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Monday, November 01, 2010

Change Changes Things

I've almost always been the youngest in any household I've lived in ... so it comes as a bit of a surprise to realise that I'm the oldest in the house now. Second oldest at the moment, actually, but soon I really will be the oldest and that realisation does some funny things.

It's amazing how protective you can feel about someone younger, even if you don't really know them. The youngest of us is a teenager and even though everyone else is in the early-twenties range at best a year or two older (except old old me that is ... but I take comfort from the fact the house is far older than I am) ... said teenager brings out maternal/paternal/elder sibling feelings in all of us as if a switch were turned on. She gets ribbed endlessly about where she's been and should we be on the phone to her folks and who was out on a date with ... and maybe the child is a bit confused but she takes it in good spirit. I just heard her singing ... loud, clear, in that mixture of innocence, hope and attitude only teenagers can affect. I thought it was beautiful.

The first time I met Teen was a few days ago, after about two weeks of wondering where the mysterious new housemate was and why she wasn't living in the house yet. I'd know she was that young but the fact wasn't really brought home to me until we came across each other face-to-face. Let me tell you something. I think I play it very cool, I take my time around people and don't go about giving anyone faltu ka bhav ... and when you're like that, it's easy to start thinking of yourself as being cold and aloof and a total snob. Until you see a pair of eyes that look partly eager and partly unsure while their owner says a bright 'Hi!' and uncertainly extends a pair of arms towards you, not knowing if a hug is forthcoming or not. And in that moment, this cold, aloof snob that is you, will put all that to one side, excuse herself from the phone and hold out for a hug, for all you're worth. You see this young almost-child and something changes, something that makes you want to envelop this waif and at least for that moment, give them the reassurance that it's going to be okay, that nothing is as scary as it seems ... something that makes it all okay for YOU, the crappy day, the horrid weather, just about everything that could be wrong, all that. In that one moment, even if only for that one moment.

I've lived with a teenager before so I know it isn't all sunshine and rainbows. I know they can be surly, messy, rude and noisy. Heck, I was a horrid teen too. And I'm not saying this one's different. She's going to be her share of all that but the important thing is to let her grow into the person she will be. Lead by example, but not intend to. And not expect to be followed just because.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, suddenly becoming the oldest person around makes you think what it's all about. And you realise:

  • It's about not pulling rank just because you're older. None of the 'I'm older so I know better' crap. You don't. You don't know what the other person is going through and just because they're younger doesn't mean their experiences are lesser. 
  • It's about being understanding. And respect. About a zillon things. About habits and quirks and wants and needs. Like bearing in mind that the things you do sometimes have to have the child-friendly factor to it. Like realising that it must be really tough for a lone boy to be living amid a bunch of hormonal, emotional, confusing, moody, pmsing-by-turns women. And more importantly, vocalising the fact that you appreciate said boy's ... patience. And no, don't let the fact that you can bully him as if he were your own younger brother influence any of this ;) 
  • It's appreciating the little big things. Like dozing off on a housemate's shoulder and being comforted by the fact that a cool soft hand gently strokes your hair.
  • Like realising just how lucky you are to be living in a house that's full of people who have the time of the day for you. 
  • Like realising that actually, you're not that old after all. So maybe take a chill pill. Plans can wait. Life will go on. But this evening, when your amaretto spiked hot chocolate was pinched by giggling housemates as you watched a movie, while being stared down by a trying-to-scary-with-the-painted-joker-face-but-still-only-succeeding-in-being-cute boy for being noisy, the evening that involved affectionately shaking your heads collectively at said boy and much ribbing about 'gold-diggers' ... this, will always let you be 20-something, no matter how many years go by. You can't get cynical about it you see.
  • Like realising, actually, being oldest doesn't mean SHIT.


  1. You're going to get your leg pulled off on this one :P. Let the assault begin... :)

  2. Anonymous10:55 AM

    On behalf of the family - This is interpreted as being ready for motherhood. Oh wait, marriage comes first.
    So yeah, when are you going to fulfil the purpose of your birth?

  3. now you won't publish my cawment!!!
    yehi din dekhna baaki tha!!!

  4. arre SUCH a lamba comment i wrote!!! WHERE is that, issay!?

    let me try and sum it up now.
    i agree with celestialrays above on the motherhood part. here is where i need to correct her. marriage is not a pre-requisite for motherhood. esp since dewey's a feminist. also, going by the posts on this blawg, it is clear that she is more prepared for motherhood than for marriage. also, she speaks of wanting to do things she won't regret. maybe this is what she was referring to. so be it.

    chalo, ab batao when you're having the first one. and make sure you infor me first okay?! i'll send you that little basket you'd shown me.

    and let me be the first to say "congratulations!!!"

  5. Anonymous11:42 PM

    I was speaking on behalf of the family so insisted on marriage :D
    We want baby! :D
    Go on DDD, make one eight away

  6. :-) lol at the comments. All I can say is enjoy! I cannot stand pre-teens of these days. :-) more on that later

  7. divvi wants you to have EIGHT babies right away???

    b/w her and me, you've gotta re-evaluate who you call friends!

  8. Anonymous9:53 PM

    Divz and Rayshma- you gals are a total hoot!

    And hey DDD- I am all for EIGHT babies right away! It's a cake walk I say..go ahead.

    ( thee hee hee)

  9. AHK, Divvi: Going by the non-response, I think she's actually got to work on it. ;)

    dewey: please don't get your eight kids when you come to visit me okay? i'll have to rent a bus to just pick you up.

  10. Bonkers, the lot of you! On the other hand, I'm glad that I can rely on y'all to keep the tone light here all the time :D

    Someone: I totally did not see that coming, geez!

    Celestialrays: *glares suspiciously* You're in cahoots with them? So this is what you make of calling your home my London ka maika?! hawww!!! :P

    Catty: Blogger acting up, what a pity!

    And you were THAT serious about not talking to me till I have a baby?! WHAT have I started! :D You're just looking for an excuse to by tht basket, admit it!

    Celestialrays: Boss, ek kam nahi tha ki 8 ka suggestion de diya?! The world has one Octomom, I think that should be enough, hehe.

    Arunima: Yeah I really should have known these folks would be on my case, sigh. I don't really go gaga over babies or pre-teens or anything ... just the one off cae of me feeling a little friendly towards ONE teen.

    Catty: :D I love you both!

    AHK: HAHA!! Don't go encouraging them, and definitely don't join them! I joke of course, they ARE a bag of laughs those two :)

    Catty: Oye! Yeh kaisi afwaaein phaila rahi ho, haan?!

    And what do you mean I cannot bring 8 kids when I come to visit you? You'll make me pick and choose which ones to bring? Ration lagi hai, hain?! This has reminded me of someting really funny ... remind me to tell you.

  11. tell me - reminder this is!

    what afwa...?? you DID disappear, right? KYA kar rahi thi... if not making babies, tell tell!

    and NO, you cannot get 8 kids to visit me. you'll be glad if i let one kid of yours in my house. i do NOT share time with you! def not with kids!

  12. Tch, item! Idhar reminder kaiko deta hai? Idhar bola rehta toh tab nahi bolti main?! I was working on top sicrit project, shh! We'll pretend I was making babies to take attention away from that fact. :P

    Boss, HOW is any chid of mine supposed to get some much needed training from R atya if R atya won't allow them insider her house?! I'm very worried now!

  13. One kid, dude. Eight kids ke training ka paisa lega main tumse.

  14. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Kya medem, discount nahi milega kya? :D

    Let's give this a rest now, shall we? The things we speak of are a long way off.