I’ve heard this more than I’ve heard my own name being said.
I agree. We can be a bit clueless, or careless even. I forget birthdays, I forget to turn off the AC. I drink all the cold water in the fridge and I don’t fill the bottles and replace them. If somebody criticizes me and not in a good way, I might ask them to go fly a kite.
But. Wait a second.
It is an “Iss zamane ka baccha” who stays up until 2 AM to comfort a distressed friend.
It is an “Iss zamane ka baccha” who wouldn’t think twice about giving a lift just so she gets home safely in the dark.
It is an “Iss zamane ka baccha” who would spend all her pocket money to take a stray puppy in.
And it’s all “Iss zamane ke bacche” who would stand up for what they believe is right even if it means that it is going against a best friend or a figure of authority. They don’t make racist or sexist jokes. They are more accommodating or do I dare say, welcoming of the LGBTQ+ community. They start revolutions. They cried over Snape’s death even after acknowledging the fact that he traumatized Harry and the other students. They grew up to accept that Raj is a terrible guy though DDLJ is one of the iconic movies of all time.
We squeal over cat videos. We laugh at memes. We obsess over TV shows.
We wouldn’t judge someone for having tattoos or colored hair.
We wouldn’t say “No!” when our child tells us that she wants to become a stand-up comic.
“Iss zamane ke bacche” are some of the kindest and the most forgiving people I know.
And next time someone calls me an “Iss zamane ka baccha”
Today, it’s going to be about my favorite pair of jeans. I call them old, my mom would most probably describe them as ratty in kind words. I’ve had them for so long, that I don’t remember when I bought them. Also, I never ended up growing, so they still fit me.
My jeans, they aren’t just a piece of apparel. They are a diary. I still remember the first stain I made; a gel pen that leaked, and I cried the whole night because I couldn’t get it out by scrubbing. That rip by the knee where it got caught on a nasty rock when I fell down playing badminton. Paint stains from my masterpiece, oil stains from when I had my favorite pakodas and wiped my hands on them. Grass stains from sitting and having a deep conversation with my best friend. Frayed edges because I’m not tall enough and don’t like folding my pants up.
Wearing them makes me feel like getting a hug from my favorite person. I’m not allowed to wear them anymore, but I still do, sometimes. I’ve been given ultimatums to throw them away. But they remain stowed away at the back of my cupboard. I can’t bear to throw away something that means so much to me. Maybe one day I will, but that day isn’t today.
I know people make resolutions at the beginning of the new year. But hey, you can turn over a new leaf any moment you choose to, right?
This time, it’s slightly different. I don’t want to stop procrastinating, or start exercising or try to get better grades.
This time, I plan to be fearless. I’m going to be brave.
I’m going to ask the bus conductor for my change back. Even if it’s only a rupee.
I’m going to smile at a stranger on the corridor without thinking twice. Even if they don’t smile back.
I’m going to make new friends. I’m going to walk up to that girl who I think is really interesting and say hi.
I’m going to ask that question in class, even if it sounds stupid in my head.
I’m going to call up and make the damn appointment on my own.
I’m going to stand up for what I believe in. I’m NOT going to be scared of being wrong, I’m not going to be scared of not finding happiness. I’m not going to be scared of not being loved. I’ll become brave enough to say what I think.
I’m not going to be scared of existing. I’m not going to be afraid of living.
What I’m going to be is ME. With neither self-doubt or apology.
It is easy to question everything when you’ve been bent, back-stabbed, broken. Lied to, ignored, forgotten. The world is a cruel, harsh, heartless place. You could be suspicious. Why would a stranger say hi? Why is this store offering a discount? WHY are you being nice to me?
Cynicism is healthy; you can’t deny that we’re motivated by our desires.
But once in a while, I see you playing with a homeless child. I see you make the old man in the park smile; I see you secretly slip some cash in his bag that he is too proud to take from you. I see you give up your seat for the tired looking woman: she’s grateful, she hasn’t had a breather all day. I see you compliment that random girl on the street; it made her day.
Now, I see you in everyone I see. I see your cheerful grin directed at me. I see your hands reaching to help me pick up the books I dropped in the corridor. I see you in the journalist that volunteered to go to Syria. I see you in the guileless little boy next door. I see you in the teenager that is crying after reading a book.
I would have been Scrooge if you weren’t my ghosts.
I see you in all the happy moments past. I see you when I dream of the future. I see you everywhere. When I look at the stars and the blue sky. In the sun’s warmth. In the darkness, in the shadows. I see you make me smile. I see you thaw my cold, cold heart. I see you making me believe that the human race is not so bad after all. Finally, I see you in me.
And that’s why I’m not a cynic yet– I’m seeing you.