so got my hands on a time machine. Kinda groovy if you asked me. I decided to head back to 1990. I was seven that year. I thought it would be cool to meet the younger me. What’s the point of having a time machine if I cant even go back in time and flaunt my stardom to the little me!!!!
So the date was set. It was a Sunday when I opted to embark upon this journey that would stand to transcend time. Unlike Hollywood movies, the machine was not something that one got to get inside of. It was like a watch. You wore it, pushed a few buttons, one mega electric bolt later, your present would become history 🙂
I love tales that involve time travel. Its in such tales where tenses would get picked on and suffer massively!!!!
A quick bolt later, I saw a different Chennai. There were fewer cars on the road. Then again, there are always fewer cars on any given Sunday. This was a whole new league of scarce cars. The roads were not littered with parked cars. The roads were not as broad as I was used to seeing them. Trees and bushes were plenty. Now that I think about it, I had not once paid any attention to those greens vanishing right in front of my eyes. The busy routine of surviving traffic jams on my commute from point A to point B left me with very little time to pay attention to anything vanishing in front of my life. Heck, I was too busy to even notice my life, my youth, my enthusiasm for living slip by too. I was never going to pay attention to stupid trees.
The basic layout had barely changed. I knew where I lived back in 1990. My elder sister had just got married, and it meant that for the first time in my life, I was given a room for myself. My second sister inherited the elder’s room. I inherited hers. I knew how that room turned out to be. Toys were scattered across the entire room. One had to be a master acrobat to not step on Gi Joes and He-man and his pals who were lying lifeless on the floor.
Age had not changed me much. I’ve traded Gi Joes and He-man for usb thumb drives, mp3 players, laptop, kindle.. yeah, lets call them all as gadgets and get on with the plot. Age had helped me replace plastic toys with plastic electronic gadgets. I also have books lying all over my bed. I didn’t scatter the books when I was a kid. I had my reasons. Mom would slap the hell out of me if I did that and importantly, I never read books when I was little. School’s text books didn’t count. Even if they did, I didn’t get to read them a lot!
I checked the time and it was close to 4 PM. I knew the little me would not be indoors. I’d probably be hanging upside down by the usual branch of the tree, or picking up a fight with the other kids or probably heading a revolt over a pointless cause. I searched around the vicinity to track myself down. I finally found me. I was a predictable lil rat. Fist fight. Yup, was probably a fight about which Gi Joe character was better and who had the most appeal! I loved simpler times when there was a reason , a solid sensible reason, to all the violence in the world.
At 33 , I must have looked like an estranged UNCLE to the other kids. I quickly shooed them all away. I dragged the little me and we comfortably sat under the shade of our usual tree.
‘ Whats your name, fella ? ‘ , I asked
‘ We are not supposed to talk to strangers. I can scream really loud you know. Police will come and catch you and you are going to go to Jail. They will beat you up ‘, the little me said in his most sincere tone. Even when I was young, I could pull out the perfect non threatening threats that one could muster!
‘ Listen kid, I’m not going to kidnap you. I know you are a pain. I just want to talk ok. I promise, I wont harm you. I’ll even buy you that FUDGE chocolate that you love. it’s the one that comes with a free sticker , isn’t it. you can go and stick that on the wall, the way you usually do. It does drive your sister nuts, but you enjoy tormenting her don’t ya? ‘
The kid relented. ‘ Karthik ‘ , he said. He had a good sense of intuition. He knew I was not a threat. He knew he’d get a free chocolate.
Yeah, kids are dumb. always easy to fool.
‘ I’m you buddy. I’m from the future. I’m 33. When you get to be 33, this is exactly how you are going to be.’ , I said.
The kid took a nice long look at me. Shook his head disapprovingly. It felt as if he was drastically let down by the universe.
‘ So, that’s me, at 33. Good, since I’m going to look like a sad sack loser, I really don’t have to study all that hard now. Its not like I study with my heart and end up looking awesome!!!! ‘ , he reasoned
I couldn’t help but laugh at my sarcasm.
‘ So, are you a cool scientist ‘ , he asked.
‘ Nope, I’m a manager’ , I said.
So what does a manager do? Do you get to do cool stuffs? he enquired.
I took him through the things that I got to do. it was not a lengthy monologue, considering the things that I did!!!
That’s lame!, he concluded.
Hey, its not that bad. The money is fine. Plus, I was in a band and all you know. I can play the guitars, and I even play the drums at times. I write great too.
Yeah!!! you cant sing, you cant dance, you’d probably stand in a corner and play guitar!!!! Write!!! ha ha ha, that’s even more lame. Why didn’t ya learn to do cool things like draw!!!
It made sense. To a kid, a guitarist was not a face of a band. Even the heroes in the movies he watched were singers. the guitarists never ever got any screen time. Writers, don’t even get to be on the screen!!! I knew I wasn’t impressing the kid.
SO do you at least have a dog?
Nope. Cant. Apartment rules.
You don’t even have a dog???? Appa said when you grow up, you can have a dog!!!!
Yeah about that.. we still stay together.. and appa did say that when you move out of the house and live by yourself, you can have a dog!!!!
WHATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT ?, the kid exclaimed…. you still live with mom and dad.. what a loser ? So I grew up, writing, guitaring, living with mom and dad, and no dogs!!!
Yup.. that sums it all up perfectly!
The kid then went on to ask me about Disney land, space, America, Antartica.. I told him I had not been to any of those places. I did tell him that I was in London, and that didn’t impress him at all!!!!
From a distance, I could hear my mom calling out. It was getting late and if I didn’t return home in the next 10 minutes, I knew she’d slap the hell outta me.
Time was running short. the kid and I had been talking for an hour.. we both connected, why wouldn’t we. We were still the same person, just with different ambitions and dreams.
Are you at least happy? he asked me.
I smiled at him. Oh boy… coming back was a huge mistake. I said I was. I said I was a funny guy and folks always joined me with their laughter.
That seemed to impress the kid. Good, he said. I like that. I always knew I was the comic.
I waved him a good bye and watched me head towards his house.
Hey kid, I called out.
What? , he turned back and answered.
You still have a choice dude. Live you life the way you want to.. So when you get 33, maybe things will be different. I said earnestly.
Ha ha ha ha, the kid smiled. I know. You didn’t even have to tell me. I wont be making the same mistakes twice now .. he winked and happily jumped and strolled his way back home.
I stood standing by the moonlight,.. wondering how I had managed to crush his ambitions and settle down for things that barely mattered in life. Ah well, never too late now. Lets start those dancing lessons next week, I promised myself. I hit 2016 on the watch…..
So If you meet the 7 yr old you,… how would things be?