Teenage is all about Wonder Years, where we are still trying to figure the upcoming complexities of life and innocence of childhood left behind.
What fascinates a young mind about teens is , probably two things, the soon becoming of an official adult at 18 years and the excitement attached to being called a sweet sixteen.
Well for me it was definitely very fascinating to enter the world of being addressed as a 16 year old.
It was more of coming face to face with lot of revelations , more than happier ones , they were like facing the harsh realities of life, and yes reality bites.
What if , suddenly you are addressed as a grown up or expected to behave more maturely, a list of responsibilities are showered upon you. Very conveniently people put you in the category of being a child or an adult ,as per their ease.
Well ”Sweet 16′ is more of a concept adopted from the West , but half heartedly by us , Indians, also one would never find Indian parents throwing a party for their child turning 16, instead they start worrying about their child’s future and their settling down on professional as well as personal front.
But now when I go down the memory lane, I very distinctly remember my sweet 16 phase, more than anything else, because there were so much of expectations attached to being a 16 year old.
”Dear 16 Year old me’ , now that you are gone , how fondly I remember you, for all good and bad reasons, as you have always hogged the limelight and overshadowed the rest of the teen years . I really pity 13, 14 15 ,17, 18 and 19 th year of my teens, who never got as much importance as the 16th year. Yes 16 th year was the talk of the town. Almost similar to rest of the teen years, but still much talked about, basking in glory and sunshine.
Now when ever I play tombola, and strike out the number 16 , as called out as sweet 16, i really get nostalgic, but back then, sweet 16 was not as sweet and happening.
It was a phase when the metamorphosis was still going on, I was not yet a butterfly, but in my final stages of being a caterpillar , the hopes were high, but still lot of milestones were to be covered.
The rosy picture portrayed of being 16 was not so glossy , the hidden crushes, proposals , pimples, puberty, were like hindrances or speed breakers for a smooth sailing.
The bollywood movies were a spoiler then, where hopes of secret romance were raised high but then suddenly we landed with a thud , on coming face to face with ground realities .
There was so much to cope up with, exams, studies, tutorials and the dreadful board tenth exams, which ate up my dreams of being a sweet 16.
The tension of securing high percentage now at sweet 16 for a better 17 and 18th year took away most of the time.
The gained height and puberty did not make me any prettier but rather confused the kids, whether to call me a Didi or aunty .
At 16 I was eagerly waiting to turn 18 ,for getting my own driving licence, but wanted to look as young as a child.
The special mention or treatment of being 16 was limited to the movies only, in reality it perturbed the parents ,as for girls, they may go astray after watching hindi movies and they may elope with someone , and for boys ,parents worry was pertaining their getting into wrong company, as this was the age when they had appearance of facial hair with arrival of beard and moustache and peer pressure.
There were lots of apprehensions surrounding this sweet 16 thing, more than enjoying it, it rather gave sleepless nights, at times due to expectations of the society and at times due to hormonal changes.
- But now as I look back after almost two decades, I feel it was such a carefree age, but then I will feel the same after a decade or so, I guess so.
After all ,age is just a number , whether you are 16 or 34 . If we still have the child like innocence , exuberance of a teenager and maturity of an adult ,then even 60 becomes the new 16.
So,Happy 16 Forever.