Sayan Aich has a lot to share with his teen self Image: Facebook/ Sayan Aich
It has been 18 years since I was 15. And with hindsight being what it is and with nostalgia being the drug that most of us are high on, it is never a bad idea to look back at the time when I was a year away from my first big academic exam. I was also a few months away from having my heart broken for the first time (no matter how your adventures fare in these matters, the first fall is the most remembered). Moreover, I was in the midst of coming to terms with a curious phase of life called teenage.
It is also never a bad time to think how different things would be if we had the proverbial time machine — what filters one could use to look at the world and make sense of it.
It would be the year 1999-2000. And I would be slowly stepping into the new millennium. My 33-year-old self would tell the awkward, shy and tongue-tied fellow, that it is alright if you are not the most popular boy in your section, class or school. It is alright if people around you are buying things or visiting places, to afford which, your middle-class parents might have to sacrifice some little comfort for themselves.
Suffer in the formative years, and later you can cherish visiting the same places, with your own hard-earned money. Don't bully the classmate who brings the same lunch every day or sometimes nothing at all — things might not be all hunky-dory at his/her domestic or financial front. Know that teachers are your guides but they are human, too, and they make mistakes.
And if there are people who make fun of your accent or academics, or treat you differently than others, there will always be one who will be by your side and lead you to war... and help you win it.
There will be dark days ahead. You will take the wrong bus home, the wrong person to your heart. And then the walk back will be painful. But that would not be the end of the world. There are parents who return every night not knowing what they are going to feed their children. You are privileged. Don't let it go.
Your parents, remember, are of another time and generation. Be patient. One day, they would have said their goodbyes so it is never too late to tell them you love them. Also remember, there is no greater love than the love of grandparents. And since they are of another generation, too, it is okay if you have to explain the same thing over and over again. A decade and a half later, your 30-something self would struggle with Android Phones and app updates, so remember how terrible karma is.
Read as much as you can. That is how you will acquaint yourself with the cultures of the world. And make it a point to record your reactions/ views on books you read or movies you watch. Imagine with precision. Literature and arts never let anyone down. And many a weary soldier have found their way back home in the works/ words of someone else.
Stop fretting over what they print on your report cards. Marks maybe important, and although our country is obsessed with statistics, marks and grades are not the alpha and omega of our lives. Success in life is seldom measured by your academic prowess. And happiness, never.
And finally, have a few friends. The kind with whom you would want to take the plunge down a dark rabbit hole.
With love and fond remembrance,
(As told to Sreyashi Mazumdar)