Lost and Found: A Letter to My 18-Year Old Self by Priyanka Bhartia

Are you smiling again? Are you dreaming again? Stop skipping down the stairs and will you please drink that Horlicks that Ma put beside your study table!

You must understand some things – growing up is not the bubble of bliss that you seem to live in – of course, your parents love you, you are the beloved girl child among three brothers, but out in the world you will not remain that beloved one anymore. Being a girl will come with issues that you have never heard or imagined before – really? You don’t believe me? Well if you stop smiling, I can pull you up a list.

The big red sweatshirt that bhai got you cannot be your staple wear – you are a daughter-in-law, so dress appropriately! The reading of the books just about anywhere and anytime won’t help you learn how to cook! The constant jabbering, dancing and singing is not the way to bring up a child – get serious, you are married for heaven’s sake!!

Oh and really, you love writing and so you scribble poems all day long and look at the smug you – you are working with the top editor at the top newspaper so you feel life couldn’t be  more perfect – well; again wipe off that stupid smile and let me tell you: life is no bed of roses – your writing is not liked by anyone, it can’t get you to earn money. The only thing you can be good at is writing happy birthday messages or condolences and maybe sometimes you will address that very important card that has to be written for that very important business partner of your father or uncle or even husband.

And my God, you are shameless – you want to go out with boys and go to a disco (and btw no one calls it a disco, you are really such a prude!) and look at you showing off with the Love Story that you play pretty decently on the piano. Oh! Don’t go around chatting with every stranger or saying hello – you will be considered easy and will be hit upon, stay sour, for that is the name of the game! Get a hold off yourself; get mature and start nagging – nag the maid who came 10 minutes late just because her little child was not well, nag your husband because he doesn’t buy you a branded bag, and you must nag your child else how will he compete with that smart kid downstairs!

Are you still smiling – what makes you so happy? Is it that you have the quiet confidence to know that being a girl is a privilege? Is it that you are aware that life will be tough for a woman, but because you are a woman you know you will be able to tide over it and emerge a winner? Is it because below the smile lies that clear determination of no matter what comes your way, don’t blame others or the environment around us – face it bravely.

Hmmmm, you are probably way smarter than me – keep that smile plastered on your face, and everything will work out.

Priyanka Bhartia

Found in the last 30 years – Helpful Husband, Super Son

Lost in transit – that stupid silly smile!

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Priyanka Bhartia
Managing Director – India, AcceptU