It’s my birthday today. I’ve joined the 27 Club. You know, the club of iconic musicians who died at the age of 27. Except I am sans musical achievements, pop culture image of mythological proportions and have not died as yet, and don’t intend to anytime in the following year. I recently mused on the meaning of my name and my blog name and today I realised my nom de real life, Amrita, literally means “not-dead.” My Sanskrit is a bit rusty ( i.e., non-existent ) but -mrita means dying or dead and prefixing with an a- negates it to ultimately mean A- + -mrita = Amrita i.e., not + dead = not-dead. So, yay me, congratulations for not dying. Not yet.
I am neither sad nor happy at this development. All passions are thoroughly spent here, both enthusiasm and panic. It’s just bewilderment now. Okay, I am two seven but, what does it mean? I am a youth-oriented person. I like being young, young things appeal to me. Of course, my version of young is very different from what young means now, i.e. in the last four or five years. Maybe because it isn’t aimed at people my age. The problem with youth culture is, it is very age specific. When you are at an age when One Direction or whoever doesn’t appeal to you, you are old to people who like to create youth culture. I know many of you will disagree with this because taste is ultimately in the eyes and ears of the beholder. And it is harmless because, who cares what a mid to late twenty-year-old woman likes, right? She has enough grown-up problems to think about.
Except I don’t. I don’t want to and I really don’t have to either. There is a strange global phenomenon that has abided despite huge changes for the female of our species. When we are a certain age, early to mid twenties to the end of time, there is a practice involving any other random member of our species, with no criterion like age or gender, to express concern for the female’s marital status. In plain words, anybody and everybody expresses worry and pity if you’re not married. If you are married, they are dying to pity you further. Basically, a surprising number of people, especially those who didn’t think twice about your aspirations and appearance before, suddenly take it upon themselves to do so because your own, personal amount of worry isn’t enough. You may be the most beautiful woman in the world. You may be very successful in your work life. You may be in a healthy relationship with an excellent partner. You maybe none of these things and still couldn’t care less. And yet, there are these people everywhere, everywhere who cannot comprehend the possibility of a woman not feeling desperate about anything ( especially, marriage ), as if it should be as natural to women as their physical characteristics.
My feelings on this whole business are stuff for another post but, you must realise why it was relevant for me to discuss it here. I really don’t measure my life and expectations of it by those things. There are many who do and, as long as it is something they naturally feel, I would never be the one to criticise. I’ve never thought about my life in that schematic which so blatantly has loopholes for nearly every human experience. I don’t see why I should start now. I’ve unconsciously thought about this for the last month and all I feel at 27 is, it’s time I get on with doing the things I want to do. And I’ve been telling myself that for a very long time, and I haven’t done nearly enough.
At 27, I feel I am not as malleable as I was before, physically or emotionally. I can’t believe I can metamorphose into something else at will, like I thought I could. I’ve grown used to my skin, even if I don’t like it that much. There is still much spacious room for improvement but, that is what the rest of this not-deadness is for. Improvement, not change or conformity. I have grown to have two philosophies in life (yes, I’ve dissed having “philosophies for life” in the past but, to quote the wise Morrissey, “I am human.”). “Life is a long lesson in humility” by J.M.Barrie and “This above all: To thine ownself be true.” by BillyShakes, the long-forgotten rapper. I remind myself of the first everytime I fail at something, and the second gives me courage to risk failure again. I don’t wish my life to be easy or secure. I only wish it to matter. I don’t know if that’s grown-up enough but, that will have to do for now.