When you were fifteen you were thinking of sixteen and then of eighteen and then eighteen is done and now you are on to nineteen. And I really don’t know what you look forward for a nineteenth birthday…. You don’t seem to say what you want. So when I was wandering in the hallmark store.. I did not know what to pick… I was so clueless… but I made the best and hope you like what we got you as a family…
I have always said that when I compare you to me at 19, I was so aimless. Imagine that, even getting admission into a prestigious Tech institution for me was aimless at best. And today I look at you and I see you are so responsible and focused and learning and exploring what is out there. I think it is not just you, but many of the kids these days, seem to have so much clarity to say NO when they have to.
I have always felt we are a generation that to a great extend have been f*c*ed up because we could not say ‘NO’.. not elegantly.. nor distastefully… not when we needed. Many of us grew up without being able to bring ourselves to say NO at the right time and in the right place. And some of us just pile up our ‘NO’s all our life…. and then when we get older, like (the young) me now… We have only ‘NO’s coming out… May be that is why we get grumpy at times…. more than what we should….
I guess since you are nineteen now, I won’t be questioned for using an ‘F’ word in a blog to you… I am sure many parents would roll their eyes.. and think in their mind What the ‘F’ is a dad saying… but you are not like other kids, you are way more matured than many… Also we are both reading ‘The subtle art of not giving a F*ck’.
Remember the project we did together a few years back? Where I gave you a question every day and you gave me an answer. We did that project for a whole year…. 365 days. You might have forgotten the first question and answer, the one I gave you after the big argument we had… I want to share it with you :).. the Question was
“How did you feel when your parents scolded you?”
I know it was lame to ask that…. And your answer was…
My Parents Killed My Soul. Obnoxious. Loud. Badger-ing. I sat through the entire lecture listening from one person to another. I argued in the beginning, hoping to let my own voice be heard, but alas their dictation over ruled mine as always. Soon I just sat nodding through most of it. My eyes and mind focusing onto the small bracelet on my arm. They kept on talking. Never ending. My eyes were hazy due to my unshed tears. Partially blinded and tired from crying, I longed to be left alone. Moments like these made me drift off to a moment when I was 5 not 15. I just wanted high school to be over. The supposedly best four years of my life is more like a ride through hell. It had barely been the start of spring break and i wanted to be done with high school. The three years that lay ahead made me nauseous and to just hide from all the problems. Compared to everyone and every-thing. Does it matter what others have done? I want to do what I feel is good for my future. If I fail I can at least say it was because of my own decisions. Like hawks they devoured the last dreams stored in my Caracas. My dead, flesh eaten body lay behind their backs as they shook their tails for the next prey. I started with a bright soul and dreams and I end and died with a black hole. Through past tense I express the death of my once lively soul. And through the amendment of free speech, I share my story.
I read that and I knew, we had something interesting in the making in our house… your ability to be truthful, to speak your mind and an amazing command on language… and then I remembered the little girl who came running home crying because someone teased her that she could not read chapter books… And you should be proud that from that one question we went 365 days on a Father and Daughter Q&A session which I think every parent should have with their kid….
I have wandered so much aimlessly, and sometimes I feel even today I wander inside way too much than I should, stumbling on events and memories and getting hurt and even laughing for no reason. I remember an old Malayalam movie in which after her dad dies the daughter finds a note in which her dad had written…. just two small sentences “Never be like me. Never be like me.’
I think most parents will say that their kids should not be like them, but they insist their kids to be what they want them to be… which is as weird as trying to clone oneself. So Today I say two things to you. Don’t be like me and don’t be what I think or anyone thinks you should be. Be yourself, because everyone else is taken.
May be I should tell you more about my failures in life, things I could have done differently. I think the failures of a parent are the biggest assets for their kids. like the 10 ‘Don’t Dos’ from your Dad’s life….. but yes there is a lot you can learn from other’s failures, and your success is in learning from others’ failures before they learn it themselves 🙂
You have always learned, changed and improved, unlike many I have seen.. And learn from other’s failures not just because you can avoid making them but also because you can make new ones, totally original failures that will teach you a thing or two… Be original and Be giving… life starts looking short when you hit 47 like me… 🙂
Rhea, Live life in such an originality that people look at you in awe, not because of success or achievement or money, but just because of their sheer inability to replicate and copy you… because of the abundance of experience you have had in life… Give those buggers and imitators a tough time!… Make them run Helter-skelter to be YOU!!…..
I leave you (sorry pause) for today on your Birthday and want you to cut and paste these words of Hunter S. Thompson… Keep it with you always….
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
Happy Nineteenth Rhea!!! Let the Ride Begin!!!!!!