Southern Tamil Nadu is a place known for its rich culture and lush greenery. Kadayam is a small town near Ambasamudram, a place blessed with the amusing Western Ghats and the ever famous Courtallam. It welcomes you with all Greens. Kadayam is known for its thick historic roots which dates back to Bharathiyar times. His second love (first being Tamil), his wife — Chellamal bares nativity here. This land imprints his foot steps and several of his thoughts penned down while laying rest on some mountain rocks. Such is the history of this land where a boy was born in the year 1994.
He never had any idea as to why his soul was given another chance to live a life down on Earth. (No baby does, I’m just outlining the idea about rebirth). He’s blessed with the most warm-hearted family. Raising a child in a village is still considered the least sought ideas to parents where the land gave birth to Abdul Kalam and Kamarajar.
Chennai — the USA of the 80s era in Tamil Nadu. As a typical village man, the boy’s father had the same thought to raise his child in Chennai, and he was successful.
Memory is a very funny thing. It is said that only 20% of your memory forming neurons are utilized in an average human life. God knows where the first five (5) years of your memories go (I have high hopes on Elon Musk to come up with a Memory chip for Human brain). The boy was enrolled into a decent day-care where most of his memories are faint. The boy did not have any siblings. Hence, he is the sole bearer of all the attention from his parents. His mom made extra sure he had his breakfast and lunch the way he liked. Didn’t care of what her husband liked. The dish she prepares in the morning is “kid exclusive”. The boy’s day care was in a walkable distance from his home. Swiggy was already introduced back in the day in the form of Mom delivery service. The boy had the privilege of fresh juice and Horlicks every hour of the day. That way, his mom gets to see her kid every now and then making sure he was happy.
As days passed, our boy started to grow. Still he remembers the struggle he went through to get his first cycle. He was so jealous of the neighbor kids showing off their bicycles which had honks. Those kids honked the boy’s patience so bad. The day came, right before his eyes was his favorite colored bicycle. A red one, like a flame. Little did he know that his father had to work his ass off to get his son the best memory for a lifetime. To give you an idea, the boy’s father earned a meager Rs.2000 per month where he bought a cycle for Rs.800. But, all the father wanted was the boy to live a life better than his own. The boy took a stroll on the road honking the haters all along. The cool kid vibe hit him hard.
High school is a child’s most important stage of life. They get to absorb, develop and mold their character. Also, they learn the importance of friends and friendship. The boy had to leave his child home and move to a new place. He did not like this move. He had the best life in his school with his childhood friends and neighbor kids. Joining a new school is always considered a haunting experience for any kid. New teachers, new kids all around and an awkward experience for an introvert. Yes, school days determine whether a kid seeks privacy or demands attention. To his surprise, he found his fellow buds in couple of days and they turned out to be his lifetime buds. This school was very different when compared to his previous one. The previous one felt more like his home. Friendly teachers, classmates were neighbors, Girl friends were more like boy buddies, boy buddies were more like family. Here, everything had rules. A strict school to put in right words. But he enjoyed only one thing of all his school days, his journey through cycle to school.
Every human being on this planet at some point in their lifetime certainly would’ve went on a cycle journey to school. The boy sensed a freedom when he rode his bicycle. Nothing bothered his journey, the rain, a Tyre puncture, you name it. All he wanted was Rs.20 in his pocket on a daily basis. On his way back, on open buffet awaited him. From Rs. 5 sugarcane juice to Rs. 10 egg puffs, he had a lot to treat himself. The best part? He got to spend his time with his friends.
Every child hits teenage. Let me put it this way, Teenage rams every child. The period when hormones play basket ball in everyone’s lives. The boy, for the first time in his life senses something new. This is a stage where kids try to mature themselves. Unfortunately for the boy, he took several years to mature. Hence, he made great mistakes in life which cost many relationships. He lost focus. Didn’t know what was important in life than the very things every teenager desired. The most important thing, he played with the dreams of his parents. He failed to win his parent’s ambition. This difficult stage forced him to exile into his own world where his mind was his only friend. Later did he realize that there’s so much to learn and focus on things rather than derailed actions.
Ask any teenager about their best days in their life and you’ll hear only one answer, College days. Yes, our boy joins a college in the city and he’s all excited to meet new people. Tamil movies for generations, has exaggerated college lives and has nurtured fake ideas into every teenager that they dream about going college days will be awesome. But, little did we know that they are nowhere near to the gates of Tamil movie college stereotypes. The boy’s college life was a mediocre one. There will be boys in class that are not too bright and are not too dumb. There is one level: Middle. Our boy falls into that category. Doesn’t participate in any cultural activities, doesn’t score high, doesn’t fall in love, but lives a satisfying life until he figured out Bunking. Bunking is like a ritual in college days. If you don’t bunk, you are no college dude. The boy’s parents had no idea that their boy was in his friend’s room watching India Vs. Australia ODI series with chips in his hand (Not coke).
The transition from a boy to a man is not a simple task. Certain experiences make him a man. One such thing was his first accident. The boy always boasted that he never experienced an accident in real life and never went through an operation in his life. The very next day, a container truck rams his office cab with seven passengers in it. The boy couldn’t move his left shoulder. He had a funny feeling. Office colleagues reach the spot and his lead screams him to move from his seat. The boy however screams to the lead that he cant move. The boy sees to his right. The driver finds it hard to breathe and holds his chest. Even in pain, he lifts the driver’s head up so that he can breathe easy and screams for help. In the ambulance, the boy carried the driver’s head in his shoulder and made sure he stayed awake. The doctors claimed that the boy’s left collar bone was fractured. The boy’s mind elated in joy, his first fracture remember? But then, he thought about his parent.
Being a only child, this is the worst part. Conveying the news to his parent was not as easy it may seem. His mother’s voice cracked. She trembled in fear. Both his parents reach the hospital holding their hearts. The boy has to hide his tear so that his parents wont feel the pain. He bit himself and made sure no matter what the pain, he should not show it in his face. He consoled his parents and made sure they never cried although his mother broke down. He made sure all his colleagues were okay despite having a fractured collar. This experience made him realize how to act or face a situation. This is where a boy grew up to be a man.
Now, he is in a weird spot. He is part of the ever feared “Routine” culture. Right from his childhood, he was used to his freedom he had, the decisions he made. But now, he is forced to undertake responsibilities which he believes should be broken down. In one hand, he wants to prove himself to his parents. On the other, he wants to make the most of this life as he believes life is one. So many thoughts run through his mind. Past haunts him from the inside. He tries to cope fear, but ultimately lets fear win.
The boy goes through a phase. A phase which wakes his mind. Now he realizes that acceptance is the key to destroy fear. To accept things, to face reality, gave him a better perspective over life and now he sees the world as a better opportunity to conquer fear and live a satisfied life. He realizes to not care and let unwanted emotions take control which makes him strong within and nurtures will power to face anything in life.
He goes by one thumb rule — to live and experience all of what this life could offer.
This is Ash.