Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Of Change and Continuance ...

Well I am turning another year older at the stroke of midnight...another year wiser?...well maybe, maybe not...can't vouch for the wiser part of it ...going over one of the first big hills, as they say...does growing another year older make that big a difference...well not really, I tell myself, I don't feel any different than what I was in my early twenties...age is just a number in the mind , isn’t it?...hmmm...well I don't think I am being completely honest here, am I :-)!

After all, I do realize that my biological clock is ticking...I keep getting feelers about that from my mom and mom-in-law every time I call home…they don’t lose a chance to enforce and reinforce on me the fact that it’s about time D and I started thinking about life beyond just the two of us…

After all, when hubby dear asked me about what I wanted to do on my birthday weekend and gave me two options...a drunken weekend away at a party destination or something more quiet at a serene destination, I did opt for the latter...I am laughing out loud, imagining a very dear friend of mine, P, pull my leg about this by saying something to the effect of ”Tu buddhi ho gayin hain" on having opted for the latter... LOL :-)

Anyways, that's that...but this post is not just really about me growing another year older or another year wiser...it's me reminiscing about the past three decades of my life...it's about how a lot of things have changed and a lot haven’t, as I have evolved as a person over the years...

It all started with a rather carefree life, growing up in the beautiful hills of Shillong, Meghalaya...friends, family, birthday parties, indo chinese dinners, long drives, chocolates, teddy bears, mickey mouse club, school concerts,great times essentially...Papa loves cars and driving and I remember in those days, if he got back late from work, to make it up to us, he would bring back loads of chocolates and would just keep honking the horn of the car on the driveway till we got out of the home...and off we would go, all four of us, for a long drive across the beautiful town and hills of Shillong, and that would invariably end in one of the most delicious Indo Chinese dinner places in the world, "ABBA"...lovely summer vacations at my paternal grandparents in Guwahati...memorable winter vacations in Jorhat with my maternal grandparents...family vacations to other parts of India...now , you would say it was vacation time for the major part of the year then...well sort of...you know how life in a hill station in the 80s was...relaxed, carefree and pristine, among affectionate, friendly and warm locals, without the added burdens of "touristyness" and “commercialization” we associate with most Indian hill stations these days...an almost fairy tale like existence...

Imagine a beautiful house on a hilltop surrounded by pine trees...a gentle chill and breeze in the air...a family of four replete with a white Alsatian, running around the grounds of the home...family time, with adorable parents and a bratty little brother, by the warm fireplace in the living room...friends and neighbors moving in and out of each others homes, all well fed with delicious home made food, happy and contented in each others’ company, completely oblivious to the vicissitudes of life...that was what life was all about in the my first ten years into this world…

Since then I’ve seen a lot of ups and downs in my own life and in the lives of near and dear ones...I have evolved from wanting to become an air hostess (inspired by none other than the Kittu Gidwani starrer by the same name that used to be aired on Doordarshan on Sunday nights)...to a cop...to an air force pilot...to an astronaut...to a doctor (the romanticized version of Erich Segal, of course )...to a teacher...to a genetic engineer( fancy huh...this was at a time when I hardly knew what genes were :-))...to a physicist...and finally ended up as the stereotypical ‘electrical and computer engineer’...it’s a different matter all together that D, the industrial engineer in the family,is a zillion times better at all the theoretical and practical electrical and technological troubleshooting than I am...Oh well...you know what, I feign ignorance(that’s a good excuse for outright incompetence, aint’t it :-))!! On a slightly different note, once an uncle of mine was advising D that he should feign ignorance and prove his incompetence in all household chores early on in the marriage...apparently once that’s done, it would make sure that the wifey (yes, I) would forever relieve D from the travails that the tedious household tasks entail...LOL...well am I glad that I overheard that conversation, otherwise D would have gleefully succeeded using that tactic on me his entire life!!

Coming back to the point, over the years I have sobered down from being a rebellious feminist to a realist...I have evolved from the feisty teenager, who thought she could take on a system single handedly and bring about much needed changes, overnight, to someone who has matured enough to realize that small , individual changes in a system, over time, eventually lead on to bigger, better ones...I have evolved from an ambitious teenager, with big dreams, to someone who has realized that there are sweeter pleasures in life than the next big career move...I have evolved from tending to be judgmental to learning to give people the benefit of the doubt..I have evolved from reading fairy tales to Enid Blyton to Carolyn Keene to Dickens to Austen and the Bronte sisters to Agatha Christie and Robin Cook to Arthur Hailey and Jeffrey Archer to P.G. Wodehouse to Aynd Rand to Sophie Kinsella to Jhumpa Lahiri and Salman Rushdie to Nasim Taleb...you get the gist...not to forget the Mills and Boon and Linda Goodman stage ;-)...and then, something I am really proud of, I have evolved from a really bad cook to a reasonably decent one...well, the list is endless and I can just go on and on about how my tastes and I have changed over the years...

But then the point is that over the past three decades, while I have evolved and grown in a lot of ways, while I have loved and hated, laughed and cried, risen and fallen, given and taken...there are certain things that haven’t really changed all that much, after all...and in that list is my love for books, music, chocolates, teddy bears, dogs, mountains, bollywood flicks (Ah...how I love being a part of the crowds for the first day, first shows :-)!! ), street food, shopping, writing and physics...my appreciation, love and admiration for humility, intelligence, open mindedness, genuineness, affection, warmth and generosity...my dislike for arrogance and hypocrisy...but I think the most important in the list of things that hasn’t changed much over the years is my ‘optimism’...my belief in fairy tales...my belief that what goes around comes around...my faith that every cloud does have a silver lining...

The other day, a friend of mine wrote to me saying something to the effect of, “You are such an optimist...it’s refreshing to see your take on life in this otherwise cynical world”...believe me, it is a compliment I shall forever hold very close to my heart...for optimism and hope keeps me sane, happy and relaxed...enables me to seek out and enjoy the simple pleasures of life...Yes, I know life will bring in changes, both good and bad, in the years to come...I will evolve for the better or ,god forbid, change for the worse in the midst of life’s vicissitudes...but I do sincerely hope I manage to remain an eternal optimist, in the midst of it all...we will see how that goes...only time will tell :-)

For now though, yes, I am yet another year older :-), hopefully another year wiser as well...and it’s Happy Birthday to me...with a fresh new year of life to right some wrongs...to love,laugh and live!

15 comments:

SBora said...

happy birthday kiddo!!!
have a fabulous day...i would prefer a drunken weekend away anyday!!
says a lot about me and my vices.

anyway..have fun...and dont stress over the baby making business..when the time is right, it will happen no matter what.

Priyanka Rajkhowa said...

:-) Thanks so much Rhimjhim ba...

I'll probably be sloshed out no matter where D takes me...LOL..

Anonymous said...

Nice post ...Great read...Happy Birthday, girl !!

Urvashi said...

This is beautiful :) I love your style - very simple and such a great flow.. how I wish I was as eloquent and articulate a writer as you are :)

Priyanka Rajkhowa said...

Thanks so much Urvashi for dropping by the blog and reading...am really glad you like the posts...thanks again...

Sujatha said...

Happy birthday Priyanka! I could relate to so much in this post! Loved reading about your early years in Shillong. I hope you have a fantabulous year. Best wishes.

NetworkedBlogs said...

Displaying all 6 posts.

Payal Kochar Oct 1

Hey Priyanka! Happy Birthday! And I have to tell you .. I have been silently stalking you on your blog. You write beautifully! I love your thoughts and how you transfer them to paper.. oops webpage..:) Hi to D!
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Priyanka Rajkhowa Oct 1

Hey Payal...thanks so much for your wishes...and also for dropping by my blog ...am so glad you like the posts...it's the kind of 'stalking' I don't mind at all..:-). Howz baby Samar and big boy K doing...you must be having your hands full these days...baby S is such a cutie pie...a hug each from D and me here...
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Preetam Rajkhowa Oct 1
thoughts beautifully transfered ................................
well written ...................... !!!!!!!!!!!
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Manisha Shah 12:34 am

Priyanka Happy Birthday! Your blog is so sincere and very well written. I could almost picture your childhood in the hills. Circuits and code seems to dry for a person for you, you should definitely start writing books, if not for a career then atleast as a hobby!
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Enisha Sarin 10:13 am

You manage to evoke your childhood in Shillong so lucidly. I'm sure you know that Shillong is now just a corrupted version of its former idlyllic hill station self. No matter. Some wise person (Proust, I think it was) had implied that our memories of a place or thing are more real than their real counterparts. Nice read, chintu.
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Priyanka Rajkhowa 11:10 am

@Manisha : Thanks so much for your wishes...and thanks a lot for dropping by my blog...I do have very special memories of Shillong..am glad to have been able to share a glimpse of those memories with you guys....hope I can keep writing as a hobby at least..Thanks so much again...

@Sumi ba : Thanks for dropping by the blog Sumi ba...yep I do realize that Shillong is no longer the Shillong I grew up in ...guess I was really lucky to be a part of the idyllic hill station it once was...thanks again...

Priyanka Rajkhowa said...

@Sujatha

Thanks so much for your wishes ...and also for dropping by and reading...have particularly fond memories of Shillong...nostalgia sets in everytime I hear someone mention that small town...thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Hi Priyanka.

I follow "Ageless Bonding" Usha's blog and recently saw your name there and it sounded very familiar - were you at REC Trichy sometime in the late 1990s? I was there from 95-99.

-Chandrika.

Priyanka Rajkhowa said...

Hey Chandrika,

Thanks so much for dropping by the blog...yes I was in fact in REC Trichy from 1997-2001 EEE...are you Chandrika D?....I remember the Chandrika from your batch who was next to Sudha-Neema's room
:-) in the hostel...may be that's you :-)...either way, let's connect...and thanks again for dropping by...

Anonymous said...

Hi Priyanka!

Yes!! Thats me :-) and I'm so glad that it is you! I thought the name was very familiar and your picture looked very familiar too! Its a small world :-)

You have a lovely blog! And I see that you are in the Washington DC area...I recently moved to Reston. :-) Yes, lets definitely connect! Any way to send you my email address without typing it on here?

-Chandrika.

Priyanka Rajkhowa said...

@chandrika:

Awesome...I found you on facebook...have
sent you a message...let's catch up sometime
soon :-))

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Anonymous said...

Nice blog, really enjoyed reading. Bilated Happy Birthday wishes.

Sheila said...

Lovely post...may the optimist in you continue to shine for ever more!!