The Wonder Years

After what feels like an eternity, I saw The Wonder Years. A show that has defined teenage-hood for many over the years. A show that was based in a time (1960s America) when growing up still had a charm and innocence attached to it. The show begins with the theme song ‘With a little help from my friends’ by Joe Cocker. This song resonates with my life at so many levels and strangely brings memories back in a flash and sings to me about my life as it is . Sinking in my bean bag I was immediately transported with the words:

What would you do if I sang out tune?

At the age of 8, on a rainy Saturday afternoon I was standing in front of a mike. I surely wasn’t asked to sing as many of my friends will attest, I have an appalling singing voice (an extremely sexy phone voice though) I was standing there to recite a poem for the elocution contest. My school house was depending on me to deliver as winning the elocution would have won us the house championship. Yes I know, sounds unbelievably filmy but the stakes were that high especially when my sister was the house captain. I stood there as it began to drizzle and I felt all the students right from Class 1 to 12 staring at me, muttering, murmuring, giggling. ‘Take a deep breath and recite as you exhale, think of that time when we all went for a picnic to Darjeeling when you were in a pair of shorts and t shirt. When you froze and cursed us. Remember?’ I smiled as I looked at my sister, a little nervous, a little expectant. She hugged me and sent me on the stage. The nervousness was gone because I could see the belief in her eyes.

Would you stand up and walk out on me?

Breaking a heart is possibly the one crime that goes unpunished a lot. I was released on bail too, once. When someone takes the effort of breaking away from all else in life to try and hold onto you, the least you can do is respect the effort. I did that, yet sitting in that coffee shop listening, wavering, losing the plot and disappearing for moments was not respectful. Looking at the steam above my coffee while it disappeared into the emptiness around me was giving me perspective. I thought that I was disappearing like that steam and then I looked up to see her eyes. They were helpless, they had given up, they had walked in expectant but were now realizing the futility of it all. As I got up and walked out of that coffee shop I could only pray I would never have to look into the mirror one day and see that same hopelessness in my eyes ever.

Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song 

Falling in love is the single most beautiful emotion yet. In my short life, I can attest to it with complete confidence. The cake was all over the birthday girl’s face. The alcohol was flowing and the night was just getting a little less innocent. We argued, we laughed, we joked, we eulogized and then.. she sang. We were spellbound. The banter reduced and the stillness seeped into us all and warmed us. It warmed me a lot more and filled me with a sense of peace. Our eyes didn’t meet throughout those few minutes yet we knew we were stealing glances, escaping the awkward stares from the others. As her voice slowed and stopped, there was a deafening silence and then there was the realization. In an instant the world around me had changed, forever.

 I will try not to sing out of key, yeah

 Every morning I look at the sky expecting to hear something, see something different. I get into work with thoughts of enterprise and ambition. I sit with a pen with stories untold swirling in my mind. I walk past shops desperately searching for familiarity and reasons for joy. I look at bikes and car whizzing away, heading down the highway away from it all. Men with rucksacks and Enfields, tears on a quiet night cried in anger, buses with a people lost in thought taking them to places unknown, empty hope on a terrace, lit windows of aeroplanes..staring back at you. Ships in the distance with a cigarette between your fingers, burning, burning you. Moving lights hold new meaning, a moving train gives you hope about a journey you don’t know to a place you haven’t gone in a time you want to be of the man you want to become..

What would you do if I sang out tune?

Would you stand up and walk out on me?

Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song 

I will try not to sing out of key, yeah

Sing along..

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The Wonder Years