Sunday, February 12

29 lives

Last night I sat basking in the yellow red patch of my living room it struck me. I had lived my 29th year.

Twenty eight of them. passed by. like a train chugging on the tracks through a sluggish town.

When I was 19 I couldn’t imagine being 29. I thought it will not happen to me. somehowI would escape the clawing talons of age. of receed. of decay.

Somehow I would turn the clock backwards.

At 19, I looked at all 29s who weren’t rock stars, actors , or public figures as people who had missed the mythical bus to El Dorado.

At 21, I was scared of missing it myself.

I freelanced for Times those days after college. I read up Graham Greene and Michael Odjante at the British Library. I taught street kids on weekends in a not -ambitious -and -not- bothered- NGO in Patna. I savored Golgappas at the Boring Road Crossing once in a while. Yet there was a sinking feeling that guys around were taking a mythical bus to El dorado. And I did not have tickets.

And I walked out on home. On a taken- for- granted- life. On care.

Even at 24, when I entered the precincts of adult world with lot of Organisational Behavior models stuck in my head, being 29 something was a reality for the lesser celebrated mortals.

And then the 29th year slithered its way into my life. Without intimation. Much less a warning.

Last Sunday when the clock struck 12 and when loved ones popped the proverbial champagne I felt 29th year permeated my yellow red living room.

I saw it sitting in my favorite alcove, reading my copy of “100 years of solitude”.
I saw it sipping champagne, smiling victoriously at my don quixotic “it-will-not-happen- to me- thoughts.
I saw it in my giggles that give in to my restrained smiles.
I saw it in my held – back self when a loved one hugged me.
It stood there between a world – that- was- to- be and a world- that - became.
It stood there as though it was always there, like the first form of life that walked the earth centuries ago.

And yet I survived the ogre.

I had fought back the ogre of recede, the demagogue of decay.

It could read my book, sip my wine, infringe on my space but it could not do some things.

It could not stop me from loving.

I can still love.
Life. People. Colors. Stories. Acts of courage. My country. Parts of my HR job.
I can still feel something stirring inside me when Rekha surrenders to Amitabh saying “Teri bahoon mein hein janaam jismo jaan peghaal ke”
I can croon bad poetry into vodka laden nights with drunk eyes and still trust to be dropped back home safely. Also without any complaint.
I can still cry when I watch the movie “Daddy”
I can still chat to this class mate from school and laugh about who we have become and who we have not.
I can still feel excited about wasting a Sunday on buying silver jewelry which I would in all likelihood never wear.
I can still write pages and pages of script for a documentary I do not have time to make.
I can still write chapters of my book that I want the world to read some day.
I can still love madly.
And now I wait eagerly to be 40. The countdown has begun.


shikha said...

Hey shuchika,

Happy Birthday!

Ajit Chouhan said...

Hey Happy birthday to you............Didn't know that it's your birthday....Hope amitabh called up ..

Ajit Chouhan said...

You got to try all the songs in the list....Can't afford to miss any...

shuchika said...

thanks shikha, thanks ajit

yes, amitabh called up, religiously.

he is far more expressive and prompt about these things that i have ever been.

thats what brothers are made of.

but he refused to send flowers for my birthday.

Ajit Chouhan said...

Hey U r expecting too much from the poor chap.But I guess it's common with all sister's they always keep complaining about seedha ssadha bhai's.

Raps said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Raps said...


happy birthday.... don't worry about the fleeting time that's what makes life more interesting I think :). I had the same feeling on my 29th birthday which was millions of eons ago but then quickly reslised that time and space are all relative.... the general realtivity theory rules!!
Have fun.

geminijesus said...

Hi Shuchika
Belated B day , U must be happy I am one of those who is so much like U , tends to forget everything cant even have excuse of working hard , u know it for sure I dont and I accept
But does it really matter , to me Tho na it doesn’t , but wouldn’t it be nice if ppl do remember and call up , what’s bad in that , mine is 13th June BTW
That’s what I like about gifted writers like u they can make everything look so special , I just had my 27th B day (shhh...) and never gave damm about the age , for me its things done ( kept aside ) and things not done ( needs to prioritize on that )
Reading ur article makes me sad I accept when I see men more younger to me being so successful , am I a bit too slow , do I really live a very relaxed life or am I just too lazy , do I really feel that there is no fun in achieving THOSE things or am I being escapist . So many questions as usual after ur article
Very Forgetful but extremely affectionate

... said...

Hey! I am getting there too - few more months and I will have completed 29 years on this planet. Wish you a happy belated birthday!

Ajit Chouhan said...


You've been tagged ,check my blog for more..

Anuradha said...

I missed your birthday I realize!
Belated wishes...cheers to many more idlyllic Prithvi evenings!

And yes....there's something about hitting the other side of 20s - I just said this to a friend myself -you feel life's just begun!


shuchika said...

thanks anuradha.thanks rapti.

and sonu thanks to you too.

Atul said...

Suchika .. the mention of Golgappas at Boring Road Crossing was mouth watering .. miss those good old days at Patna and am waiting for my return from exile .. this weekend when visit New Jersey, lots of Golappas packs are in the list

happy b'day

scorpio said...

Hi suchika
Yes... I am the same 'taru mitra' frank 'bhaiya'... journalist, communicator, clown
btw... your post 29 lives rocks... should post ,more often

Ajit Chouhan said...

Suchika....u've many of your Patna Bhai-Bandhu's visiting your blog now....kinda gud fun..frank and u know the reason why I've u tagged on my blogs...

The One said...

You write well. My compliments. However, I do think you're a bit hard on yourself at times.

Something similar I posted at:

Mandrake said...

woah!! that was a surely complicated way to saying its your birthday. In my way it would be just a single line 'Happy b'day to me! yay!!'
but on a more serious note, your post does bring back my memories of growing up in boring road and cycling to science college on the crowded ashok rajpath to travelling in the underground in london. its surely has been a journey pretty much like yours!!
have a good one girl!

Ritu said...


visited your blog after a long it 29 or 40, i know u will always be young at heart..and thats the best part about u and that is what matters..