Growing up is funny business. For example the whole idea of wearing ties to work is a funny thing, it is laughable to even think that we need even more ties at and to work. The work to-do list has even replaced the singing in the shower. But what is even funnier is the sight of kids playing cricket in a small open area and our hope that they will maybe hit the ball towards you today, so you can throw it back and feel like that you are also a part of their game. Like you are not playing enough games as it is. One game at work, blaming your co-workers in office in front of the boss so that ask for a better rating and appreciating the same people to their face so that you can ask for favours. The game of drinking enough coffee to stay awake through the day and enough whisky to stay asleep through the night. The impossible game of saving enough money to keep the parents happy and spending enough to keep the wife and kids happy. At this time we must remind ourselves that we are not boys anymore.
There is maybe one thing equally droll, which is browsing an electronics shop or shopping website looking for ACs and toasters when an offer on some good speakers catches your eye and you train of thought goes towards all the things your younger self wanted to buy like 350 CC bikes, iPods, gaming consoles and bean bags. It almost feels like they are desires from other life. Because this life has FDs and real estate to take all your savings, and then some more. Who the hell would actually want a guitar? And where is the time and solitude to listen to the songs you wanted to listen anyways, right? It is hilarious why we even wished those things, equally hilarious that tug on the heart still when we think of those things. Quickly now before it gets any worse - we are not boys anymore.
There are other desires as well, most of them half forgotten, fully planned and never realized. All of them are so ridiculous that they border on the farcical. Desires of bike trips, treks in Leh and going to New Zealand for bungee jumping. Side-splitting to think of all these things now, when even meeting friends for a dinner requires juggling work timings, location in the city near to everyone, deciding on which restaurant to go to, promises made to wife etc etc. Promises made to selves have been forgotten long ago though, promises that I will never ask my parents for money anymore, promise to be able to buy the clothes that you really wanted to buy, promise that we will always keep in touch with our friends, promise that one day I will spend an entire week in Goa and do whatever the fuck I wanted. But then we are not boys anymore.
Now when I think of Goa I can think of one thing even more hysterical than the last one; that is planning vacations. The thing that is supposed to make you relaxed is so stressful that I am surprised that all travel portals do not sell medication to lower blood pressure along with their usual stuff. First you have to decide a place where you and your wife want to go, then think of whether your kids will have something to do there, then whether anybody would want to go with you will the dates suit them, whether you will be able to convince your boss to grant you leaves for the vacation, whether the hotel will be good but not too expensive, are you buying the tickets for the right dates and so on and so forth. Then most of us will anyway sleep through it, apart from the time that you are on call with office people or fretting how much over budget this trip is getting on and lastly; an occasional throwback to the time where vacations were a bunch of impromptu plans, fifteen friends coming together on a whim, five minutes of packing, cheap booze and cheap hotel, a night full of antics and hilarious stories. But who would those kind of vacations now, right? I mean we are not boys anymore.
Equally amusing is the constant struggle of us aged people to try to look older and fretting about how we are looking older. We start growing moustaches and beards so as to look older, wardrobe starts seeing addition of only greys, blacks and pastels. Then there are the replacements of bikes with cars, dress watches with sports, polos with round necks and so on. That carefully rehearsed list of hobbies such as reading business magazines, watching Oscar winning movies and taking trips to culturally significant places. Even though we prefer reading Buzzfeed over Business India, David Dhawan over David Lynch and watching Big Boss over visiting Bodh Gaya. All that is done on the passive mode. Actively we search of white hairs to be clipped from head and beards. Look for gym memberships and affairs with 20 something women. We can’t help chuckling when we think about when once age was a number we had to only calculate while filling in entrance examination forms. But we can’t afford that now, we are not boys anymore.
But the thing which is the most crazy, comical and capricious about this whole thing is the thinking of the reason we even did grow up in the first place. From the point of wanting to get away from home and be free to the point where the thought that you can’t call your dad to fix everything keeps you awake on some nights. The dream of having your own car, your own house is just that, a dream. The house will never will be yours, not at least for another 25 years, and the car is not your getaway machine, it is another thing that require money, maintenance and a constant struggle to keep up with Joneses. Or that odd realization in a lonely hotel room that why you were keeping score of how much you got you forgot to realize that what you actually wanted was something else. The whole thought that the world forced you to grow up and moulded into the thing that you made fun of as a boy is so funny that it hurts while laughing. Or the dawning of the fact that getting older consists not of Hugo Boss suits and mansions but EMIs, long commutes, tuition fees and regret of roads not taken. It is a ‘Killing Joke’. With the infusion of such hilarity in our life I am sure we all ecstatic that we are not boys anymore, right guys?