Nothing like a good old rewind on life, eh, Mi? Considering we cannot actually turn the clock back, it is a good thing we have memories and love to wallow in nostalgia every once in a while. Nah, it is more often than that for me. Blame it on the things I see around me, and the things I do.

For instance, these days I am totally into purging. Yeah, I know how often you hear it. But for realzz – this time I am actually giving away/donating/discarding stuff. That means wading through a lot of paper mountains, too. All those neatly filed documents that kept on collecting is of no use now, since most things have been digitized. So much easier to store. And so much space.

You’re probably looking at me with that rather amused expression on your face, wondering when I am going to get to why I have 19 in the title here. It is this:

vidya sury medal

As I held the cool heavy silver medal in my palm, it took me right back to the Class of ’83 Convocation Day. We were resplendently dressed in those cool black robes with that cute flat hat with the tassel, to proclaim we were graduating. We received our degrees rolled like a scroll. I was one of the few to be honored with a medal for passing with distinction. I feel stupid now with regret that I did not get a photo of me taken that day, like many others did. I thought I was too cool to do something like that. Sigh.

1983 was such a momentous year. As a 19-year old, I believed the world was my stage. Which wasn’t a bad thing, really.

I had wonderful friends. I lost a close friend.

I wore hoop earrings that some of my friends called bird sanctuaries. Tight jeans. Tight Tshirts. Flat sandals. Wraparound skirts. Jaunty walk. Almost backless saree blouses. Low hip sarees. High pony tails. Didn’t care a damn attitude. Crazy about motorbikes.

I did crazy things like run away from home when the family insisted that I must get married to “relieve” you of your “burden as a mother”. Have you heard of anything more ridiculous? Yet, when the pressure got too much, and “they” identified a 40+ year old “successful” person as my ideal life partner, something had to give. I just upped and left. Of course I regretted it, but only because of the pain it caused in the family – and that wasn’t a good thing even if it was temporary. I was airheaded enough to believe that if I stayed away for a few days, everything would return to normal, except it didn’t.

Ah well, I did come back. And life did return to normal….eventually.

Somehow, with graduation around the corner a couple of months away, life seemed filled with possibilities. Ever the optimist, I had grand dreams.

19 was when I…

  • got my first corporate job with one of the top ten groups in the State
  • grew up in a rush in many ways
  • felt quite adult and independent
  • saw my paternal grandmother for the first time, very briefly after almost 18 years. I was so pissed when you wanted to show respect and visit them. Now let’s not open that can of worms!
  • learned a lot of life lessons
  • got my first real job and had the privilege of being your colleague at school. What fun those days were! We took window shopping to new heights and enjoyed it!
  • opened a bank account in my own name as an adult and started depositing two-digit amounts in it monthly, after expenses
  • learned that I must never, ever go out without my purse, especially on a date
  • realized that I wanted a career and actually thought about goals
  • determined to do my bit for my community
  • decided not to get married – famous last words ha ha

It was also the year we made many decisions together, Mi. Do you remember? We laid the ground rules and “words” to avoid being squashed by “them”. We didn’t always succeed, but at least we tried. At least it fueled our resolve to move away, hopefully soon. I still think we were lucky that the day came four years later, simply because we didn’t have the heart to break Grandma’s heart.

19. Yes, it was a good year. The 80s were good. Very good.

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Written for “Finish the Sentence Friday” hosted by the lovely Kristi Rieger Campbell at Finding Ninee and co-hosted by Mimi from Mimi Time (did you see that? MiMi Time – what this blog is all about!) and Moi.

This week’s prompt is: “When I was 19…”

Come, share your story!
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