Note: The title translates as ‘when you are 26 years old…’
Well, the reason for this post now is because it would lose its relevance in a couple of days for me. It already has for a couple of respondents.
Here’s what it is. During a casual chat with my school friends in a whatsapp group, we all realized how we were all 26 years of age, now. Wham! An idea struck in my mind. For those who may not know, ‘16 Vayadhinilae’ (When you’re 16 years of age…) was a landmark film in Tamizh Cinema that released in 1977 and starred both Kamal Hassan and Rajinikanth. Taking a cue from that title, another film that released earlier this year was titled ‘36 Vayadhinilae’ (When you’re 36 years of age…). All that was left in between was a ‘26 Vayadhinilae’ (When you’re 26 years of age…). So that was the idea. Ok. There you are – 26 years of age and you have your friends who are also of the same age. What to do next? That’s when this iconic video titled ‘I Am 20’ helped. This gave me a lot of ideas.
Very soon, I started working and spoke to a friend who worked in the print media. For all practical purposes, she’ll remain an anonymous entity in this post. She was excited about the prospect of doing an article on this topic. Another friend was consulted and very soon, we even had plans ready for a video like ‘I Am 20’.
After a couple of weeks and a few rounds of deliberations, it was decided that we go in for an article first and if that shapes up well, further scope can be explored. And for the article theme, we decided to stick to the same theme that was dealt in the video in a more generic sense – about life at 26, the future outlook, the learnings and so on. With the sketch ready, I started the work and reached out to many of my friends who were 26 years of age. As expected, a few people responded in the affirmative to help and be part of this project or whatever you may call it. Soon, we carefully jotted down the questions that we would be asking these people. The questions were very generic in nature. The idea was to gain some insight into the minds of people from different backgrounds and how they looked at life at 26. With this, we felt we could write a cover piece or an article for the Metroplus (supplement of The Hindu) or a couple of other print supplements that we had in the pipeline.
Among those who answered in the affirmative, only a few actually responded to the questions that were posed to them. Pestering did not help and after some 3 weeks, we ran out of steam. All the enthusiasm with which we started the whole thing was gone. But to respect those who actually took the pains to respond without expecting anything in return, I felt it was my duty to do whatever I can and wrote an article. It did look okay, but the result seemed a foregone conclusion. With very little variety in the responses, even my supportive friend could not help much. Despite her efforts, the article could not see the light of the day. So here I am doing the least that I can do with the idea. Write a blog post on it and see how it goes. In the next para, I’ve written a summary of the questions posed and the responses received.
A brief summary of ‘Life @ 26’:
The respondents are as follows (in no particular order):
1. Nandiprasad V Prabhu, a 2nd year student at IIM Kashipur
2. Ajoy George, a Consultant at Deloitte U.S India from Bangalore
3. Ganesh Kumar.S, another 2nd year student at IIM Kashipur
4. R. Rajaguru, an Airspace Manufacturing Engineer from Bangalore
5. Shivaguru N, a writer from Delhi who’s also “an MBA student by accident”
The questions posed to them were as follows:
- How do you see life at 26?
- What do you wish to do in the life ahead?
- What is/are the best lesson(s) that you’ve learnt from your experience in life so far?
- What according to you are the most important requirements in life for a man/woman at 26?
- Are you happy with the state of affairs in your country?
- In the above question, if yes, state a few things that you’re happy about. If no, state a few things that make you unhappy.
- How do you see the future of your country to be like?
- What changes would you like to see in the society? Are you willing to play a part in bringing about that change? If so, how?
Here’s a brief summary of their responses:
Nandi feels that his life is pretty good at 26, and that he’s well poised to achieve something big. While he has no specific plan for the life ahead, he feels that working smart and on time in a structured way has been his biggest learning so far. He feels that confidence and a determination to work towards the goals you set are the most important requirements for a person at 26. While he’s not particularly happy about the way things are in the country, he feels that the future is bright and that we should be the change that we wish to see.
Ajoy is a consultant and typical of consultants, he feels that life’s a little confusing with lots of new responsibilities. (No offence to consultants. In a way, I am one too :-P). While he looks forward to finding a partner and settling down in life, his biggest learning has been not to let anyone deceive him. He opines that close friends, an orderly life and a decent income are the most important requirements for a person at 26. Though he detests the prevalent tax structure, education system and politicians of the country, he foresees an India that is clean, traffic-free and economically strong. To get there, he feels that it is the responsibility of each one of us to be disciplined in everything we do.
Ganesh Kumar S:
Ganesh opens on a positive note where he feels that he’s clear and more responsible at 26. He has his entrepreneurial ideas intact and wishes to open a restaurant of his own in the near future. A pragmatic individual, he feels that his biggest learning has been to be patient and believe in self. According to him, friends, happiness, patience, determination and money are the most important requirements for a person at 26. He feels that in the present scenario, actions don’t follow words as people talk, but seldom act. He also feels that the human element of care is somewhat missing in today’s world and this may lead to a society where people chase money all their lives. On a positive note, he signs off by saying that atleast he’ll try to be the change that he wishes to see.
Rajaguru feels that he has matured well enough to take decisions on his own at 26. While he’s worried that his days as a bachelor are numbered, he also looks forward to travelling the world and enjoying life to the fullest. He feels that being good to others, respecting everyone and helping selflessly have been his biggest learnings so far. He opines that a good friend/partner and a healthy mind and body are the most important requirements for a person at 26. While he is not happy about the employment opportunities, basic infrastructure and prevalent corruption in the country, he foresees a rosy future free of corruption and other issues. And true to his words, he says that he will begin his entrepreneurial stint soon and strive towards the betterment of the society.
Shivaguru is a passionate poet and writer and his jest is evident in the way he answers about how he sees life at 26: “Lesser hair, an illusion of maturity (which might actually be the lack of courage to experiment on the relationship front), confusions about the right career choices, the persistent ‘Why?’ inside the head about anything and everything, desperation for a partner and apprehensions about arranged marriage make up the major chunk of what life looks like from across here.” He feels that he looks forward to earning as much as possible, so as to allow him the leeway to explore on the creative front. To not lose control of oneself and being true to self have been his biggest learnings so far. He feels that a partner, enough income and an idea for the future are the most important requirements for a person at 26. While he’s generally happy about the country, he feels that it is up to the people to take it to the next level. Echoing the sentiments of the others, he too feels that he can be the change he wishes to see, albeit, in his own way.
My life at 26:
So there you go. The responses were unique, but in a way, you could draw a parallel. A response from a girl is something the article lacked and that certainly reduced its appeal. Writing about the responses of these people makes me wonder how I see my life at 26. On first thought, I don’t see it being much different than it was at 25. But on second thoughts, I notice a lot of difference. I am more independent now than I ever was. This also means that there’s more sense of responsibility. I am definitely happier and my mind is much clearer than it was a year ago. I am richer in every sense of the word and am wiser. Most importantly, I am grateful to whatever I have and I don’t regret the things that I don’t have. Somewhere I notice that I have become less preachy and more proactive. I’ve realized the value of being silent and also acting instead of talking. To sum it up, I’ve definitely improved upon myself from a year ago. I only wish for the resolve to keep myself happy and spread the happiness around and to continue being positive always.
All said and done, this ‘26 Vayadhinilae’ may not have taken off the way I wanted it to, but writing it the way I wanted to, with all the freedom here has made me happier than I could have been seeing it in elsewhere.
So long 26! You made me a better person in every sense. Your memories will be cherished. Here’s to a glorious 26. Cheers!