If I look back at the last decade, it seems as if everything important that has ever happened to me, happened during this time. Not surprising, considering I was almost 17 when it started and 27 when it ended. This is the time I became my own person – before that I was my parents’ daughter.
The decade didn’t start on a very good note for me. I was in class XI and doing great academically but the year 2000 is the year my heart broke – again and again. All for one guy. He was my classmate in school and at that time it seemed like he was everything I had ever dreamed about. But the way he treated me left me scarred for a very long time. I finally came out of all that mess in early 2002 – disillusioned and sad but not heartbroken or lovesick any longer. It was a tough lesson but I learnt it well. I learnt to not take any shit from anybody. I learnt that love is tough but should never be ugly. If it is you need to leave fast. And to heck with what anyone says. If the person you love does not respect you then each minute you spend with him or thinking about him is a waste. I learnt that if he doesn’t treat you well today he will treat you even worse tomorrow. The only regret I have is that I put up with it for so long. But I’m also proud of the fact that I came out of it intact. I did very well in my twelfth board exams and also the engineering entrance exams. I didn’t let my heartbreak affect my studies. I didn’t stop believing in love. I didn’t turn into a cynic. Part one of growing up.
Actually 2002 is also the year I met R. Fell in love with him only to have it not work then. Maybe we both weren’t ready for it then. But the foundation was laid. When we met again in 2007 we just knew that this was it. It took just 3 meetings for us to be totally committed to each other.
The last decade is when I lived away from my parents for the first time. Hostel from 2001 to 2005 and then a year living in a PG in Noida. When I discovered just how comfortable my parents had made my life. But also that it was fun to live in a hostel. To be a responsible adult. To make friends. To be the one to make the decisions and to stick to them. Knowing that your good behaviour was in your own hands. Making mistakes and learning from them. I learnt the power of being one of only eleven girls in a batch of 450. I learnt that breaking the heart of someone you care about hurts just as much as having your own broken. But also that sometimes there is no other way because love can’t be forced. Part two of growing up.
The last decade is when I discovered how good love could be. The excitement and joy as you get closer and closer to each other. The long hours on the phone. The ecstasy of the few days spent together. The small disagreements. The self-doubt sometimes – am I really so good that he loves me so much? And then realising that being good has nothing to do with it. The excitement of the engagement – the move to Bangalore – the wedding. Part three of growing up.
The last decade is when I became the lady of the house for the first time. The fun of setting up our first home. The shopping, the long hours and blistered hands of scrubbing everything to perfection, the disasters. The pride of knowing that this is our home. The hours of contentment spent there doing nothing at all – just being together. The lovely lovely lovely first year of married life. Part four of growing up.
The last decade is when I became a professional – serious in her work. I was always good in studies. But never very dedicated. Even when I started working I was good but I don’t remember putting in much effort. But in the past 3 years or so I think I’ve really grown in the job I do. I have put in long long hours. Worked even when I was ready to drop. Worked even when I was hugely pregnant and never let my pregnancy be an excuse for work not done or poorly done. Worked because it was my deliverable and no way was I going to let myself or the team down. Worked and discovered the deep sense of satisfaction felt after a day of a job well done. Part five of growing up.
The last decade is when I became what I had always yearned to become – a mother. And discovered that it is the hardest thing I will ever do. 2010 was the best and worst year of my life till now. Best because I didn’t know what overwhelming love is, till I saw Anna for the first time. Worst because I never knew that it was possible to be so very tired. Best because Anna has enriched our lives in more ways than I can count. Worst because the life I loved and knew till then was over. Part six of growing up.
I was going to say that hopefully I can call myself a grown up now when I realised that growing up should never stop. And though I have changed in many ways during the past decade, in many ways I’m still the same. And I hope the five year old in me never grows up. 2011 has come along with a new phase of my life. In 2020 Anna will be 10 years old and I’ll be 37 (gasp). Please God, just make this decade as full of love and learning as the last.