Identity Crisis



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radharapuneha

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No, I am not talking about religion or caste or nationality. I am talking about you and me and everyone else adrift.

Maybe even Lord Vishnu felt this every time he had to reincarnate. Do you remember who you are or do you slip into a prolonged state of staring at yourself in the mirror? How many times did you remind yourself today of your goals in life? Too many questions. I cannot find the official statistics because, obviously, who would even agree that they don’t know who they are when they have an Aadhar Card and also prestige to protect. Definitely no middle-class Indian. Sharma uncle might boast about his perfect son if you say you cannot make tea and it made you rethink your life.

Many-a-times we do not realise that we forget ourselves in the process of conquering our life goals. We forget what we used to live for and fall into an endless cycle of wanting and earning money. It sometimes feels like there is nothing more to it than being able to possess inanimate objects. “Check out my new phone and laptop.” I too find myself describing success as being able to spend on an electronic gadget and not thinking twice about how much I spend on it. Basically, not thinking about money twice before I spend it. Pretty stupid, I know. But hey, we all have our definition of success. Not a constant one, but who cares? Today, your success might be eating an ice-cream and tomorrow, it could be a hundred push-ups. But that still doesn’t define who you are. When someone asks you to describe yourself, what do you say? Do you start with your name and talk about your interests and hobbies or do you talk about… wait what else is there to talk about?

In India, and most Asian countries, teenagers live a double life. One version is of them at home is the good and perfect kid that the parents always wish for, and the other is the one with friends where you get wasted on a school night and party like it is the last day of your life. Sometimes, you cannot even trust the person next to you. If you aren’t close and friendly with your children, hell, you don’t even truly know them. How can you then tell someone that these are the likes of your kids? Let them define what they like and don’t. Nurture them but don’t torture them into what you want to be. The ideal kid. There is no one who is ideal. Even science considers ideal cases hypothetical, you can step into reality.

Between trying to hide yourself from relatives and parents, and partying in night clubs with friends and strangers, you could be drifting away from what you are or were. Between losing interests in what you truly loved and starting to pretend to love what you don’t because of peer-pressure, you might even forget what you ever wanted. And then there comes that moment you are in front of the sink in the bathroom, when you splash water on your face after trying to complete your project that you aren’t even doing for yourself, and look up and stare at yourself in the mirror. Can you tell me then that you know yourself?

-Neha Radharapu

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