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Sigh! I am 21



21 years old. I am not very sure if I am happy or sad to be 21. The good part of being 21 is that I can legally go up to a bartender and ask for a drink, except for Delhi and some states. And the sad part, well I am old.

I am a little short of words today. This journey of 21 years has been quite a bumpy one. I left home for Delhi when I was 16. The world was new here; my approach for life was a little different than what is it today. You know when I see first year students now, the confusion they live in, the issues they face, it faintly reminds me of the times I have spent or rather the foolish time I spent. I am sure my seniors would feel the same when they see me, but by the time you reach 21, especially when you happen to be independent since the age of 18, you get a fair amount of idea how life treats you.

The issue with growing old is that not only it widens your vision but also widens your needs. Your tolerating power increases but your hunger for necessities doubles up. Once you get a taste of living it free, no matter how hard you try, you cannot easily return back to a life with restrictions. I cannot imagine a life where I have to seek permission to go out and return back on time. I cannot imagine a life without internet and television. But back in 2010 when I first arrived in Delhi, I was put in a hostel where entry timing was 7:30 in the evening, there was no access to internet, laptops were not allowed and TV & electronic items were banned in the hostel premises.

Birthday 2009, last birthday celebrated in Guwahati
If I am asked today to lead the same life, I wonder I will end up killing a lot of people. So you see, with age it’s the freedom that makes the difference. I still remember the first time I used the ATM in Delhi; it did not have 100 rupee dimensions, so I had to reluctantly withdraw Rs 500. You know what I did? I called up my dad, told him about the issue and sought help as to how do I handle such a big amount. Look at things today, I will not even elaborate.

Freedom I tell you. When I moved out of the hostel, I finally decided to rent an apartment and moved into this furnished apartment in the DDA Flats Janakpuri. That was actually my first step to freedom. I did not have to ask anyone before stepping out of the home. I had TV of my own and no one was around who would ask me to switch it off. Back home, there was this time frame, post 7:30 pm, no TV. You can watch again from 9.00-9:30 and by 10 you either study or go to bed. Who would stop me here?

But somehow I realized that it’s my life and I am the one who would either make it better or destroy it. Freedom at an early age of 17 can either make you a very sensible person or make you a waste. Thankful as of now I am neither of both and am still continuing my struggle for sensibility.

Life is all about taking chances and grabbing or snatching opportunities. Even now I am a little reluctant in snatching what should be mine, but at the back of the mind every one of us is selfish and every one of us get jealous. If you are single and your roommate is dating, no matter how horrible the couple looks, you are bound to be jealous. The same goes for every field. You see your college mate succeeding or your colleague doing well, you feel proud, but also jealous. And this jealousy fuels you to be a better life, to a more successful one. But if channeled in a wrong way jealousy can also be your stairway to hell.

Never the less, finally I am 21 and I am old. The year 2014 is indeed been a special one as finally my family back in Assam moved into our dream home. Must I congratulate dad here because he has really worked hard to make things happen for us.

Now wrapping up this tale, which is not all fiction. Happy 21 to me.


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Amlan Das Amlan Das Author

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