There i was, washing icing sugar & cream & candied peanut bits off my face, thinking of the pimple which would appear the next day...
It was my birthday, and i got creamed by my friends..narrowly escaped my rear being smashed to pulp to the general glee of public in name of birthday bumps.. a XXXL kurta from the pandavas (was that a hint or a direct statement to lose weight??)... n i was back in my hostel picking bits of peanuts off my hair (the cake was butterscotch with candied peanut topping)
"U got fat"..i spun around to see who the hell is talking to me like that.. i saw a girl, in her teens maybe, vaguely familiar.. she looked disappointed seeing me.
"huh..excuse me", i said.
"u heard me.. u got fat.. 10 years and u still couldnt get into shape?" she is near shouting now..
"who the hell are u?", attack is the best form of defense..
"what?? now i have to introduce yourself to you?? i am you"..
"......"maybe the peanut bit in my nostril had gone up to my brain.. i am hallucinating.. what is going on?? is she nuts?? am i nuts???
"i see that u have become no wiser too.. i am you.. 10 years back.. remember..your 15th birthday..the whole list you wrote down..things to accomplish before you were 25.. i wanted to see how you are doing"
Realization seeps in through the non-porous matters of my head and finally dawns on me.. OMG! no wonder she looked familiar..she is the same girl in my school album.. and what was the list she is talking about.. i dont make lists of things to do..
"so..first.. are you a CEO or something near that yet?""first of all.. i cant believe i was that dumb to think that i would be a CEO or something near by 25.. and no, i am not one yet.. i am a realist now".. (i had already prepared myself for a long night).
"hmm..ok..then what are you now? you have job, right?"
"umm..err..no..i had one..left it..for intellectual improvement..i am back to being a student now"
"ok..something better than nothing i guess.. where but?? IIM? surely your are not still doing your graduation"
"wee..eell..not exactly IIM.. it is IIT...n dont get me started on y i think it is a great school for MBA..believe me, we could go all night on that"
"it seems that you are in a mood to argue.. i like to sleep early..so let us make this snappy.. do u have a car/a few lakhs in bank account/ a swiss army knife?"
"i have a scooter bought from my savings... multiples of 1 lakh in account (multiplier being 0.1) and what the heck am i gonna do with a swiss army knife?"
"swiss army knife when you go backpacking off to the wilderness on your weekends...remember??"
"....."(i dint have the guts to say that my fav weekend activity was catching upon a week's sleep)
"have you mastered any of veena/violin/piano? did you complete that Bharatnatyam and Kathakali course? Did you pursue pencil sketching?"
"no..no and no..I tried a bit during my stint at Pune to resume the classes, but then had to leave it mid-way. Now dancing is limited to gyrations in parties. Sketching..hmm..limited to drawing on hostel wall and basic sketch for flower rangoli during Onam"
"you have a posh apartment overlooking the sea?""no..i now live in a 10x12 ft hostel room overlooking a basket ball court"
"You got friends who would stick with you through thick & thin"
"Oh..praise the lord that atleast something you dint fare that bad.. i guess, asking the rest of the questions is not gonna fetch much good..u tell me what you have been upto these 10 years"
"hmm..let me see, i got into the best college in my state for engineering on merit.. I almost cracked CAT but, then the exam was declared invalid that year..i had a blasting 2 years during my software engineer life at Pune... i made friends who later became my mentors, partners-in-crime and motivators..I never became a maestro in anything but i did try my hands in glass-painting (made my first sale there), horse-riding, swimming, learning salsa & jazz.. I made a difficult choice of giving up a well paying job and good career prospects and took a chance..I got over my stage fear while talking to a large gathering.. I made my parents' eyes swell up with pride more than once..I got over the sibling rivalry phase and realised that life would have been very dreary if not for a sister call your own.. I still get duped because i trust too much.. but i also wised up(?) from a bookworm-ish girl in a convent school to ...hmm..me..i had my share of tears & guffaws .. and i enjoyed the journey till here."
"blah..blah..blah..if nothing you now know how to baffle with bullshit.. but anyways, i guess you did ok.. but a Lambhorgini wouldn't have hurt, you know"
"Maybe in next 10 years"
"Ya..will check that up when i come see you next"
"what?? i dint make any list for the next 10 years this time"
"No.. this time you dint..but u did it at 15.. so, dont try to fool me..you are just fooling yourself."
and just as suddenly as she came... she was gone..