My friend X told me today that it dawned upon him he has turned 30. I asked him what is so special about it. He was not very sure. But then he had read articles like ‘20 things you should do before you turn 30’, ‘Turned 30: Time to look to your finances’, ‘30 and still a virgin’ and stuff like that. Plus his family and friends frequently keep reminding him that all the girls of his age group would get married, now that he has turned 30 and he would have a smaller pool to choose from. Hence he should not waste any more time. He was asking me what to do in such a difficult situation. Asking ME of all the people in the world!
But then X seems to be worried and I
tried to help him out. I asked him to look back at his achievements so far. He
started recounting his board marks, his competitive exam results, his
certificates, salary and time spent with family. For a moment he took a pause
and then said that he had also taken a trek with friends in college. But his
finances are in disarray as he had to pay his education loan and currently he
doesn’t earn enough. His parents have given in to his demand to choose his own
partner. But they get enraged when he reports that he has been unable to do anything
till now on this front. His friends are getting married at a frantic speed,
every day similar pictures pop up on his Facebook wall, only with faces changed.
The women of his generation seem weird creatures to X. Half of his life lived
he has little idea of this other half of human species.
I then ask him what these write-ups about turning 30 actually say. Travel, he says; do what you want; live your dreams; save money and things like that. He told me that there are write-ups that talk about 10 places you should go before you turn 30 and X hasn’t even heard of 5 of them, leave aside the option of going to these places. My friend looks sad so I tell him that 30 may just be a number, one can always travel as long as one is alive. As for the issue of women, I assure him that there are many men like him still waiting in the lurches and those who have tied the knot face their own set of problems. But I am not sure how much that worked as the pain of a lonely heart is a difficult one to heal. So I told him some sugary stuff one gets to hear. Love can happen anytime with anyone. You can’t force it, let the time come and grab it once it’s there. Some get it early, others late. Just make sure you are not into too much shit if you get one. Patience I assured him is a good virtue in these decisions.
Then what have you done all this while, I asked? You must have done something. You seem to be a decently hard working man. Yes he says. I am in the process of getting another degree, one of the highest rated ones. So that’s an achievement, I remind him. Yes it is, he says. Did they talk about it in those write ups? No he says. Probably there are too many people like me; hence it doesn’t ring a bell to the readers. Or maybe those article writers don’t consider it worthy enough. I said fuck the article writers, what do you think? He says he is happy at doing what he is doing right now. Let’s leave it to that I said.
What else, I ask? I have published short stories before and written a novel. I am trying to publish it, he says. What is it about? It’s about my days in college. This sounds pretty boring, I say. It may sound but it is not. My novel is not same as the others, it’s experimental. His college which coincidentally is mine as well, IIT kharagpur is just another character in his story with its merits and deficiencies, he says. So is it some sort of college romance? No there is not much romance we had in college, you know that. I said yes that is true. When is it going to be published, I ask? He says he has no idea, it’s been some time he has been trying but not much has happened. I wished him all the best. This means you ARE living your dream, I remind him. He says probably yes. But I still haven’t travelled as they suggest. I tell him you may not been able to write if you had travelled like the others.
X was feeling better now. But then something struck him. What about the virgin thing? What about it I ask. I mean you know. Yeah Yeah I know. Fuck off!
So 30 is no big deal, he asked. No it isn't, I said. You are on the right track. I quote Oscar Wilde for you “If I had 6 years to cut a tree, I would spend 4 hours sharpening the axe.” Let’s assume you live for 60 years so this means you still have time sharpening your axe. Wasn’t it Abraham Lincoln who said that, he tried to correct me? And it was 8 and 6 years if I remember correctly. Ohh my mistake, how does it matter, I say. Just go cut your fucking tree and let me live in peace!