fact that it took all of twenty minutes in our car and a back seat full of clothes and stuff dumped in poly bags (of all things!!) for me to make that journey, am actually feeling pretty euphoric about it. And I can’t help feeling just how good it is to be home, to be in my room…to have something called my space. Although it doesn’t take my mother long to tell me that they are not going to let me have my room renovated since I hardly stay there…and no, all the things she’d stuffed in there in the obvious misconception that my room is a store room will definitely not be removed. And yet, I’m contented with the fact that at least I can call it my room. That my Mom actually asked me if I’m okay with my cousin staying in my room in my absence, also adding that she’ll be moved to another room whenever I am home. And that made me reflect on the changes (major ones, too) that have taken place over the years, slowly but surely…and its like its suddenly hit me today that I AM grown up now…Fancy how I never thought this day would come…
I remember having a similar kind of realisation the day I could reach the top of our kitchen shelf (where Mom would keep all the goodies we weren’t supposed to have unless there are guests around and we’re actually offered some….plus the much coveted can of powdered milk) and also the catch of our kitchen door. Having been always the one to stand right in the front of the assembly line in school, it was honestly something to get promoted to the somewhat respectable middle of the line. Being taller certainly gave me a new perspective of things.
I guess growing up also meant my cousins (almost all of them girls and older than me) didn’t have to stop midway in the discussion they were having, the moment I enter the room. It also meant being able to ask “What?” when they were having one of their innumerable giggly fits, and actually getting the answer to that. Even though half the times I wouldn’t understand what was so funny. And growing up meant being allowed to sleep in the same room as all the cousins and stay awake till the middle of the night having hushed conversations about boyfriends and crushes, instead of being sent away to sleep with all the aunts. The only regret I would always have is that I never got to do this to anybody…being the youngest and all, but then again, you can’t have everything.
I remember being ecstatic the day I realised I could wear my sister’s clothes….and although that was just the advent of another war period (“No! Am so not letting you wear this today”s and “You always ruin all my clothes whenever you wear them”s), things do change once you realise you share a common size, if not anything else. And mercifully that blessed connection still remains, although minus the heated arguments. We’ve certainly come a long way from there….I mean, I can still remember a time when any sort of make up was contraband at our place, and my darling sister being anti-make up too, I never had a chance to plead my case in front of our parents. And now, we actually talk (and that too on the phone!) about the kind of make-up she should wear for different occasions…we use terms like day-wear and night-wear, and know about shades like nude and peach. But for me the best part is my Mom, of all people, mentioning to me just today morning that she should get a darker shade of lipstick…which just goes to show how successful I have been as her mentor in the art of make-up.And if that’s not a sign of growing up I don’t know what is.
But hang on, I feel grown up when I’m asked if I am sure I can take my granny on her first flight to Kolkata all on my own. And that, after a time when I was asked if I thought I could go without my parents with just Granny to take care of me on a trip to Sipajhar. I feel grown up when my Mom says she stops thinking about half her worries once I’m around because she knows I will have already thought about them and also come up with ways around them. And I feel grown up when Dad says I am his Uninterrupted Power Supply….and that’s all he needs to say for me to know that now its also my parents counting on me and not just the other way round.
And yeah, I just realised today that when you grow up its not like you think about things different from those you did earlier…you think about the same things, just differently. I mean, you may think about love, but love no longer means the heady feeling you have each time you think about him, and neither does it mean having to talk to him every other hour just so he knows you’re thinking about him. And when you are warmed by his presence even though he’s miles away and even though you’re not thinking about him, you kind of realise that you seem to have grown out of that “I’ll die if I have to live away from you” phase.
You think about marriage, but no longer as the dreaded event which will make you leave your parents and live elsewhere and neither as something that’ll let you have that blessed day of your life where you get to deck up like a doll and know for sure that you’re the prettiest of all. You think about your job, but by this time you actually know what you’re going to do…and your decision normally isn’t affected by the next flash of inspiration you get while watching TV ads. You think about the home you would like to live in, but you also know that the perfect house you saw in the pages of that glossy magazine isn’t really a possibility.
I know my sister will argue about how I just think that I’ve grown up but I’m still a kid. I know my Mom will lovingly shake her head and say I’ll always be her baby. And I so know all my friends will laugh their head off at the very idea of me talking about growing up (have never been able to give a favourable impression of the grown up lady I so think I am in front of them till date, actually). But just so they know I am grown up, I will not retort… and I will rest my case.