Tuesday, March 2, 2010

On Being a Teenager

You know Divya, I think for most of us the teenage years are probably the most exciting and frustrating too. One keeps wanting to explore forbidden territories, yet there is fear of the repercussions. Sometimes the fear itself is an exciting feeling by itself that may push us into trying the world out.

I remember, when as a teenager myself, I often felt that the whole world was out to get me. Everything that had given me comfort till then, suddenly seemed very constraining. Parents who I couldn't do without till then, suddenly seemed to be people who had arrived from another era! Somehow, the whole world became topsy-turvy. Nothing seemed to make sense – neither the people around me nor I myself.  It was such a confusing period with mood swings from feeling that I was the best thing that happened to the world to hating the way I was becoming! I was pretty sure that nobody could understand me and my feelings – I didn’t understand them myself !! Yet it irritated me that people who mattered never could see my view point!

I  seemed to thrive on company all the time; and yet there were moments when I just didn’t want to look at another human being – the whole tribe bugged me! And at most moments – the mention of  family, was enough to make me want to migrate to the other end of the earth! I couldn’t understand myself  - I loved my family there was no doubt, then why did I feel so alienated from them?

The one set of people I felt that I could relate to were my friends. They were also going through what I was and understood me. Yet, paradoxically, those years were also my loneliest!! Funny, isn’t it?!

From what I see of you and your friends, teenage doesn’t seem to have changed all that much! The feelings have remained pretty much the same! Though times have changed since then, I guess the difficulties of going through this phase are still there. You would probably be feeling as confused and insecure as I did. One thing has changed though & that is the magnitude of peer pressure - Its much more & that probably makes it harder for you to reach out for help.

I just want you to know, that it’s quite natural to feel this way. For generations people have gone through this turmoil and survived to tell the tale! It’s only the intensity and expression of it that has changed over the years. Otherwise the rebellion, the  anger, the fun  and the loneliness have all remained. All of us -

From thatha trying out his first cigarette while in class 6,
To my reading the forbidden Harold Robbins novels and
Now you arguing with me to go for a sleep over

We all have been victims of this age old syndrome called Teenage. The only cure to its stormy and painful symptoms is to hold on tightly to the fact, that horrid as they might seem at that time, the true friends that you really have are your family, particularly your parents.

We really love you and when you hurt we are hurt too. Whatever we say, may sound outlandishly old fashioned and unreasonable, but it is well-meaning. You can blame us for being claustrophobically constraining, breathing down your neck and of espionage; but remember that our only fault is that we love you too much. Don’t let yourself forget that fact. Unfortunately none of the succeeding generations have learnt enough  from the past to change that.

And thank God for that!!


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