Here’s looking at you kid!

Though I wasn’t born then, I think this line was written for me, or those who share a similar deceptively ‘little girl’ look like me. So as my 27th birthday comes closer, I wonder how many years more will I have to listen to this line or some variation of it. For all practical purposes, I look the same as I did around 10 years ago, which though one would say is a great thing for a girl, has also had its own negative aspects for me.

The first time I heard I don’t look my age was when my long lost cousin met me around 10 years ago. He said you look so young, a naïve me then replied, good na, when I will be 30 no one will guess I am thirty, that will be so cool. Of course back then I thought that I would look somewhat grown up by the time I cross 23-24. Alas, that was not to be and it has caused me endless embarrassment at times.

Like when in my PG course we visited the sets of Kaun Banega Crorepati and the guy at the security wouldn’t initially let me in, because he wanted to ensure I was above 18. Thankfully there was another classmate who looked as small as me so I atleast had a fellow sufferer of the ‘Who’s that kid syndrome’. Then once again in college there was this sweet boy lets call him V, who I had become good friends with. V was in first year college and so was I, only I was in PG first year. We enjoyed joking around and my room mate used to always say he has a crush on you, to which I would say gosh he is a kid, come on and he knows I am older. Wrong. I had said first year mass communication course and he thought it was a graduation course. I still remember the day he actually got to know that I was 4 years older. I shall call upon you to use your vivid imagination to picture how his face must have looked, because the mixture of confusion and slight disappointment at losing a potential girlfriend is something I cant describe too well. Some years down the line, a boyfriend too happened to tell me that the first time he saw me he thought I was ‘just an intern.’

‘Just an intern’ is another thing I have had to face a lot. TV is a game of perception more than anything. And there have been times when I have not been taken seriously despite giving enough and accurate information because apparently the so called viewers think I am a kid so well I couldn’t be saying anything worthwhile. What could the kid possibly know? Then I have had comments on my blog page that are some form of veiled disbelief of my credentials, something to the effect of ‘despite being so young, you seem to have a deep understanding of the issue’ Or take the I-know-it-all-and-hate-it-all gentleman from Shivaji Park, who very ungraciously aired his grievance on how news channels hire these ‘young college’ girls to do stories and that is why the content is going down the drains. WTF? Haven’t they heard that age (in this case perceived age) is just a number? Then there is also the problem of having to either shop at the kids’ section, skipping branded readymade stuff altogether or the hunt for the perfect alteration tailor.

But the kid look has its own advantages. People tend to act sweet around you because they don’t want to trouble the little child. Policemen that I meet on the field always are very sweet and polite, mostly out of disbelief that such a little thing is working all alone in Mumbai. Neighbours become your guardian angels when they see that the poor young thing is managing it all alone and is such a quiet and ‘mature’ child. And when some person is acting difficult on field, you can always make a cry baby face and say please sir, bite de do, mere boss varna bahut naaraz honge. Fleet drivers always offer to carry the tripod for you because main hoon na madam, aap thak jaoge. And one of the compliments I cherish the most, given by a man whom I consider to be my best teacher was, ‘Good things come in small packets.’ That should be enough to shut all you morons who crack jokes at the expense of my ‘littleness’.
So as April draws near, I am starting to feel the first signs of denial about aging. 27? Really am I getting that old? Nah, m just the little kid, aint I?

Addiction

It had been a year since he had held her. Memories of serenading her flooded his vision, how he would hold her neck close to his face and drink in her scent. He looked at his phone and wondered if he should call for her. Would she be available now? He had even deleted the number. He ran a frustrated hand through his hair.

She had been his refuge from the chaos in his world. He remembered how he would drown himself in her, burying his sorrows in her. She was the only high in his life, the best thing after every tiring day. She had never failed him. Soon it was difficult for him to imagine life without her company. She was the crutch that helped him face the cruel world and kill his demons.

The relationship was perfect until one day he realised just how much he depended on her. He could not see her that day and it drove him mad. He could feel the shivers, the fear, the frustration and there was no one to take away his pain that day, no one to make the day good again. And when he realised he needed her so, he started hating her. Yes, hatred and a lot of anger. How could he become such a slave to her? He was a man bound by nothing, so there was no way he could be bound by her. His independence was everything to him, he held on to it with all his pride. So he decided he would abandon her, nothing should have so much power over him. His relationship with her was because everyone else had ruled his life, she was the only one who gave unquestioningly. So if now she was gaining power, he had to run. He had to.

He ran. Many times, but each time he would return with a new found intense thirst for her. He would bury himself even deeper into her, he wanted to forget, forget not just the chaos, but also the time he had spent apart. But each time after he returned, he felt worse because it meant she had won. She still had that f*ing hold on him. And that’s how the cycle of abuse started functioning. He would pretend he didn’t need her, that it was she who seduced him everytime. He would play hide and seek with her. But he knew it was not her, it was him, he knew it every moment he spent with and away from her. He hated himself, no he hated her for being so powerful. And what was worse everytime he would reject her and then return feeling helpless, she would still be where he had left her. Loyal and as sweetly seductive as ever. What was it about her that he couldn’t let go?

Then one day he returned after his self imposed exile, burying himself deep into her, so deep he couldn’t feel much, so deep he was almost numb. But the chaos wouldn’t go, now the chaos included her too, voices shouting in his head, accusing him of being a weakling when it came to her. He decided enough was enough, there was no point in trying to leave her, because she would still be there if he returned. So what should he do? He had to survive this and he had to win this. He needed to destroy her for his own sanity. Yes he needed to end her, that was the only option. He worked up the courage and he crushed her, that was the only way to take away her power. Hearing the commotion, his servant came running. The servant was aghast at what he saw. But wordlessly he picked up the pieces of broken glass of his favourite wine brand. She was now just a piece of trash. That was a year ago.
As he glanced at the still empty cabinet, he let out a sigh full of yearning. But he knew he couldn’t go back. As he walked towards his bedroom he remembered the doctor’s wise words – Sometimes what you want and love, is not good for you.