The Absent Joys Of Growing Up


Everybody’s getting married, and I’m getting old.

Priya is the girl I once loved; with pigtails and a soft nose. I’d chosen her among the top ten girls from my seniors. She used to teach us  dance. As a confused lad, engaged in the blurring of love and infatuation, I repeatedly made mistakes to catch her attention.

But would she look at me once? Not even for a fleeting moment.

When schools close for vacation at the end of an academic year, grief attacks the mind after a week or two knowing you wouldn’t be able to meet your friends, and the girls more importantly, for a month.

Finally school reopened; by then she had moved out of school, and I out of the dance group. Years later when I found out she had become a dance instructor, I sought her routine, but was flabbergasted to know that she was engaged. It turns out, for an iridium seeker all the gold in the world makes him nauseous. I’m not a pervert to be haunted by the dreams of a pig tailed girl. She has obviously retained her charm over the years, nevertheless, I’m more of a gentleman now with no stubble whatsoever and “possessing immaculate knowledge of sand and food for a 27-year-old who owns a beach restaurant”. My Uncle added that at a family dinner last year and I’m pretty proud of it. I flaunt it wherever I go.

I somehow used my wit to get myself invited to the lavish wedding of hers with a soon to be bald guy who I’m sure I’m not interested in shaking hands with.

The wedding is at 10.30 AM tomorrow, it’s almost a 45-kilometer drive from my place. I’d have to be up and driving by 8.30 AM. Before I prepare myself for the wedding lunch, I go to my restaurant for dinner.

I have seen Priya a couple of times after school, she grew prettier although she had a haircut every once in a while. To see her in her wedding attire would round my circle.

I sleep. My alarm would shout at 7 AM

There is a rope ladder falling from the edge of the sky. I climb up and climb up and climb up, step by step, not tiring, not questioning, determined to know the infinity that invited me. I look down, the rope ladder falls into nothingness, when I look up there is still a mountain to climb. I summon the courage to go up two steps at a time when I still see no clear sign of nearing the beginning of the rope ladder, I shake it to see the strength of it. It is as strong as an elephant’s tusk, it doesn’t shake. This time, I try going up three steps, but I miss a step and fall into an abyss.

I wake up to see my alarm scream 10.40 AM.

I grumble and wish her all the good things in life and go back to sleep, probably to climb the rope ladder to see what lay beyond and I give up once and for all of laying my eyes on Priya and her mate.

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