My brother is a lot older than I am. I was only about six when he was in his late teens, and although I don’t remember much, I do recall his room. There were posters of Elvis and Michael Jackson, and a huge framed picture of a Lamborghini Countach. There was a red, press-button phone by the bed; a leather jacket covered in patches hung perpetually on the door; a Hi-Fi double-deck cassette player; a bongo; and later, there was even a magical, fake-wood-panelled air conditioner. So yes, it seems that in late-80s India, he was a bit of a spoilt kid. The room, naturally, was the envy of his countless friends who hung around all the time, squatting down and talking to me as if I was an idiot.
(The other day, I was watching Maine Pyaar Kiya and it dawned on me that his room was heavily influenced by that movie. The red phone, the posters, the jacket, it’s all in there. Prem had a “Billboard” sticker on his red sports car. My brother had the very same sticker on his red Maruti 800. Anyway, best not to read too much into that.)
I, you may not be surprised to know, grew up almost like his mirror image. I seldom had more than 4 friends at any point of time, at least one of whom would always be invisible to everyone else. Plus, I had access to a computer from the age of 13, so I didn’t really need friends. (Yes, the computer was his too.) For a long time, I did not even have my own room. In general, I grew up in a situation where I learned to accept that life will not always hand me what I want; I’ll often have to fight for it, and be prepared to lose. And more importantly, the belief that even if I lose, it’ll be okay. I’ll fight another day.
The point? Well, I’m doing something now that I’ve dreamt of for long. I’m betting everything on a meek glimmer of hope. In the worst case, I’ll be left with absolutely no money – with considerable debt, in fact – and a defeated ego. If it comes to that, I hope I can remind myself of what I’ve learned, and not lose the heart to try again.