My Nine " About Time" Inspired Time Travel Wishes

Love. Fear. Regret. Who among us has not felt that? It’s ok, go ahead and lie to yourself right now that you haven’t. I often find that the biggest liars in the world are those who claim to have no regrets. It’s an emotional and practical impossibility. You can wish it away; slide it under the rug but that natural feeling will always knock on your door. 2013 saw a wonderful film ask a simple question-“If you could go back in time, would you do it all the same?” We all want to change something in the world. But more importantly, we want to change our past. Here is my list of few events/choices which I wish I can change/live all over again.

9) Affect your environment: For two years of my life, from 2004-06, I was a passive slave to my environment. I rarely did anything to influence or change my life. I let my need for social acceptance and friendships dictate my actions. I met people who wanted to bully me in the name of friendship. I lost track of my goals and studies and let fear govern my every move. The years taught me many things. But the failure could have been avoided. I wish to go back and learn the lesson quicker- a teen needs focus.

8) People will not eat you: Yes, they are pretty bad. But they are better than what you can imagine. I was an extreme introvert at one point. People would try to be kind to me but I would never trust them and blow their overtures off. I have lost many many potentially good friendships. Maybe few of those good friendships might have trickled down to true friendships which would have endured even till now. One can never know until one tries.

7) Stay in School over Junior College: In the 10th Grade, I stood up to my teacher who was explaining the benefits of joining the school again till 12th grade. I rationalised that school was a cocoon which shielded us from the experiences one needs and gets in junior colleges. I was so convinced I was right that I even risked ticking off one of my favourite teachers. As it played out, my peers who stayed in school were shielded. But they learnt and did so much more than I ever could accomplish in the two years of Junior College. I nearly wrecked my English, had to deal with some of the vilest peers I had ever met and watch myself become something I never wanted to be. Experience? Nothing extraordinary. Meanwhile, as I started my Graduation course, my friends from school had a knowledge edge of a year over me. All I gained from the two years of bureaucratic education was disenchantment and disappointment.

6) If you let them scratch you today, they will go on till it’s a scar: Everyone is an irritating disappointment. You meet people with hope and expectations that they will beat the general rule of failure. We all hurt people every day, intentional or unintentional. They will do it once and you will let it slide. Then it becomes a habit. I have done my share of “letting it slide”. Bullies, friends, family or strangers are all capable of doing that. You just have to remember that the scratch or minor irritation or hurt will quickly turn into a deep scar. As Bob Marley said “Everyone is going to hurt you. You just have to find the ones worth suffering for”. In hindsight, I do not find anyone worthy of the suffering I bore.

5) Speak up, Son: I was a nerd/weirdo/geek/loser and sometimes even a dork. I always felt like an outcast. As I slowly gained my confidence while still being all of those things, I often found myself becoming the villain or worse a spectator. The bullied became the bully. I was not the worst version of it but I was pretty bad. But most often than not, I was that spectator laughing at someone else’s flaw. As Dante said,” There is a special place in hell reserved for those who maintain neutrality in the time of moral crises”. Always support and speak for those who can’t speak for themselves. Because once it was you and in the future it can again be you.

4) London 2010 on loop: As opposed to the general ambitions of my generation, I loathe travelling. I have done it several times as a child and something would always go wrong. I would be sick and often disappointed or irritated from the arduous journey needed. With similar expectations, I went to London in 2010. The 16 day trip surprised me. I cannot remember a single bad day. My health didn’t fail me even when I was cavalier. Everything was over and above my expectations. And I want to go back go back and go back to it. Do you know how rare it is to find that one perfect moment in your life when you were actually happy? Not to mention, that London 2010 was the last time I truly felt peace. My nephew was about a year old and taking care of him gave me peace. Yes actual P.E.A.C.E. And peace is the second most expensive item in the world after truth. I need it back.

3) It ends before you know it: The signs were there all along, all you had to do was keep your eyes open. The fights, the bitterness, the lies and the apathy were a part of daily routine. Among those “golden moments”, where would you end it? There are only two things which make any personal relationship of any kind work- honesty and loyalty. You will never survive without them. In my case, there were signs of disloyalty from the very start. I was just too afraid to let go. The specific moment in my mind was the best one to save me and the other person.  Save both two additional years of pain. If I could go back, I would have ended it right there and save myself from becoming something the world has no place for-weak.

2) Sometimes, it is exactly the way it looks: Ever remember doing something which everyone advised you not to and then it blows up in your face? Sure you do. I have done many such things. The worst one perhaps was doing something, knowing how it would end. Taking the plunge from a friendship into that unknown, that abyss of selfishness, envy and pain. You knew the threats all along and still threw your thinking caps away in the hopes that the “angels will come down and save you”. But that miracle didn’t happen. It was better being a true friend than sully it with something which would never work.

1) It’s All in The Game:Your folks told you how important studies are. My parents didn't need to. It was obvious from the hoopla around it. “10th Grade will decide your future. No wait, it’s the 12th. What about the entrance exams? You have to be serious about the graduation and final exams.” What I learnt so late was that it’s all a Game. The Game of fear and survival. I would give my best and sometimes the best of the best. But it was never enough. There was always the need to do well again, again and again. My guess is that the heads of the education system think that the students suffer from the “Alexander Syndrome”-“When he saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer” ( And when the student finished  one life-threatening exam, he wept for there were no more tests or races to win). They fear that we, their well-trained “pups” will feel bored without the pressure and fear of examinations and rote learning. You will sit there and argue-“But it works….that is what the world wants and needs”. Maybe it does. But I would have removed myself from the equation. Still be good -just not run to be the best because there is always someone better than you, every second in the world. If the game is rigged, I resign from it. Instead, if I had learnt just one chapter less, the vast mechanics of the time-space mechanism might have changed my life completely. I could have learnt the piano that summer. Be a better friend and learn to be normal. Learn to dance like a human being (enough to escape mocking at parties).And more importantly, start writing those crazy crazy thoughts in my mind. I cherish being what I am right now. But I also wish normalcy for a change.

What would you like to change?

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