Saturday, July 3

Rite of passage

In tactful language, it has been suggested that I take a hard look at the rather depressing tone taken by the blog over the last few posts. The words "batty, old man" were used rather forcefully.

I agree with the judgement; while I'm no subscriber to sanguine prose, the melancholy is threatening to capsize the literary raft. There's only so much oddity that can be attributed to creative inspiration before someone loses an ear or drowns themselves, no ? I do have to say this in my defence - it being an autobiographical blog, my moods tend to reflect in my posts. Over the last couple of months I have not exactly channelled any joie de vivre. Partially, this can be put down to my job. For the sake of succinct speech, I'll say that it is sucking the life out of me. My first job, with the NGO, was a retirement home compared to this place. But I like the long hours and the chance to create new content in an atmosphere filled with hidden intrigues and random new developments. Like operating in the Bates Motel, only there are a lot of customers besides myself. And no shower scene.

But that only explains part of it. The rest is taken up with challenges of a more personal kind; the type that force me to think deeply and re-examine a lot of mental bric-a-brac I took for granted. Since it would be unfair to spring most of the above without context on a soporific reader, I won't bother. However, there is one aspect that is probably worth sharing. I've thought long and hard for the last week on the topic of maturity, specifically the mental kind.

From childhood, I have memories of certain people in the family-friends circle being referred to as 'mature' by the elders, always accompanied by a massively approving nod of the head. It was almost like those anointed thus were joining a secret, prestigious club. Even then, I found the idea of maturity complex and mysterious; that there were far deeper waters flowing beneath a simple word. As I grew older, I yearned for the day that approving nod would be directed towards me but it seemed that I managed to steer away from any actions, achievement or behaviour that could be labelled mature. Of course, once I knew better (or thought I did, since we are talking about my early 20s here), I was rather grateful for the miss, since it seemed more a responsibility-laced, behaviour-regulating burden than an inspirational crown.

During recent self-critical phases, I have begun to wonder anew, not whether I will ever be thought of as a mature person, but to what the idea of it means to me personally. About the existence or lack thereof of a crossable invisible barrier decided by age or accumulated actions & behaviour, after which I can have a gratifying moment of music-marked realisation about maturity achieved. You know... the popular cinema kind, roughly 4 minutes before the protagonist gets the girl. Or is seen driving across either the Brooklyn or Golden Gate bridge.

Here's my 2-paise on maturity - publicly it is fostered by our deeds and behaviour. Privately, I don't believe anyone thinks of themselves as a mature individual. The whole deal feels more like a never-ending degree; take a life-class, learn stuff & hopefully clear the paper and move on to the next one. There will be instances where I'll almost be able to taste the change and I will feel better for it. But there is no fixed checklist to tick off, no age to cross and no recognised / approved amount of responsibility to be shouldered.

There are only chances; to change and to accept. And, like all opportunities, these have to be recognised and acted upon.

Song for the moment: Turn! Turn! Turn! - The Byrds


Piggy Little said...

oh there is something so poignant about this post! :) and that song. :)

girish said...

Yea, the song has a timeless wistfulness about it.