At first I thought that I won't write it and just savor this experience myself only. But then I felt that I should share it. Let me urge you all to watch the movie "How old are you?". I will not say anything about the story of the movie or what questions it poses, because it should be watched and experienced oneself. There are many questions asked very well and will make you retrospect and contemplate. But the feelings and thoughts the movie leaves in you are strong and pleasant. You can call it inspirational in all respects.
Special hats off to the actress who followed her dream and decided to come back and do what she is the best at (and mind you she is very good at it :) ) and gave a smart punch on the face everybody who is clinging to cliches. This is not a movie to be watched, savoured and forgotten, but really to be thought off and applied in our own lives. Don't miss this movie of all. It is worth watching and remembering. :)
Sometimes, you take your life for granted and live it without leaving anything to make people remember you for ever. And even if you have dreams, you always let them go for the "obvious things" in your life. This is for girls mainly, where they are taught that all their dreams should converge in love or in a happily married ever after. Either they should sacrifice their dreams for somebody else, or they should use their dreams as a means to find somebody. It is not for them that they should dream, they are often told and reminded, their dreams are just means to find them an eligible life partner. A partner who will "take care of them" for the rest of their lives. But what happens in that "happily ever after?" The woman has to give up her dreams, is forced to live according to somebody else's standards and if she protests, she is called disobedient.
Is a woman designed to be a love-sex-motherhood-taking care of all-has no rights of her own machine? Isn't even the most educated woman in our society treated with the least amount respect in her own family? How many of you have heard that you have no value if you cross 25? That you will not be married by anybody if you are above 25? That you won't get a handsome husband if you are not married by 25? That the chances of "settling" in your life becomes rare because you are highly educated? But who wants to "settle" and be forgotten for ever? Infact the word "settle" is the worst word I have ever heard in my life. In life you cannot settle. You will settle only if you have no dreams. Only if you take your life for granted and think that food-shelter-salary-husband-children-family will bring you happiness in life. A paid job (only for those lucky women who even have a job) and a "loving family" only cannot satisfy yourself in your life. Because you are ultimately a human being.
And I don't have to explain in too many words about the celebrated human species. Then why is it that all those exotic attributes of humanity can't be yours? Just because you are a woman? A woman has to fall into the monotony of all those prejudices and cliches the moment she crosses 15? Forgive me if 15 seems to be too high. May be I should say from the moment she is born or is a zygote. Everybody "advises" you not to do this, not to do that, because it will affect your prospects of having a happy married life. After long years of marriage, the husband starts despising his loving and caring wife who stopped her own life and moved in to some shadows, because he gets bored of her. Same in love. Why? Is it because you have made any mistake in loving them? Or because you have not given enough love and care to them? No it is not because of that. It is because you have stopped standing up for yourself, hoping to be taken care of. It doesn't matter who you are and where you have to stand up for yourself. You have to do it wherever you are supposed to. Not for anybody else, but for you.
And when you do that, the whole world will respect you. Including this selfish husband-lover-family who takes you for granted. You are not somebody who has to be lowered to the standards of a servant. Do you have to be? Think about it. What were your dreams when you were young? Do you have a passion? Do you miss it, if you have let go of it for the cliched things in your life? Do you feel that you were not brave enough to take them up and follow it? Do you miss being you? If so, then you have to bring it all back. You are not living a colourful life now. It is like an old dilapidated mansion. Either you renew it and break it and build a strong new one. Otherwise one day or the other it is going to collapse and no one will help you.
There is something which I have to mention about the movie here. The protagonist retorts with a strong video on facebook to the funny jokes which were spread about her. But she makes a point about her being known as the President's guest and not some self proclaimed show of on facebook. Most of the time, you get disheartened when people make fun of you about doing something stupid in some great situation, but don't realise that none of these people who make fun of you did not have that opportunity at all. It doesn't matter even if you have behaved stupidly, but the point is to get up from there and move on and make a statement with your actions.
For that you have to dust your old dreams or that spirit which used to define you, which made others look at you with envy or awe and respect you. There is no point giving up your dreams for something else in your life and regretting it later on. And if you regret it, you should take some immediate action and do not live in hell for ever. Because you have only one life as you and to be known as you. You don't have to go to the end of universe to become achieve something in life. Doing something which you like and living life in your own terms will do. Glitz, glamour and love do not bring that satisfaction. Money cannot buy it. In fact like you earn it. Through your efforts and makes you feel good.
The movie reminded me of many women around me. Including myself. I can write about women including my mother, and some of my teachers whom in many ways I respect. But to write something which is known very well to me, I think I'll write about myself. This is not some self propaganda or boasting (please forgive me if I sound like that ). But these are the experiences of a girl who wants to leave a mark and has been struggling for years since she set that goal. Probably all of you have such experiences. My birthday is after five days. I am nearing the end of my tweens and have been told that I should get married and "settle". I am being viewed as a freak by many people. Every time I meet some old friend or chat with someone, they ask "what about your marriage", "when are you getting married", "if you don't get married soon and enjoy your life now there is no point living it" and so on! People view me as a freak. My parents are worried about me. My relatives are concerned about me. 99% of my old classmates/ friends are married and have kids. I am the freak who made the "mistake" of following HER dream. What is that dream? The dream of being a scientist.
I knew exactly what to become when I was in school. I had no clear idea what to become till I was eight years old and that was the year in which I read about solar system for the first time. (At that time there were nine planets in the solar system. :) ) I fell in love with it. (I remember once, the director of CERN coming to our lab and asking "why did you choose science"? I wanted to tell the story about solar system, but didn't say it for some reason.) And since then I have been in love with science. I fell in love with it over and over again, reading a particular book made me realise that we should love nature. And I started loving nature and the creatures in it, then I fell in love with the moon, the stars the sky everything, and finally I fell in love with astrophysics. But before that I had fallen in love with the something unexpected ; "the nature of things". :) Also known as Physics. My life changed. I can't express how much I love this subject, how much I am passionate about it and how much I long for it! Probably that love is what has given me a definition over the years. I wanted to be a physicist from 9th standard onwards. I loved everything else, I love English and Maths too, but my love for Physics is just more than that. Physics is not something where I scored more marks. But it is something which gives me the satisfaction that I can also do something.
And I was ready to do anything for my love. So I pursued my dream. I knew exactly that I didn't want to join any professional course, I wanted to learn Physics and wanted to be a scientist. The movie says, "Your dream is your signature". If that is so, I too have a signature, "scientist". That is what my friends in hostel used to call me. Then I fell unexpectedly in love with particle physics (that is a different story), but that rendezvous was made possible by my so called freaky nature! Had I not gone to that quiz competition alone in by BSc second year and not qualified to the final despite being the only member in my "team", I would never have heard about quarks which made me come till where I am now. I didn't win any prize that year, but it changed my life for ever. And to some extend people used to identify me! Next year also I went after my quizzing dreams and won many competitions. Now I must say that I was always one among the toppers in most of the places (how I became a topper from a stupid girl is another story). That used to make me happy as well as sad.
Happy because I used to feel that I can also do something. It is not the name or fame which made me happy, but the simple fact that I was doing something which I liked the most. It didn't matter if I failed, but I was happy that I tried. The struggles become harder and harder as I grew up, there were times when I used to think why all troubles would come to me only, but then I realised that I can't be happy without these troubles. It is my choice, my life in my own terms. Had I chosen to live a complacent life, I could have, but that would simply be not me! And what used to make me sad was that every other fellow had a lover or partner who "loved them deeply" when I had none and probably made me feel like a loser! My mind used to get baffled by the fact that why I was the loser when everybody else was a winner. But later on I realised that being loved or taken care of (infact this "taken care of" is a phrase with double meaning) is not winning. Winning is still chasing your dream and taking care of yourself without anybody's help. What use is being "known" as Mrs.X's wife/lover/girlfriend or Mr.Y's daughter/sister/mother and be forgotten for ever if that is the only way to be known? I have got enough love and care from people for being my father's daughter. But that is because people like and respect him for what he does. Similarly being known as my mother's daughter (luckily I have that privilege) is only because she has done something in her life. But I want to be known as me. Unless you want to be known as yourself, you will never chase your dream.
And the moments in which you feel good about yourself, like the passport officer looking at your mark list and asking you about your education or a student you meet somewhere unexpectedly telling you that "I know you chechi, you were in our college union" or somebody asking you "are you not that girl who came for that quiz" cannot come unless you speak for yourself and stand for your dreams and strive to achieve them. We are all humans, we need something other than the bare minimum in our lives. And that comes only through our dreams. Everyone of us have our own. It may be science, arts, craft, music, acting, public service, travelling; anything. But if it is a good dream and will bring good to you and others, do not hesitate to follow it. There will be hurdles and times when you question yourself. But the whole point is to keep on trying. You never know what will change your life for good. Get out from that pit of boredom and start living. Because we all have to leave some signatures in this world, big or small, we should definitely leave a mark. :)