18. That’s the age when you legally become mature(in most countries). That is when you can own a driving license, cast your vote in elections, girls can get married.. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? The age when we are capable of doing our own things, living our own lives… But is it really so?
What really happens the morning you turn 18? You become an adult. Is that some sort of moulting? I didn’t find it that way. You wake up on the same bed, go to the same places you used to go, do the same things you used to do. And yes, birthday celebrations-they are no different. But people tell you: “Wow! You are eighteen now! You can do things as you please!” You believe it, you update your Facebook status: “I’m finally an adult!” And your friends congratulate you on the ‘accomplishment’. What’s so new in here other than words?
As far as I see it, being 15 and 18 are essentially the same. Both are kids. Kids with less innocence and obedience. The kind that is harder to control. The kind that gives headaches to everyone around. The kind that has hormones in the cranium instead of white matter. Exactly when we start thinking with our heads and not hormones is hard to tell. But I’m sure it’s not 18. When I was a kid I thought when you were an adult you knew everything, you never went wrong, you didn’t get scolded. But now I am 22 and still don’t understand things, keep making the same mistakes, and get scolded. Then what’s the big deal?
I didn’t find it any different the day before and after I turned eighteen. My pimples didn’t disappear. I was not entitled for a say in family matters yet. My innermost fears were still alive. I kept throwing temper-tantrums. I felt no different other than the fact that I could write ’18’ in columns asking for “age”.
Fine, lets say they chose 18 arbitrarily.(I know it’s not, but for the sake of the argument, lets pretend that way). So you are 18, and has become an adult. So what are you gonna do? If you have any legal proceedings, that could make a difference. But to the others, the world is the same. Those who were yearning to get the license, didn’t you do drive the vehicle even before you got the license? The
drinkers, were you waiting for your 18th birthday? You were sneaking drinks already! It’s just that now you have a license to ruin your life. But there are things without a license. Did you stop getting mad or sad once you became an adult. Did you have that radical change of “maturity” wash over you? I didn’t. I still feel sad, cry out loud. Only I don’t do that in public. I pretend things are fine when
they are not really. I am everything while I was a child and more. Now I pretend.
That’s my point. Being an adult is just a pretence. Or better, the license to pretend.
Reading-I’d define it as a universal hobby.
Out of every three persons I ask, two would say their hobby is reading. Besides TV, that is. But in fact, do these people read? Atleast a page everyday? I don’t think so.
Reading has been there with me all my life, but I got real serious certain times, chomping at every paper I found and craving for more. A book-worm? Well, that could be the apt word. But not the usual one that digs on just textbooks. Textbooks were for exams. Not for all-times.
Reading has had its ups and downs all my life. There were days I couldn’t sleep without flipping through atleast 10 pages of a novel while in bed. There were days when I could hardly finish one page and found myself awake the next morning with the room fully lit and the book staying on the same page it was 3 days earlier. Perhaps those books were the culprits. I am not real choosy on my books and mostly its just random, so I guess, those things could happen. But I’ve managed to finish most books I’ve started. Even if I felt they were awful. From the start.
I am bilinguistic. My mother-tongue is Malayalam. My first English read, as far as I can remember, is Harry Potter. That Potter boy (or should I say Rowling girl?) turned the tables for me. I who hadn’t read a single English novel until then, was totally taken in by Rowling’s magic . I boarded the Hogwarts express and took a ride to the wonderful world of English literature, where I spent more time lately. I do not mean Malayalam literature is substandard or anything, and I pen my thoughts better in Malayalam than I do in English, but I am drawn more into English lately. Now don’t go thinking I’m that avid reader, who has read hundreds of books. I would have, if I had kept up the pace.
My love for books was so great that once I wanted to become a librarian! With stacks of books all around me.. I had even considered converting my room into a library! I had drawn up plans on how to partition the room, stack shelves, categorize books.. Ahh.. I remember! I did make a library once! I got all my next-door neighbours sign up for it. But it didn’t go as I pictured, and I had it shut down as I found my books are not returned in time! I couldn’t imagine losing even a comic book then! Well, I am no different now. When I give away my story books to kids, I make sure that they keep them safe, like I did. If I feel they won’t do it, I don’t allow them near my books!
I’m not neck-deep in books, but I regard reading my greatest pleasure. You read words, and then paint pictures.
Hobbies: Yes, thats what you do to kill your time. The linguistic experts have an alternate definition.
According to the Oxford Dictionary a hobby is “an activity done regularly for pleasure”. Regularly? Yeah I get it. Frequently. But how long should I do it? A year? A month? A week?
Last day, I got chatting with someone I met while travelling. We talked about many things when she asked: “What are your hobbies?” I had not heard that question since my primary class where we had to write a composition on the topic “My Favourite Hobby”. I am not looking for a job yet, hence I haven’t faced the query in a job interview either. So the question set me thinking. I paused for a while and thought.
I have had so many hobbies in my past years. I’m sure most of you would say the same. One may say its because I just got bored of each, but I’m not sure. I’ve loved everyone of them and each of them at their respective times were my absolute pleasure. But I just happened to move on when I found another. Maybe thats what is called growing up!
I don’t remember exactly how I got drifted away from each, maybe I did get sick of some of them. But mostly I think its because somebody planted this new idea into my head. Some began as schoolwork, and ended up a hobby. Well, I am a nerd who took school seriously (but enjoyed every bit of it!), so maybe it was a nerd-y thing.
Some of these were sheer time-pass but I have learnt so much from many others. They made me what I am today.
I’m still a young gun who may seem serious from the outside but is a real child at heart, full of enthusiasm. I’d jump at anything interesting that comes my way. And I’d like to remain that way, always. For I think what makes an adult different from a child is curiosity. Once you stop being curious, you stop learning. When you stop learning new things you grow. Old. You cannot teach an old dog new tricks, they say. But if its a dog that has kept learning tricks all his life, I bet he can. And thats what I wannabe. Even when I grow old, I’ll keep learning new things.
By recounting my hobbies and retracing my steps, I can go back to my old days. I can relive those great moments again. Now don’t go thinking I’m an old woman. I’m just into my youth! Hey, who’d want to let go of their golden childhood?! Not me, anyway.