Dear Future me,
It must have been a hell of a ride for you, to get wherever you are while trying, and failing to, please everyone. You must be tired. So, sit, scroll through all your publications, find this one, dust the memories and read what you wrote for yourself ten years back with a Bloody Mary in your hand (hopefully, that is still your favorite drink).
I am so proud of you. Imagine yourself as the 11-year-old who was bullied each and every day, as the scared-to-death 13-year-old who was caught copying in a test or even as the 15-year-old who had started to follow his passion in music and quit, twice. Imagine yourself as the 17-year-old who took the bold step, on his own, to forgo the admission he had gotten in the most prestigious veterinary college in the country, to follow a subject only after a year of studying it or as the 20-year-old who left house for the first time to study in another city for two whole years, happy at the independence, but secretly shitting his pants at the prospect of staying away from family and friends for so long. Imagine yourself as the 22-year-old who decided to change his area of interest after reading just one paper and because of a teacher who made him love the subject. These past you’s had no idea that they would reach wherever you are right now, and they had no idea that, after all, in the end, everything is always alright.
It is true, you have hurt many people on your way to where you are but it is okay, because in the end, you made the decisions by yourself, for yourself, and you may have felt horrible when you went against their wishes or desires, but I want you to know that it doesn’t matter. If they didn’t stick with you, they were neither family nor friends.
You know that you hurt your parents the most. All the nights they spent awake, worrying about your future, asking you the same annoying questions with the same annoying answers every day just for their own peace of mind, all those days were for you. You shouted at them, you screamed at them, you refused to talk to them for days at a stretch. You know how they felt when you did it- sad, angry, hurt, even humiliated. You felt horrible after it happened, but you were too caught up in your rage to acknowledge it. It is okay to forgive yourself, because you were right, in your way. It was, after all, your life and some day you would have to take these decisions yourselves, so why shouldn’t you have started then? It is okay to forgive yourself, because they did.
It was okay that there was a time when you felt lonely and as though no one would ever understand you, not because everyone else goes through the same, but because you really did go through it. It was period when you thought you were depressed, but don’t worry, you were really not. Because even in that lonely state of mind, you found love, from unexpected sources. Food, music and art.
You had liked cooking since you were a 4-year-old propped up on a chair near the kitchen platform as your mother gave you the cake batter to stir. But it was during this period that you really flourished. You explored new tastes, new cuisines, new flavors. Most of all, you discovered that you loved cooking and eating good food. It is okay to have refused to be a chef when people told you that you were stupid to do so. You did it because you thought you would lose that special, magical feeling that you had when you cooked. It is completely okay that you only like cooking for your family and close friends. Don’t ever forget that magical feeling when you place a macaroon or a nice pasta on your tongue, don’t forget the magical feeling that you fell when you make them, because that is what makes you, you.
It is okay that you never conformed to your generations taste in music. You liked classical music, western or Indian, doesn’t matter. You like songs that concentrated on the words and the mellow music, that were more elegant and graceful, rather than raps and the beats of EDM. You were made fun of, but it is okay. It was your individuality. I hope you still listen to ‘Phir Le Aaya Dil Majboor’ when it rains and you are alone. I hope you secretly dance to ‘Zoobi Doobi’ in the shower. I hope that listening to ‘Aaj Jaane Ki Zidd Na Karo’ still reminds you of the young love that you first shared with someone. You always loved such songs, and I hope you still do.
It is okay that you never conformed to the idea of boys-don’t-cry and secretly cried in your room after a hard day of bullying, too afraid to tell your parents. It is okay if you still bawl like a baby when Jennifer Aniston places that necklace when burying Marley or when Rose lets go of Jack. It is really a wonderful thing, crying. Whether in happiness or sorrow, doesn’t matter. It just lets it all out and you’ll feel much lighter and happier when you’re done with it.
I hope you are still happy and are working in your lab and are teaching students, because you used to relish the idea of it. You chose this profession because you loved the subject, never forget that. There was a time, till quite late, when you used to think what would your life have been if you would have taken that admission to the veterinary college. Maybe you still think about it. But it is okay to have regrets. You would have never learnt what you really loved, if you hadn’t left what you thought you loved. You will always have regrets, but you will also always have the reasons for choosing the other path. Keep the flame of that reason alive in your heart, and keep it burning.
I hope things in your personal life have become better by now. It doesn’t matter if you’re married or in a relationship or single, as long as you are happy. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you should be married because you are of the age now. Just because they did, doesn’t mean you have to. Maybe you haven’t found love yet, maybe you have found love but aren’t ready to share your space, maybe you are just having a string of one-night stands. It is your life, and you have to live it the way you want to. It is okay to feel like a third wheel when you are going out with your friends who are in a relationship, because guess what? You are! There was a time when most of the people around you, your friends, were in a relationship. You decided not to be with them because you felt like the third wheel. But then you realized you were distancing yourself from most of your friends. You decided, “Screw it! Let’s just be the third wheel, maybe I’ll get to participate in a threesome” *wink wink*. So, it is okay if you are still the third wheel, as long as you aren’t lonely or unhappy being one.
So, my dear future, Bloody-Mary-sipping, bathroom-dancing, old-song-humming, secretly-poetry-writing me, everything finally did turn out the way we imagined it. We are loved, we have loved. We have hated, we have been hated. But we are alive and we are happy, and that is all that matters. I hope you go the way you had hoped, in your childish dream, with gloves on your hand and a pipette in them, doing what you loved, unraveling the secrets of the brain. I won’t even mind if your waist measures 46 inches because you like to eat good food a lot. I hope you are filthy rich, because you wanted to roam the world. I hope you are happy and have done just that. But mainly, I hope that you have lots and lots of dogs to play with, because let’s face it, what life without them?
Your past you.