A saying goes, “Throw a stone in the streets of Bangalore, it will most probably land on a Software Engineer”. As a 20-something, South Bangalorean, who has other 20-something Bangalorean friends, there are many behavioural patterns which I have observed(many of it applicable to your’s truly and some completely fictional).
Fresh from college, we join some IT-major, hoping of earning big bucks, give it our everything the first 2 years and then(THEN!) things start to change.
A rebel needs a nice ride
After toiling for many months, the quarter life crises kicks in. Many people are at crossroads. Some would have sacrificed their teenage years and shunned anything fun in the hopes of becoming a success. Then!
Then, everything seems meaningless and confusing, all of a sudden. The guy who used to come to college drunk goes on to get a better job than you, while you, who kissed hairy asses of lecturers in college, end up in a boring, seemingly dead-end job.
Some who had fun in college, who had a wild time in college, start remising about the good old days. Your old girlfriends are getting married.. Its time for a change, its time for the old rebel to come back!
Buy a fucking-bullet(hell yeah!).
Frontiers never explored become a destination all of a sudden. Every rebel aches to be unique and The Bullet is the perfect cure. Its so illogical, its logical!
Only a madman will buy a Bullet!
“I have bought The Ultimate Machine!”, you convince yourself.
Three years later, it turns out 6 out of your 10 friends have bought their Bullets and suddenly, yours seems heavy, fuel guzzling and, mostly importantly, no longer unique. You have been to 2 far-away places on your bike, last one being Ooty, 13 months ago, where the monsoon fury made sure your ride was not only dangerous, but wet and utterly uncomfortable.
A car seems a better option now. “Even the butt ugly Nano will do”, you think for a brief moment when the rain is pounding on your helmet, making it difficult for you to see even 10 metres ahead.
Big bucks, easy EMI options and a sudden craving for the Arts makes most of us fantasise about owning a killer Cam. You have unexplored creative energy bubbling within you and the boring humdrum of office life seems colourless.. and Eureka! You have an idea..
For a weeks and months you log into sites which review cameras and consult the many photographers, you happen to meet almost everywhere you go. Then you settle on your baby.
Its got a long lens, xyz mm, its black and it takes great photos of the clouds hovering above. You take those pictures and post them on Facebook with the tag line, “My first Photos with my brand new xxx Camera!”. You abuse FB the first few months and spam everyone in your friends list. Your friends who used to like most of your photos taken in a rickety old Nokia, start ignoring them.
As with The Bullet, this particular experimentation with quarter life crises peters out.
Some of us discover(rediscover) something spectacular – Alcohol. The dusky beauty adds meaning to life, purpose to weekends. Weekends become exciting. Pub-hopping starts!
The combination of rising prices combined with rising monthly EMI payments on your costly nothings combined with near stagnant salary, eat into your Pub-Hopping budgets.
Lakshmi Bar near BDA Complex, Banashankari, seems more alluring; and, monetarily makes much more sense. 🙂
You are one-step away from being a counter-kudka(Counter as in bar counter. Kudka a drunk). But, for you its time for fun. Its also time to make up for lost time you have spent not drinking! When drunk you fear the time when a creature comes and taketh awayth the bottle of Kingfisher Premium Beer; you shudder to think of getting married and losing all this freedom.
“Why don’t you come meet my parents? My dad is looking for a rishta for me.”
She was hot in college, ever so pretty… She loved me and I her. Yes, she has gained a few kgs, so what? So have I. Now,I barely make enough to sustain myself and she wants us to get married and have kids! Her biological clock is ticking, mine just started..
What about my beer!
I am still a kid. So what I have a stable job and my dad has built for me a 60-40 house in JP Nagar.. ITS NOT TIME TO GET MARRIED!
Either, its your Girlfriend on your case or, in some cases, your parents. “Yaavaga thamma maduve?(When are you getting married?)”, asks your aunt mischievously(everybody is either an aunt or an uncle) in one of the weddings your parents manage to drag you into. “Yaarannardru hudkondidiya?(Have you found someone?)”, is a double edged sword. Those who have girlfriends can’t answer honestly, those who don’t, feel pathetic that they don’t have one. Strange conundrum..
You make her wait for an year, thinking, “She loves me too much to not wait for me”. One day you are hanging out at your adda and a friend of a friend tells you that your girlfriend is getting married. You stand there for a few seconds.. stunned.
She was not picking up for the past 3 days and you never had thought twice about it. Your tiny world is coming crashing down now. The love of your life has succumbed to her parents wishes and whims.
She has blocked you on FB, changed her number, cuts off all lines of communication. Your common friends inform you that the engagement is next week. You are shattered.
“She told me she loves me!”.
The Bullet, The Digi-Cam, the brand new Car seems pointless. You are 24 and lost.
College was fun. Bunk classes, goto your adda near college, conveniently located to smoke-up, where none of your lecturers can see you. Plan trips and actually manage to go! Its been ages since you have been to any new place now. The last one was Gokarna for the new year, 9 months ago.
You are 26 now, your girlfriend has either left you or you never had one(better to have loved and lost, than not loved at all?). You have been working in the same project for the past 3 years. Nothing excites you anymore. Digi-Cam is safely locked up in the cupboard, turns out you are not that great an artist or just realised “Every other fucker out there thinks he is a photographer!”. Subconsciously, you don’t want a reminder how normal your life is. Nothing is hatke if everyone starts doing it. Why did so many of my friends turn to Photography? Bastards..
Time for something new – Time to do Masters in US! (Hell yeah!)
When it hits you, it really hits you.. The monotony of life is unbearable. You dream of dating white chicks, clubbing in Germany.. basically, getting away from everything you are. You want something new in your life. The current routine just doesn’t work anymore.
Masters is a perfect choice. Not only get a degree out of it, but a chance to settle in the country you studied in, should you choose to later.
Start studying for GRE, learn by-heart the meaning of every single word in the English language. Either Masters or you threaten quitting if your project doesn’t initiates H1B. “Onsite, here I come!”
You arrive to seek your version of Shangri-La. Finally!
6 months later you start missing home-made filter coffee, your friends talking shit after getting piss drunk in the local bar, the beautiful weather of Bangalore… The list starts expanding as long as you stay in Faarin.
Everything has changed!
You come home after 2 years of Faarin. Your anaemic friend is fat; your fat friend is thin. “Did he have a beard before I left Bangalore?… Huh.”
Some of your friends are married. In some extreme cases, have had kids! “How can a guy who behaved like a kid, when I left, have one?”
You get ready and text message everyone to come to adda, just like old times (Ah, the old times).. When you finally get there in an Auto(You had sold your bike, your first bike, just before you went to do your Masters), after cursing how Auto rates have increased, look left to find a spanking new Restaurant standing in the place where your adda used to be.
The one last remaining link to your old life has disappeared forever.
“Ok, I’ve tried to accomplish everything what I wanted. I’ve succeeded in some, failed in some. I am running out of ideas. Lets just say yes to Mom… Lets get married”
You do have fun with your masters. Meet new people, experience new things, see new places. You are at a good place.
Like any other night, you are skyping with Appa and Amma. They suggest marriage. You say no and that ends there. You get up and head for work, they go back to sleep. Next day, the insistence is a little more stronger. This time ‘No’ drags on to some 10 minutes. The day after that..
You finally succumb to parental pressure and say, ‘yes’.
But, you have seen the world. Have met new people and have become pessimistic about Arranged marriage. But, there is no option. You are in America, you can’t find a decent Indian Girl in the US(well, you can, but chances are low) of your same Caste and who meets your long list of parameter of a perfect woman.
Life has taught you some hard lessons. “How can I get engaged to someone whom I’ve met only 2 months ago?”.
“She is nice”, you admit, “but she is no..”, you zone out thinking about your ex. Besides, what if she is putting on a facade and after marriage is seems completely different to what she managed to projected as herself to be?
A little bit of you died the day you found out about ‘her’ engagement. After years, you have progressed to a point that you think about ‘her’ only once in a day. “Am I really being fair to the girl with whom I am going to get married to?”, you ponder. “Shouldn’t marriages happen out of love? Sure she is nice, but she is no..”.
“Its been so many years, I’ve not fallen for anyone, I’ve never even fancied anyone. Am I incapable of falling in Love? Has she broken me, perhaps, forever? Does she think of me, like I think of ‘her’?”
You actually get married, to someone who was a complete stranger only 6 months ago. Your life changes forever..
The 20s come to an end.