Artnavy wrote a nice post of her younger self interviewing the present person she is and suggested that I do a similar one with my 25 year old self. I loved the suggestion and thought about my aspirations and dreams as a 25 year old (U25) and how far I (me) had come by way of realising them. Reproducing our bizarre (has to be where it concerns me and there is not just one but two of me here) conversation below:

U25:(giggling away...)Hi, how goes?

Me: Excuse me! Could you stop giggling and exactly what is it that you want to know?

U25: My! My! We do have a short fuse dont we?

Me: I'd assume that at 25 you would have stopped giggling. Remember you are the mother of a 3 year old now and wife of a professor?

U25:You really thought all this would make a difference to me? I guess I will be just like this even when I am 40, even when I am 80 ( not that I want to live so long!)

Me: (Buries face in hand in total despair!)You do talk 19 to the dozen, dont you? cant you respond to a simple question with a simple answer? What kind of a role model are you going to be to that sweet little boy of yours?

U25:I hope I will be a good friend to him and let him live his life according to his choice. Of course I will try to give him the right set of values but not make his decisions for him. And if he ever makes a wrong choice and is in trouble, would be able to support him without being judgemental.You know as Gibran says, "Give them your love but not your thoughts."

Me:That is the first time you said something sensible. great, and I see that little boy has grown up to be just fine (may be in spite of you). As for that quote when will you stop being such an insufferable showoff, quoting all the time. I thought you were done with that when you completed your degree in Literature and moved on to Public administration.

U25:(giggles uncontrollably)I hope I will remember all this and go to my grave quoting Shakespeare:
"And, when he shall die, Take him and cut him out in little stars, And he will make the face of Heaven so fine That all the world will be in love with night And pay no worship to the garish sun."

Me:(in total despair)God forbid! And may be it is just as well that I suffer from such a loss of memory that I can hardly quote now without googling. (You can't do anything without giggling and I cant do anything without googling.) It is as well or else,I might not have had even this many friends left!! So other than being a general nuisance do you have any career ambitions? I see you are working for a bank now.

U25:Well, I once wanted to join the IAS. Early marriage and the attendant responsibilities have made it an unreal ambition. My choice of subjects has made it impossible for me to become a teacher. As my time is running out I have taken up the job as a bank officer but this is definitely short term. At 40, I hope to be teaching small children in some school.

Me:You succeeded in accomplishing half of it by quitting the bank but never actually qualified yourself in montessori skills or anything to help you get a job in a school for tiny tots. But of course your other jobs in banking software companies gave you the opportunity to travel and also teach, only you were teaching adults. But you did a fine job of it - people actually asked for you by name for specific assignments!

U25: (blushing) Ah, really? I would not have thought I was capable of that!!And travel, yes I always wanted to travel to distant lands.I also wanted to write something and learn French and sanskrit when i stop working? what happened to all that?

Me: Write,No. You never followed it up perhaps because of the demands at home and job. You even went through a period when you did not have the time to read anything worthy of being called good writing. But you do write blogs and there are kind hearted souls who read them and you even get praised once in a way. Sanskrit, you started but did not continue because you wanted interactive courses. French, yes. your 48 year self is doing diplome now.

U25:I always wanted to adopt a child, a girl child. Did it happen?

Me:No,it had to be shelved as husband and father-in-law were against itAnd you could not have another child yourself. So Siddhu is your only child.
Well young lady, meeting me after 23 years are you disappointed? Would you have liked me to turn out differently?Any regrets?

U25:Disappointed? well no. You know that early in life i trained not to expect too much in order to avoid disappointments.It seems like life has been more than kind to me with opportunities, comforts and the people in my life.I am happy for you but you tell me, are you ashamed of me - my lack of poise unmindful of public opinion, my over-simplification of life with home spun logic, my optimism bordering on naivete, my faith in the goodness of people.

Me: No, I think you are alright. in fact those very things are the solid base for the path of my life and all the good things that have happened to me. To tell you the truth, behind all this grey on a receding temple claiming wisdom there is still you, the enthusiastic 25 year old who wakes up every morning and waits for a miracle to happen. Only I speak much less, I show off less and am calmer and slower. I dont meet and interact with so many people like you did. Otherwise we are the same. I am glad we met and had this conversation. May be I will try to revive some of your personality lying dormant within me. Stay with me for the rest of my life and may be we will go to our grave quoting Shakespeare:
"Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing."
12 Responses
  1. Shruthi Says:

    Lovely, Usha! :))

  2. Shruthi Says:

    I read it once again, and liked it even better!

  3. Very nice Usha. I think everyone of us should take checkpoints in life, atleast once in 5 years - to see what we wanted and what we have - just to keep us on the track of what we actually started out to achieve...

    Very wonderful post!

  4. Anonymous Says:

    The other way round, it does at times help when (at my age) I try to imagine myself 20 years hence and try to have an imaginary chat with him.. how much we wish/dream during the younger-blood days, and most of our aspirations, interests (like adopting, in your case) gets beaten for reasons of our own...

    May be the best way to go about life is, expect nothing.. not pessimis, not optimism, but neutrality (the good ol' JK thing)

    ah well, but then "expect nothing" is also an expectation...

  5. very nice & good that ur 25 self is not dissappointed. very positive approach

  6. Mahadevan Says:

    Congratulations to Artnavy for conceiving the brilliant idea.

    "give him the right sets of values, but not make his decisions for him". Absolutely correct. Right values themselves will guide him to exercise right choice.

    "support him without being judgemental" - Greater still.

    Hats off to the wisdom of a 25 years old.

    If the 25 constantly giggles, the 40 plus has to google - that is an interesting way of putting it across.

    "my lack of poise unmindful of public opinion, my over-simplification of life with home spun logic, my optimism bordering on naivete, my faith in the goodness of people."

    A statement full of humility; but what a stylistic expression! I would walk miles to read such lines. Shakespeare quoting 25 years Usha seems to dominate.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Fabulous. I'd love to write something like this with my alter ego, age 18, perhaps!

  8. Artnavy Says:

    beautiful- i got the goosebumps- i think U25 and me would have bene good pals

  9. Usha Says:

    Shruthi: I am glad you liked it. I had not expected anyone other than me and those who have seen me when I was U25 to relate to this!

    Vidhya: yes, I agree. Now may be I should have a list for my 60 year old!

    Kishore: Why dont you write a post on your conversations with your 40 year self?

    ITW: Thanks

    Mahadevan:(giggling)..hehe, you asked for it!

    Ravi: yes! waiting to read it.

    Artnavy: Thanks for asking me to do it. I had agood time trying to remember me at 25 and it placed a few things in perspective too. Guess what, I am very much that 25 year old - so we could still be good pals!

  10. Hip Grandma Says:

    So you too kept giggling...did you?And you've transferred your
    writing skills to Sidharth.

    "And, when he shall die, Take him and cut him out in little stars, And he will make the face of Heaven so fine That all the world will be in love with night And pay no worship to the garish sun."
    these lines were wonderful.

    I am glad you gave up your bank job it would have been sooo resrtricting.We do share a lot of qualities.I tried to relive my twenties in 'Striking Roots' May be I'll post the sequel when I get home.I don't have it here.Getting a 1st class for B.A. the late seventies was no mean achievement.Hats off to you.I'm reminded of a class mate Nila who majored in Economics and got a first divn.and wonder if Nila Subramaniam who writes for the Hindu is the same.

    Good job done.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    I'll give it a go... :)

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Aha... this is something. I would like to do this with my older self... :D