I know I am a couple of days late in penning down the thoughts that swarmed my head on 31st night as the world and along with it I moved into the years where the third digit in the year part of the date will never be zero. The reasons for this tardiness can be many but plain laziness that has described me over the last 2 and a half decades would be the biggest culprit for this delay.
2 days ago it was the end of 2010 and along with it the end of the decade 2001-2010. The decade which formed my life, which shaped it, which distorted it, which convoluted it and which all with its negatives and positives will remain with me for whatever number of decades I live on from now on. Start of 2001 I was in school, about to write the final school exams of my life, wondering at nights and worrying at days as to if I would be able to make something out of my ordinary life. Everything, if not everything then at least most of it, was to be decided in the next 6 months with me about to see if I can land up at a good institute for graduation. In 2000 I did not know there is a thing called IIT that exists and in 2001 I failed to get into one. I still do not know why I did my engineering and what I learnt from it technically. But looking back at those 4 years, I can surely say I learnt a lot and started becoming who I am today. I made my first best friends, stayed for the first time in a hostel, shared a room for the first time, had a fight with him from the first time, worked in an organization for the first time as a trainee, bunked classes for the first time and did not end up being in the top 2 ranks for the first time. 2004 December was the last time I asked my father for money to spend on myself and 2005 January was the first time I bought my parents a gift from my own first stipend. That was also the first time someone superior complemented me for a job well done and made an ever-standing job offer which I can take even today if I want to work with him again. I had my first remember able crush in 2004 in college (albeit I am pretty sure there were many before that, just that I don’t remember them). And 2004 August was the first time when I had 3 high paying jobs in my hand, the sum total of which was the highest in the institute at that time.
Joined my first full-time job in 2005 at a company whose name my mother still cannot spell or pronounce and whose work stream I got to know only after my first project. Analytics as a word was never in my dictionary then and it never really mattered since the job was in Delhi and paid 25K as the starting salary which was enough for me then. Years passed by and 2006 was the year I first went out of the country and it was also the fateful year I fell in love for the first time. People do crazy things in love and I was no different though I just don’t remember most of the crazy things I did. Maybe I should have done more of them. Anyways, 2007 was the first time of the second time I wrote CAT that I got interview calls and it was also the last time I had to write CAT. 2007 was the year I had my scariest accident, the scars and memories of which still send shivers down my spine. It was also the year where I returned being among the top 2 ranks and it was also the year I got my summer internship with the employer I still work for. 2008 was the year I went to Europe for the first time (of the many more times to come) and it was also the year world came falling in October. It was the year that crushed many a dream and brought many a people back to earth. 2009 was the first time I worried about my future. But the year and the morbid start to it were not able to make me compromise on too many things. 2009 was the year I finished my formal education and it was the first time I felt some part of me was left behind at the place I lived for the last 2 years. When I got my gold medal in front of 500 people, it was the first time I saw pride in my parents’ eyes, a pride that compounded when Director of the institute and Chairman of BHEL stood up to shake their hands and congratulated them. It was the first time when I realized that I may have done something good with my life.
2009 was also the start of my unending professional life and it was the first time I lived in Bangalore. It was also the first time I saw a formula 1 race live and watching the live race was the first things to be ticked off my bucket list. As the months passed by, I for the second time was worried about my future and first time worried that I may have messed up the IIM degree and the gold medal. 2010 came unannounced and I just hoped that the last year of the decade brings some joy to my life. It did and that too in the very first week of the very first month of the year. March was the month I came back to Delhi. Life seemed back on track. 2010 was the year I got my first car and it was the year we moved into a bigger house. The year did play some tricks though and it was the year I finally said good-bye to the only person I ever fell in love with. Life moved on with its own funny ways with me being in an airplane almost every week. The year ended appropriately with me on a plane destined to Delhi on the night of 30th of December.
Looking beyond the events and anti-events, the hits and the flops and the fast flipping pages of the calendar, I wonder how I have changed over all these years. How have my expectations changed, evolved, got distorted? How have the things that mattered to me 10 years back changed? And most importantly how have the things that did not matter to me 10 years back suddenly became so important? 10 years back all I expected was to get into a good engineering college and hoped for getting a job that would pay me 2-3 lakh annually. Last year I was earning half of that much in a month. 10 years back I would have been happy with this money, last year I was not. No, it wasn’t about the money. 10 years back I would not have got up at 5 AM on a cold December morning and ride a bike in the pitch darkness fighting the cold winds, all the way to railway station just to meet someone for 10 minutes. I did that in 2008. 10 years back I would not have called my classmates mediocre and would not commented on their way of thinking. I did that in 2008. 10 years back I would not have spent 30K for watching a car race, I did that in 2009. 10 years back I would have married any girl my parents selected for me. I could not do that in 2010. 10 years back I would have asked my parents for advice, I don’t do that anymore. 10 years back they would offer me an advice, they don’t do that anymore. 10 years back I had horrible English and could not have written an article. Today, my blog has more than 12000 hits and 200 comments. 10 years back I did not know what love was; today I am scared of falling in love.
Some things still haven’t changed. 10 years back I was in top 2 of my class. 2009 I was back there. 10 years back I lived happily with my parents in Delhi. Today again I am enjoying the chill of Delhi sipping a cup of tea made by my mother. For the rest unchanged things, I don’t remember them since they never changed.
10 years surely is a long time but in some measures its nothing. Some things never change, some do and some maybe will. Who knows where I or you will be at the end of this decade. What will change and what will not. Doesn’t really matter since there is nothing we can do about it. Just pray that things that should not change don’t change and things that should change do not take a decade to change. Amen!!