This week was very important for India. It was marked by cameras, publicity and above all, by the sacrifice of brave souls who defied the odds and starved themselves in pursuit of a higher goal. But enough about India Fashion Week.
Instead, it is time to talk about another burning issue – one that has been ignored for far too long, and can be disastrous if left unresolved.
I have grey hair.
Alright, so maybe it’s not that big an issue, and yes, it’s just a single grey hair, and the rest of my convict-type mane is still the colour of Sharad Pawar’s heart, but you must excuse the alarm. The thing is that I recently turned 26, thus willingly entering the Portal of Adulthood the way Manmohan Singh willingly became Prime Minister.
By this time, the world expects you to have grown up, which isn’t really a problem. Maturity, however, takes a while. For example, I pay taxes, have a steady income and am referred to as ‘Uncle’ by the kids in my building – and not just by the slow kids who’ll grow up to work in HR – so clearly I got the growing up part right.
But it is also true that I’ve spent the last hour thinking about how awesome it would be to have adamantium claws like Wolverine. The way I see it, maturity is a bit like winning the lottery, or getting herpes – it always seems to happen to someone else.
This is all part of the ‘quarter-life crisis’ – a fairly dramatic term coined in 2001, no doubt by a 20-something who wanted to justify not wearing pants. But it is interesting to note the changes associated with this social phenomenon. According to numbers that may be a bit approximate, millions of young Indians are now taking their time getting a stable job; they’re getting married later and are also putting off having babies, because they do not want to bring children into a world where Akshay Kumar has 4726 releases a year.
Of course, these statistics mean nothing to parents, who’ve now started throwing around the M-word, even going as far as to say, “We’ll find the perfect girl for you!” (This is a lie because the perfect girl – i.e. a combination of Priyanka Chopra, Nigella Lawson and Tina Fey – does not exist.)
But even as you wonder why your parents have suddenly turned into Alok Nath and Reema Lagoo, your friends start abandoning ship. They start getting married, turning your Facebook into shaadi.com, replete with wedding pictures that look like they were taken at gunpoint. (“Smile! Or I kneecap the bua!”)
It is at this stage you learn the art of complimenting married couples. For example, this is acceptable: “Hey congratulations! Looking great!” (Also applies to photos of friends holding up babies, cutesy couple celebrating the 7th anniversary of their 4th kiss, and that desperate guy on your list, who went abroad once and got a random white chick to pose with him)
This, however, is not an acceptable comment: “Dude, is that your wife or the horse you rode in on?”
We’re a little more united on the career front. Everybody I know now wants to do everything, with the unifying theme that cuts across cubicles being, “How long can I stand this before I go to Manali and smoke half a hillside?”
Everything said and done, the word ‘crisis’ seems a bit too much. Let’s face it – adulthood is great fun, except for the part where you’re supposed to act like an adult. Now I’d love to write more, but I’ve accidentally pierced the screen with my adamantium claws.
(Note: This is my HT column, dated 10th April 2011)