Growing Up: The Interview that never happened
“Growing up has always been a pain in the arse. If you were to ask me something about the experience of my growing up, I will always begin with the first line I just said. Pardon my use of few strong words here and there but I deem it necessary to get my thoughts across.” There was a short pause as I searched for the next words very carefully.
“It is a shitty feeling.” My companion sitting across the table gave out a chuckle as he realized that I wasted a whole of thirty seconds just to come up with “shitty feeling”. I ignored the obvious grin and continued, “It is a shitty feeling when you realize there is no bedtime stories after dinner each day, no more extra toppings over your favourite foods, no more wasting the whole of your weekends playing football with friends, no more borrowing computer games only to never return them, no more new episodes of your favourite show,” I shot a quick glance towards my companion as he scribbled something in a notebook which was open in front of him.
I felt a bit tense as I tried to formulate words to express what I was thinking.
“Letting go of your dreams of saving the world as you find out you don’t have superpowers. Fighting over trivial things with your parents, talking back to them just because while raising you, they loved you a bit too much. Nagging over getting your first pet, your first phone and your first everything. That is just a short portion of it.” I got up from my chair and looked over. “Will you please stop scribbling?”
The man put down his pen as he looked up at me. “Sorry about that, I am just a bit nervous. I am expecting a call you see. An important call.” He said earnestly as if I was kind enough to care.
“Thank you.” I replied ignoring what he said. “Now where was I. Then slowly you grow up more, your favourite toys are forgotten, you value your friend’s opinions more rather than that of your mother. So, she complains about the company you keep and you fight, but this time you fight about a little bit more serious matter like where you want to travel for the summer vacation, how your allowance should be increased and suddenly before you know it, every argument starts to revolve around money.”
I took a deep breath, leaned back, looked up and closed my eyes. “Then you graduate after struggling quite a few years. You start having your own income source and it makes you believe that you are finally independent. So, you move out of the house and your mother agrees happily. But what no one ever tells you is that after giving you a farewell hug and closing the door, a mother leans against the shut door as she finally lets a few drops of tears escape which she had been holding in for a long time.”
My companion was more transfixed towards what I was saying unlike before. I opened my eyes slowly and continued, “After moving into your own little place and going steadily at a full-time job, you believe that you are living your life, you are learning to survive. But after a few months or for some a while longer, you become aware of a certain void in your life and you feel unsatisfied with your life. You look about in your empty apartment, you need someone to talk with, someone to cheer you on, you get up from the couch and start moving towards the kitchen but stop half-way through and get back to lying on the couch as you realize your mother won’t be there anymore. You feel guilty about how you treated her, and this guilty conscience prevents you from apologizing.”
“What’s next? You got to apologize to your mother. Come on, she is your mother for Christ sake.” My companion burst out which startled me for a second.
I cleared my throat and continued, “That guilty conscience prevents you from apologizing ‘right away’.” I said as I gave emphasis on the last two words.
“Until then you seek refuge in the arms of the opposite sex. What first seems to be playfulness later develops into something deeper and before you know it, you are in love. Then for a short time of your life, everything seems to revolve around love and not money for a change. You become committed to a single person and can’t imagine a life without them and after a few years when everything is going well, reality hits you, and it hits you hard. You start fighting over small things but this time you give in first and don’t keep fighting because you don’t want to lose her and no matter how hard you try to deny it, also because that guilty conscience of yours still lingers within you.”
“Seeing your dedication towards making your relation a success, she starts falling deeper in love. Before you know it, you now have a wife and can’t come home late from work and every extra penny goes into the saving account instead for that extra toppings. It looks like no matter what happens you don’t get extra toppings.” I laughed at my own joke as my companion laughed with me.
“Along the way, you might encounter many failures, in your job, love life or social life but you gain experience as a by-product of your failure. So, growing up is gaining experience and making memories to cherish. Escaping with your special someone to a distant land and feeling sad when the trip ends, not wise enough to foresee at that time that you would be returning along with little and full of energy family members.”
“Finally.” exclaimed my companion with excitement. “Something good about it all.”
I smiled, “Then comes the nagging.” I sighed and laughed out loud.
“Daddy, buy me this, buy me that. Seeing how difficult it is to have kids, you scrape out what little courage you have left and go to your mother. She welcomes you with warm open arms along with your family to her home which was once yours as well. You beg for forgiveness and she grants it immediately without a single thought. You cry a bit as she tears up as well while you both hug it out. Then you hear a curious voice asking why you were crying and you are finally able to crack a smile as you try your best to shape your words to make your little curious monster understand that you and your mother were just happy to see each other.”
“The period that follows is the high time where everything seems to go smoothly despite the nagging. Then one peaceful afternoon the news arrives. You and your family cancel everything and rush over. They always say there are two hardest things in life: saying ‘hi’ for the first time and goodbye for the last time. You clung to her hand refusing to let go and start crying like never before. Various thoughts start to rise, did she get to fulfill her dreams? Was I a good son? Was I there when she needed me? Was she just waiting to patch things with me only to leave me so abruptly?”
I cleared my throat as I noticed a small drop of tear forming at the corner of my companion’s eyes.
“After saying your final goodbye, you look around for someone to talk to. Then you get a feeling of warmth as your little monsters show you a glimpse of the angel within them as they hug you. Your wife captures the moment and it hangs over the fireplace forever. Not wanting to be left out, she asks for a family portrait and we get a professional photographer. Now you have two pictures up on that wall. As days turn to weeks and weeks to months and years, more pictures get hung up on the wall when one day you find yourself searching for a new wall of the house. Then life seems to go smoothly but reality strikes again, your children leave to become ‘independent’ and soon you and your partner are the only ones in the house again. Soon you are old and feeble and wait patiently for death as you look at the wall of pictures each day.”
There was a long pause when finally, my companion spoke, “So could you please summarize your answer to my question again? What does ‘growing up’ mean to you?”
I laughed as I replied,
“I knew you would be saying that. Well to put it simply,
growing up is laughing when you are sad and crying when you are happy, abandoning your childish dreams for the sake of surviving, gaining experience from your failures and passing on the knowledge to your little curious monsters, making memories to cherish later and keep believing that everything will turn out fine even in the worst of situations. When you don’t complain about your favourite show ending, you just start watching a new episode of a new show with your significant other.”
“Don’t believe everything I say though.” I continued as I looked straight at my interrogator. “I am just a 19-year-old kid, what do I know about life and growing up.”
My companion gasped and gave a confused smile as if he had forgotten how old I was. “Well, you don’t speak your age at least.” Right then his phone rang and I presumed that was his important call he had been waiting for. He got up almost in an instant and picked it up.
“Hello. Yes.” He began talking as he walked towards the door. “No, you can’t watch the next episode right now. Yes. Not until I get back home.” He said as he closed the door behind him.
A deafening silence followed which I tried to cancel out by tapping my fingers against the table. After waiting a few minutes and tired from waiting, I shouted impatiently looking at the door. “Hello!? Can I go home now? Is this interview over yet?”
Question and Answer with Samyam
1. Tell us more about you.
I am currently studying computer engineering at Kathmandu University. Writing has always been a hobby of mine and I hope to keep writing as long as I can.
2. What was your thought when you apply to Wordism competition?
I came to know about this competition through facebook and more precisely through a post my friend shared. The first thing I thought was to give it a go and at the same time not lose confidence in oneself no matter the outcome.
3. What are your dreams and aspiration?
My primary focus in life is to be able to support my family in many levels by building a successful career and providing the necessities. My secondary goals involve travelling to many different places and to be a film director and share my stories on the big screen.
4. How do you feel being the Wordism Hero for Falgun?
I feel extremely delighted by the result and by the fact that a few words of mine were able to touch someone’s heart, body or soul; be that it may.
5. Anything you want to say who is reading this!
This was my first time writing anything that was theme-based, so any new writers who are unsure if they can keep revolving around a specific topic and at the same time get their points across, need not fear as it is not as difficult as you might think at first. Also, the word limit proved to be a bit difficult to sustain as I had to skip a few portions of what I intended to write. Lastly, there are many good writers who did not participate in this competition and I would like to highly advise them to take part and hone their skills and share their creation with others.
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