Who hasn’t been at the receiving end of unsolicited advice from well-meaning aunts & uncles? I am sure all of us, growing up, have been advised by pesky relatives. The ‘why did you do this/’, ‘that is so bad’, ‘good girls don’t do that’, ‘stop doing this’, ‘do it this way’, the endless list of their uncalled for Do’s & Don’ts. Is there anyone at all who has ever escaped this phase of growing up unscathed by their sermons? I didn’t.
But the irony is, now that I’m on the other side of 30, I’m ready to give it too!! But hey, no, not to you! I’m sure you guys are all mature, wise, smart, intelligent, politically & socially correct, good, & righteous people (did I go too far?!).
Well, the advice is meant only for me, a younger me, me at 16, sweet 16, if you may. So, here I go:
That’s what everyone at home calls you except your younger brother who calls you Sujiakka which said fast becomes suyiakka (suyi for needle) & I know you hate it when it sounds like that. Fret not, once he is all grown up he’ll just call you by your full name!
The year is 2011. And I am 34. This number gives me a privilege to bestow upon you all my learning. [Please don’t smirk at this. I know you’ll or already are. FYI (for your info), I DID learn a few things along the way]. Remember, these advices are meant only as a guide, so that you can ride the roller-coaster that is life, a little more smoothly, a little more confidently.
Let’s tackle the ‘serious’ issues first:
Number 1: Pls don’t cry so much. I see Tanvi crying for the silliest of reasons today (& sometimes for no reason at all) & I so hate you for passing on your ‘weepy’ genes to her. You’ve no idea how difficult it is to console a forever crying kid. You yourself may be tempted to call her “cry-baby”. So, PLS in Christ’s name, DON’T CRY. It never has and never will solve anything.
Number 2: Please don’t worry so much, especially about your finances. You’ll always work (yes, even when, for a brief period, you don’t want to!) & that means, you’ll always be financially independent. I know this is your biggest fear. Don’t you worry, you’ll always have enough money to shop/eat/travel (within India), & generally enjoy life. Also, don’t lose sleep over your savings. It’s in your nature to save, & then, go right ahead and, spend what you saved. Since, you spend it on the good things of life, CHILL.
Number 3: Pls don’t be so nice to all the people all the time. Some people deserve shit. Give them what they deserve. Ignore the people who try to bring you down or talk down to you. Overlook your relatives & neighbors who comment on everything. And while you’re at it, TO HELL WITH some of your school friends. They’ll never appreciate you. So stop trying.
Now for the trivial ones:
1. Stop wearing those matching earrings, neck chains, bags & clothes.
2. Eat curd. Not because people find it odd that you don’t but because it’s really good for your skin & those hateful pimples that seem to simply love you.
3. Identify & eat all vegetables or at least the ones you grow in your own land.
4. Learn to cook, at least your mother’s famous fish curries. You’ll surely miss her combination of bangda fish curry with ladies finger sabji & live to regret that you didn’t take the trouble nor had the interest to learn it.
To end on a good note: Continue to read the many books you read. I’m amazed that you even read the piece of paper that is used to wrap peanuts. That’s how voracious a reader you are. Good for you. That’s what will one day help you write this letter & maybe even blog about it! Love you. :)