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Twenty five is a curious age for more reasons than one. You’re in the process of forging a “sorted” career for yourself whilst attempting to strike a semblance of stability with regards to your personal life. Life appears to be moving through rough seas at the rate of knots as the winds of unpredictability rip through your sails and your hull combats the unrelenting waves of self-doubt; periodically. There are good days and bad. The sun appears to shine brightly on the horizon of opportunity one day and then inexplicably takes a sabbatical; leaving you to fend for yourself in the darkness fuelled by questionable decisions and pessimism. Rent is sure to take up a sizable chunk of your salary (it’s never going to be enough. You know I’m right). A weekend of binge drinking and heavy duty socializing (you know precisely what I’m referring to!) is sure to set your liver and bank balance back even further. You’re likely to own a vehicle – new or of questionable vintage; the “fuel guzzling efficiency” of which will leave you and your friends awestruck and wallet-light; perennially.

Your parents and relatives are forever wondering “Beta/beti life mein kya kar raha/rahi hai”. Responding to their myriad queries is akin to facing an intense interrogation by the FBI, CIA, KGB, RAW and ISI put together. For some of you, marriage might be on the anvil; whether you like it or not.

“Sharmaji ke bete ki shaadi hone waali hai!”

Okay.

“Tumhare cousin, Monu, ne Videshi ladki dhoond li hai US mein! Bola tha US chale jaate job ke liye.”

Cool.

“So, beta. Anybody special in your life currently?”

Yes. My new Bai who started work last Monday. She’s a miracle. She always switches the fan back on after sweeping the room when I’m asleep.

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Polite and impolite enquiries from family members will either leave you ROFL-ing or frustrated enough to head out for a potentially well earned drink (not the cheap Old Monk variety but since you’re now earning; bring on the “mehengi sharaab”). Then again, you’re in a similar position when seemingly everyone from your peer group is either getting engaged, married or procreating. Social media platforms at times like these are a strict “no-no” given the whirlpool of conflicting emotions that can rile up within you. On the one hand, you are happy for them and on the other, you might just be wondering what you’re doing with your life. Ex-boyfriends/girlfriends are getting married left, right and centre. You’re better off saving your sanity. Raise a toast and internally direct a “you poor soul, you have no idea what you signed up for!” thought at him/her. However, if said ex-better half is love lost; then sign up for the closest “Aashiqs Anonymous” support group. There are a plethora of options available for varying degrees of heartbreak.

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At twenty five; grappling with the daily dose of flux in itself can be a physically, mentally and emotionally draining undertaking. But, that’s perfectly alright. Life might be a rat race on many levels but it is critical to take a few steps back; periodically; in order to re-evaluate your course of action. It is not criminal to take your time to figure out what you really want in life. You will be better served engaging in that at this age rather than a few years down the line when you reach the point of no return. So, relegate the fear of failure or loss to the backburner and take a few calculated risks along the way. Of course, be wise to astutely gauge the Risk to Reward Ratio before making an intelligent call. There will always be critics and naysayers waiting to tear you down, every step of the way. Be mindful of their words, but don’t allow that to deter you. You know you’re better than that and always will be. Life was never meant to be the proverbial bed of roses. You are going to trip, stumble, fall, crash and burn at every blind alley. You just have to dust yourself down, cash in your insurance and get straight back onto that horse (open to interpretation!).

There’s more to life than just big-ticket corporate jobs and fat paychecks. A lot of us somehow, somewhere down the line, appear to forget that reality. Passion, happiness and satisfaction should never become forgotten commodities in our lives. Dream fervently. Plan meticulously. Travel extensively. Love passionately. Exercise discipline and moderation. Explore. Learn. Imbibe. Teach. Live.

I realize that it is always easier said than done. But, these are things well within your grasp and scope of action. All it takes is a modicum of initiative, courage and drive. On that note, let this be food for thought and my cue to sign off given the fact that my Dhobi is at the door.

Twenty five is an incredible time to be living and breathing. I urge you all to make the most of it; today, tomorrow (and until you’re twenty six, of course; when we shall be having a somewhat different conversation!).

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