Friday, August 05, 2011

A Letter to My 16-Year-Old Self

Dear Clueless Priyanka,

You think there is nothing sweet about turning 16 and I think you are right. Trust me 28 is much better but 2325 is when life will bestow all its beauty on you. You will be fat but oh so cute! So don’t worry too much.

In the next decade three people will tell you earnestly that you live up to your name. The first time you hear this you’ll smile politely and make a mental note to find out the meaning of your name. You’ll forget all about it for 3 years and then a friend will say the same thing. This time you’ll miss-call your mom, using your mobile phone (yes, you’ll have a phone of your own and incoming calls will be free!). When she’ll call back, you’ll ask her the meaning and then in your trade mark style shed a tear and hug your friend, slyly wiping your tears on Rahul’s shirt. The third time, you’ll just feel a strong pang of humility. Not many would understand why you are the way you are. Some will make fun of you and even take advantage; you’ll be bull-headed and continue to be nice. You will be the most loved one.

The next time a guy comes to you to tell you that he likes you, you’ll smile as if a hanger is stuck in your mouth instead of choking on your sobs. Remember, if a guy tells you he likes you, you don’t have to marry him or worry about from where the money to support the family will come. Rest assured, just because Mukul said he liked you does not mean you have to marry him. Please don’t cry for a month over it. Trust me, you’ll remember his awkward approach and your reaction and laugh clutching your stomach a few years from now. Plus, people will soon forget the stupid nickname, ladybird, that he gave you. You’ll be the only one who’ll remember it and smile.

Your love for books and words will never die. It will haunt you day and night. Richard Bach will guide you to wisdom, till you discover Voltaire. You’ll discover Hindi literature and slowly progress to find the magic of Gulzar. Films will soon become life. No one will be able to take the place of Rhett Butler as your true love. Spices will spice up your life. You’ll cook. You’ll be good in the kitchen. You’ll own a car in your twenties and dance to the one person concerts in your car on your way to work. You’ll always love dancing. You’ll continue to sing despite everyone and I mean everyone you know discouraging you to even hum. Don’t mind them as long as it sounds good in your head!

Remember Dada was so excited about internet a few months before he died. You did not pay much attention to his ramblings pretending to be rebellious. Well, internet will change your life in more ways than one. You will fall in love thanks to the internet. You’ll realise that you are in love with Delhi. This love will lead you to boast about your city on your blogs and suddenly, you’ll interact with a lot of people from across the world. You’ll write and some people will appreciate what you churn out. In fact, by the time you turn 28, you will find your name and articles in the supplement of India Today twice and a few newspaper magazines will have interviewed you on some or the other occasion for your blogging.

You’ll travel for work and pleasure. You’ll begin the process of finding yourself while working on a documentary film in the jungles of Chhatisgarh (this will be a new state carved out of Madhya Pradesh), forests and villages of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. You’ll start believing in the essential goodness of people. Though your dream of becoming a filmmaker will not materialize, you’ll discover another love, photography. You’ll be very happy with your clicks most of the times. You’ll discover yourself every time you’ll try to control the light.

I know that since Dada died everyone has been telling you that you have to be strong. They will be surprised at your reserve of strength in a few years. You’ll be surprised as well. Mom will be diagnosed with cancer. But as strong as she is, she will come out of it with flying colours. You will love her even more and the hero worshipping will scale new heights.

You will lose your ‘attitude of a fighter’ and make friends. Friends who will stick by your side even when they get married and move to another state and even other countries. You’ll make friends everywhere you go. You’ll make real friends thanks to the virtual world. You’ll make friends in villages and in cities. The best thing is you’ll understand that valuing people is important. More important than anything else. You'll learn that the best gift you can gift anyone is time but you'll continue to gift other things as well. And don't worry you'll receive plenty of gifts as well. You’ll try real hard but will never understand why people love you. Word of advice, don’t try hard, it is one of the mysteries that make life interesting.

You will donate blood. You’ll be proud of yourself. You’ll be obsessed with everything to do with Shah Rukh Khan. You’ll be proud of yourself. American TV will mould your life values soon. You’ll seriously contemplate moving to the US, just to have a life of the characters of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Sanity will prevail and so shall the dream. You’ll be proud of yourself. You’ll work in all possible fields of mass communication before finding your planet. You’ll be proud of yourself. You’ll be impulsive. You’ll make friends, take risks, travel to unknown places and become a narcissist. You’ll get a tattoo to stamp your narcissism on your body for life. You’ll be proud of yourself!

You’ll not be embarrassed when your mom or anyone else for that matter will call you by your nicknames in public. Soon you’ll know that nicknames are given to only those people whom we love and want to give an identity that has our own stamp. You’ll be blessed to have at least 50 nicknames by the time you turn 28.

Like I said, you will be the most loved one. Most importantly, you’ll learn to love yourself and your life.

Loads of love,


(who thinks she has figured it all out but kindness of people around her still baffles her)

The idea for this post came from So many inspiring letters on this post. Do read and take


Aruna P Khot said...

Like always whenever you write about yourself I always get a lump in my throat.

heh? ok said...

Dear 16-year old Priyanka,
You'll discover that we all get what we need :)

Azad Alam said...

This piece encourages me to go back in time when I was 16. I seriously think you should take up script writing. This personal journey of yours is an amazing example of one essential part of scripts i.e. character graph. Beautiful !!!

yamini said...

Simply brilliant Pri, but then that is what you are always. So keep it up dear!!!!
All the best.

fatoori said...

How do you do this! :)
This ability to speak to oneself several years back in time. Its like you have a time machine..or,better yet, you dont need one! :)
lovely piece.keep writing!

fatoori said...

How do you do this! :)
This ability to speak to oneself several years back in time. Its like you have a time machine..or,better yet, you dont need one! :)
lovely piece.keep writing!