The Big Three O – Turning 30.

Happy BdayNowadays there is a recurring theme to my dreams (or nightmares, as they turn out). It starts out hunky dory and then hits the same note…. turning 30. If I look back, turning 20 or 25 never bothered me. And neither did turning 30…till about a few months ago. It didn’t happen overnight. There was just a niggling feeling over some time, and then suddenly one day…just full-blown panic.

I always thought age is only a number (I still believe that wholeheartedly) and that it would not bother me much to hit landmark ages. I thought I would be more excited about getting older and not be one of those of women who lies about their age or says stuff like “Aunty mat kaho na” (Seriously, much to my own horror, I said something to that effect recently!!). At least I haven’t lied about my age yet.

I suppose it wasn’t a big change from 25 to 26 or 28 to 29 (and I think that’s because only the second digit changes, the 2 is still constant). But from 29 to 30, it seems like the world is coming to an end. I mean the first digit is changing! I didn’t even bother about my 29th birthday, it was just a day..but used fruitfully to finagle a cake and material possessions (read presents). But as the 30th approaches this year, I have been continuously thinking about it with part curiosity, part excitement and part horror. Curiosity as to what the next decade holds, excitement because it’s a landmark age, and horror about leaving the 20’s behind.

Sometimes there are moments of absolute panic, where I think that once I turn 30, it automatically pushes me out of the running to do stuff. I’m pretty sure I won’t feel any different, physically or emotionally. And considering the average life span today, I keep reassuring myself that I have a good thirty years ahead. But somehow I always had an idea that at thirty, I would be somewhere. Where, I am not sure.

I think I always had a plan, that by the time I hit thirty I would be married, have a kid or two, have a steady career and generally be in a state of reasonable contentment. Am nowhere near the plan. And being obsessive about plans (almost compulsively so), it bothers me if things don’t go as per plan. However, one of the lessons learnt with time, is to relax a bit and go with the flow. Again, as long as the flowing is towards something.

A cousin of mine and some friends of mine have turned 30 recently. And I have mercilessly pulled their leg. I sincerely wish I could go back and undo that now. With people doing that to me now, I have got a taste of my own medicine. And boy, is it bitter. So if you see me or speak to me, please humor me and do not refer to my upcoming birthday.

With the big day approaching fast, I am in a hurry to accomplish stuff. I seem to want to suddenly do everything that I have ever wanted to do, by August, and obviously, that isn’t going to happen. I realise that, but somehow I can’t seem to stop rushing to check things off my list. (FYI, I don’t have a list. I’m making the list now and checking things off it.)

Though I am 29, I sometimes still feel like I am way younger (and people will attest to that because of my behavior sometimes). And, if nothing else, I am an optimist. I continue to think I have the rest of my life to accomplish what I dreamt of. I look at some people in my life, that I see are in better shape physically, mentally and emotionally in their 30’s than they ever were in their life before. And I draw a lot of hope from that. Anyone who tells me I am too old to learn, or try something new, or behave a certain way, is just plain wrong.

I am not sure what I have planned for this birthday. I want to use the opportunity to try something new which I haven’t done before. Maybe scuba diving, because I am terrified of water and seems to be a fun new thing to do. But I am sure of one thing – I have come to realize that life is too short for me to be scared to try new things, so I hope I spend this birthday and the next decade, learning and discovering.

Meanwhile, here is a photo of a cake that truly expresses my feelings on turning 30.

Aunty Mat kaho na

Aunty Mat kaho na

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The importance of being bright (nail polish).

I was having a really bad day at work. And while I was figuring how to cheer myself up – chocolate usually worked, but I had run out…a walk perhaps, but it was snowing outside, and lets’s face it, I’m downright lazy to even get off my backside  – I glanced down at my feet , and saw the most depressing sight ever. Dull feet encased in dull stockings with even duller shoes. Whoever said dull is what should be worn to work? Grey suits, black shoes.

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And that got me thinking – of all the body parts we look at more often ( and I realize that sounds creepy ), it seems we stare at our feet most often. At least I do. I cook and I look down and there they are. I work and I look down and there they are. I sleep and I wake up and look down and there they are. Well… essentially, there they are.Whoever pays attention to feet anyway? Beauty is so focused on the face and the hair and the body, and the feet are an after thought. No, I do not have a foot fetish. But I realized that considering my feet come into my line of vision a lot during the day, they deserve a little more respect. Our feet carry us wherever we go ( and who knows what kind of crap we are stepping in ), and it is nice to have a pretty sight in front of my eyes.

I put my theory to test. And it worked. The next day, I came to work with bright red nailpolish on my feet. And the next time I felt irritated, I looked down and saw my bright toe nails peeking out out of my dull staid shoes – and smiled. They reminded me of the brighter, better things that awaited me.

So the next time I’m having a bad day, instead of chocolate, I just grab my brightest bottle of nailpolish. So far it seems to work. Until I run out of nail polish. Then it’s back to chocolate.

Women’s Day

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By Satish Girirajan

March 8 was Women’s Day. I have lost touch with what day it is really unless I open up Facebook and see various status messages posted by people. That’s how I know its Mother’s Day or Father’s Day or any other day. This year I was determined to make Women’s Day meaningful – more than sending out mails to all the wonderful women I know or putting up a witty Facebook status – so I decided to do something.

With that intent, I researched events in the city, and saw, well, marches and protests and speeches..Hmm..not really up my alley. Then I saw events like “Free Drinks for the Ladies” today..tempting but again, not really. Make no mistake, maybe next year, I will go for one of the former and then head straight to the latter.

But then, it got me thinking – why do we celebrate Women’s Day? According to Wiki, on International Women’s Day, different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women’s economic, political and social achievements. That’s what I thought. To celebrate women. But are we really?

Sure, women are much better off than they were years ago, we’re not burning them anymore and most of them actually do we have a chance at education and a career. But while things are getting better, there are horrifying things happening to the very same women across the world. Rape, murder, discrimination, abuse – you name it and it’s there. And then there are stories we don’t even hear.

While I am proud to say that I come from India, recent events like the rape in Delhi, left me horrified. I mean we know Delhi is unsafe, I think recently it was polled the most un safe city in the world for women, but the audacity that anyone could think that they could get away with something like this is just appalling.

There are so many things we wish we could change in this world, but we can change one small thing in our lives. We take the women in our lives for granted. Our mothers, wives or sisters – wonderful women who do so much and are so capable – so we ever tell them that? I am a raging feminist – I would never deny that, but small things like appreciating and celebrating the women in our lives do really make a difference. A celebration does not mean throwing a huge party, or a fancy dinner ( though those are most welcome ! ). To me, its small things like a good word or some encouragement, and support.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that we should never underestimate or put down the women in our lives. Especially the ones that matter to us. On the same note, women ourselves should be the first ones to hold ourselves up proudly. There are so many things I am capable of, and I am nowhere near discovering anything close to it.

So on this day, I decided to do something for myself – yes, a manicure. And yes, update my Facebook with a witty status.