Hello there. As always, it’s been a while. I keep wishing that I needn’t say that. Hasn’t happened. Let’s see.
Coming to this post, I was inspired to write this about a year ago when I read this post of Uttara’s. She in turn, was inspired by this video. Ever since I read that post, the thought of writing a similar post has been at the back of my mind. I turned 28 last week and the post came back to me. Felt that the time can’t be better to address my own self over the years. Let me just rack my brains and see what I would want to say to a younger Ashwin. Read on, if interested. Might be of interest to you too; if you wish to address your younger self, that is.
For my own convenience, I am imagining that I am travelling back in time to November 21st (my birthday) every year in the reverse chronological order. Let’s begin the journey.
Nov 21st, 2015 (27 years old):
Dear Ashwin, I know you’re having fun, but don’t lose sight of some of your goals - both personal and professional. Take utmost care of what you eat lest you end up in hospital one day. Don’t just pretend, but start work on the book that you’ve been wanting to write. You may not find as much time later. And please, take care of your savings. They’re there for a reason. Don’t touch them.
Nov 21st, 2014 (26 years old):
Dear Ashwin, you’ve been overworking yourself. Enough. Just take it easy and enjoy your last few months in IIM Kashipur. Go out. Travel. There are a lot of serene locations nearby. You may not get such a chance and time later. It’s good to be an optimist, but also be more realistic and less diplomatic.
Nov 21st, 2013 (25 years old):
Dear Ashwin, you’ve been floating in the clouds ever since you came to Kashipur 4 months ago. Calm down and come back to earth. Focus on the things that matter. Abandon those trivial pursuits. You know what I mean. And by the way, please pay more attention in those Finance classes. They will come in handy in the future.
Nov 21st, 2012 (24 years old):
Dear Ashwin, you’ve given your CAT. Now don’t worry about the results. Things will happen if they’re meant to. You’ve been having a great time with your friends at TIME. Cherish these moments for you won’t get them back again. It’s not such a bad idea to take some time off for yourself. Will help you set your priorities right. Go on long drives. You’ll miss having your car with you in the coming years.
Nov 21st, 2011 (23 years old):
Dear Ashwin, looks like you’ve finally taken to the plant life in Jharsuguda. But don’t get too comfortable for things are about to change and you won’t be in Odisha for long. A lot of things will happen in the next few months. You’ll be required to take some bold decisions. Don’t shy away from them if you want your dreams realized. And yeah, don’t lose hope on Chelsea yet. Something extraordinary will happen at the end of the season. 😉
Nov 21st, 2010 (22 years old):
Dear Ashwin, I know you’re having a hard time adapting to the plant life in this place called Jharsuguda in Odisha. Trust me. You’ll adapt well. I know you’ve been binge-watching FRIENDS. Please do so without any regret. You’ll re-watch the whole series again. And again. And again. It will comfort you and bring a smile to your face like nothing else. Do hang out more. Don’t stay locked up in your room with your laptop all the time. There are some interesting people around. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but ‘that’ girl has been smiling at you every time you go past her. 😉 Won’t hurt you to say “Hello!” and talk to her. 😉 Let language not deter you in any way. You’ll learn Hindi soon. And you’ll pick up bits of Odiya too.
Nov 21st, 2009 (21 years old):
Dear Ashwin, You’ve done pretty well in engineering so far. Kudos! Your mini project was great. That success will make you attempt a very ambitious main project. Don’t. The project that you have in mind would require a bigger investment and will not succeed with the budget that you have in mind. Think of something less ambitious. And enjoy your time at home to the fullest. Very soon, you’ll land yourself a job that will take you away.
Nov 21st, 2006 (18 years old):
Dear Ashwin, congrats on turning 18. While you apply for the driving license, do apply for that voter ID too. Else, you’ll find yourself without one, even after 10 years. Don’t fret about missing out on IIT. Trust me. You’ll do well with what you have. No matter what anyone says, don’t you ever think about giving up quizzing. It is something that will bring you laurels and give you an identity in the years to come. Looks like you’ve discovered that you can write as well. Great. Now take that advice of Chandru’s and start writing a blog soon. Writing is something that will again earn you an identity in the years to come.
Nov 21st, 2004 (16 years old):
Dear Ashwin, please give this IIT business a break and concentrate on school studies. Don’t ask anything more.
Nov 21st, 2001 (13 years old):
Dear Ashwin, looks like you really enjoyed the four Harry Potter books that Advaith lent you. Cherish them. There are three more books that will come and you’ll read them all again and again, multiple times. Also, look for more books to read. Ask mom. She’ll never say no to a book. Watching cartoons is fine, but books are better.
Nov 21st, 2000 (12 years old):
Dear Ashwin, it’s ok if you have not got the first rank. It’s not a big deal. You’ll get it one day. You will also fail one day. So don’t worry about these small things. Just enjoy yourself to the maximum. You’ve taken a liking to playing badminton, haven’t you? Or is it table tennis? Whatever be the game, spend an extra hour playing it. Playing a sport is something that will give you great joy and help you learn a lot.
Nov 21st, 1998 (10 years old):
Dear Ashwin, looks like you’ve started taking music lessons and are learning to play the veena. Looks like you have an interest in learning the keyboard too. Great. Please don’t give up on them. Music is something that will be your constant companion, both in times of joy and despair. There will come a day when you will regret not being able to produce some beautiful music with your own fingers. Don’t give that day a chance. Learn to play the instruments. You’ll love them in times to come.
Nov 21st, 1993 (5 years old):
Dear Ashwin, I can see that you’re very excited. You’re happy that you’ve welcomed a baby brother into this world. Take good care of him. You both will have lots of fun and will have lots of stories to tell in times to come.
Nov 21st, 1988 (0 years old):
Dear little one, welcome to this world. You have wonderful parents and excellent people around you. Say ‘hi’ to them. You’re in for a great journey in this beautiful world. Yes. It’s a beautiful world. Don’t you let yourself be swayed from that view, no matter what people say. It’s a beautiful world and you’re going to have a wonderful life. Remember that. Always.
There you go. That’s it. Now let’s get back to the future.
Nov 21st, 2016 (28 years old):
Dear Ashwin, hi there. I am you. Just a week ahead in time. But this week has given me the time to introspect and tell you a few things that you must know and bear in mind as you move ahead. First and foremost, get out of your comfort zone. Nothing great ever came out of persons who sat in their zones of comfort. I know it’s nice and cozy but if you wish to progress and do the things you want to do, get out of that comfort zone. Write. And write more often. It’s not okay if you have thought about the story in your mind. It will take shape only when you put pen to paper. Only then will that book of yours will ever come out. Lately, you’ve been writing those film reviews on Facebook. The feedback has been positive too. Continue doing that. Also, there’s so much hate on social media these days. Don’t let that affect you. It’s not wise to be drawn into meaningless debates and trying to defend your point of view. Focus on some of the works that you’ve been wanting to do. That reminds me that your keyboard is lying idle for quite some time. It’s not a showcase material. Take it out and play it a little, every day. You haven’t solved the 4X4X4 Rubik’s cube yet. Do that. And please read more. When was the last time you sat with a book in your hand for hours together? Set some clear, achievable goals for the year ahead and work towards them. I am sure you will succeed. That’s all that I have to say.
So there you go. That ends my journey towards addressing self.
To you, the reader, I wish a similar journey back in time. But please remember this. We can’t change the past. We can only learn from it and take the lessons forward towards a better future. Let’s progress towards that.
Till we meet again. Ciao
PS: Thank you, Uttara, for inspiring me to write this post.