Dear 15 year old MM,
Ammani asked us to write to our teenaged selves and I procrastinated like mad because I didn’t know which year to write to you! As I come to the end of my 30th year (a week more to go!), it seemed like a good time to get a move on the project even though the contest is long over. So I am going back to when I was half this age. Fifteen does seem like a good idea.
Let me begin by telling you not to let it bother you that your cup overfloweth not! People who weigh 40 kilos have no right to boobs anyway. You’ll eventually realise that clothes fall better on women who aren’t stacked, its so much classier to wear deep necks if you’re not spilling out of them and gravity hits the heavier women much before it touches you. Of course by the time you realise all this thy cup will be overflowing and it will be too late, but what the heck!
Love DOES make the world go round. Don’t listen to those who tell you otherwise – and tell you to ‘concentrate on your studies’. It doesn’t guarantee happiness or success. We might think differently at 40 but at 30 I still feel that way and I don’t think that is entirely terrible! Never mind the idiots swotting for hours for their boards.Especially that silly chick Nimisha something who was of the opinion that idiots study economics and management and the brains do engineering (Only in a small town will you imagine that the the engineers rule!). You’ll go on to one of the best colleges in the country and have the last laugh! As for Nimisha, last I heard she was doing a management course post engineering … ahem. So yeah – at this moment, from this vantage point, I don’t see the money coming in and it’s not really bothering me. If your home is full of music, books, plants, friends and the sound of laughing babies, (not in any particular order) you won’t miss much else.
Anyway, getting back to my favourite topic, louuu. Apart from it being a many splendoured thing and all that jazz, it IS what will make or break your life so think it through. No, I won’t ruin the surprise (if you can call it one!) – but let me tell you, it’s going to be your guiding force. You will let your heart guide you right through and trust me, that is the only way to live life. Work, career, money, yaada yaada – they’re relevant, but not important. But I’m not really worrying because I know you already know that. And oh – let me let you down easy – the brilliant, beautifully-brown-eyed boy you’re head over heels in love with? Well, errmm…. that won’t last, but he’s going to stay on in your life in a permanent way and I can’t ask for more. What better than to hold on to your loved ones for life?
Babies. You love them, don’t you? Well you’ll have some. Soon enough. And they’re going to be the best thing on earth even if they run you ragged. And my bit of unsolicited advice since well, you’re me and so I have a right to give you some (!) is – have them young. Really. Growing with them is brilliant. Being young and energetic and chasing them is fun. Being free at 40 to travel the world with the husband while the kids get their own life will be awesome. Enjoy every moment with them – they grow up too soon. Juggling is overrated and now that I am doing it, I can tell you, no one wins. You neither ace your career nor feel too brilliant about losing out on their growing years. Take your time with them, with life, in the garden, reading a book… everything. Dig your teeth in deep and enjoy every bite of life. There’s no turning back once you live it – all you can do is frantically write letters to your past that no one will read.
Friends. You have some good friends. And you’ll have them for life. And most of all you’re going to go back and get to know better some people you didn’t take the time to get to know earlier. When you’re my age, you”ll encounter a brilliant musician and writer called Monica Dogra. Check out her song called Oops (if you can time travel) and you will know what I mean.
There’s always going to be a bitch at work and it will be your privilege to work with her. There’s no escaping her and my advice would be to get a life beyond work (obviously you’re not taking my advice seriously because I find myself married to a colleague!). Yeah so anyway, get OUT of office. Media is a seductive employer. The work is fun, you meet interesting people at work, you waste time over lunch and coffee breaks and before you know, its midnight and you’re talking about the stock market in your sleep. But if there’s one thing you will do right, it’s to pick the right job after a few false starts (what made you imagine you should be an airhostess, you dimwit?! It’s a good thing you left before you whacked someone on the head with the teapot!).
Take care of your hair. And your skin – there will come a day when you love the colour you are. To quote Baz – wear sunscreen, and a good bra, (No, Baz didn’t say that, I did)! Take care of your friends. And your family. And yes, that damn pesky brother of yours is still going to be your favourite person at 30. Who woulda thunk it?
I’d advise you to learn patience, but that is a mere waste of breath because I haven’t got it down myself, yet! You’re hot headed and impatient and impetuous and quick to judge and frankly, I wouldn’t want you to be any other way. It’s what makes you, you. But do try and forgive. Hate is such erosive emotion. Don’t waste your time trying to get people to like you. Others are as quick to judge as you are (even if they don’t admit it) and once they’ve decided they hate you, there’s not much you can do about it and no point wasting precious time on them, is there?! It’s entirely their loss if you ask me! But even today I’ll tell you that I’d prefer to have half the world love me and the other half hate me than have all of it indifferent to me.
Let me end with your butt! It’s not too big. In about 3 years from now you will be known in the college for a ‘royal butt’ and that isn’t all that bad a thing. Someday you will realise the resemblance to Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez and wonder why the hell you were trying to starve it off! We won’t get into the futility of that notion.
You’re a great girl – keep smiling, it’s the best part of you – and oh – on a cheesy note – I hope you dance! And oh yeah, I know you won’t believe this, but though you’re still a rocker chick at heart ( you get a tattoo in the future!), you will grow to love jazz like the oldies you turn your nose up at. Fortunately you still don’t understand the big deal with the Beatles!
Yes, that is me at 15 – white tee under a blue dress (jokes about my dress sense back then will not be taken well). I had to blur the other girls so that none of them sue me. We’re sitting on top of a rockery in my parents’ garden back home. We shut off the waterfall that ran through it and scrambled up there for a picture.