Today i'll tell you guys what has happened, in the past 25 years. Something wonderful. Something great. Something that is well of note. In 25 years, i've seen 2 people go from being a guy who used to secretly like a girl and a girl who lived her life to the fullest to being 2 absolutely wonderful people to ever walk the earth together. At least it is like that for me. But i'd like to make a small correction to what i started off with.
Twenty five? Nope. Lets talk Twenty three.
Thats my age. I'm twenty three years old. And thats what i'd like to talk about today. NOT how i'm awesome or how handsome i am(?) at twenty three years but how these twenty three years have been for me. Some people might say: "Dude, why are you being such a self obsessed person talking about yourself!"; To them, i say "Today is not about me being twenty three, today is about how 2 people in my life helped me survive till the day i could write this for them."
So, Twenty Three.
I was born on the 19th of March 1990. 2 years after they got married. They got married on the 11th of December 1988. Here is a little backstory. My dad started a company in 1986 i believe with a few of his friends. What he did 2 years after that has absolutely left me baffled. He got married. What he did 2 years after THAT was even more amazing. I was born. I can just but imagine what he would've gone through at that point in time. He had just started a company, got married and had a kid. The responsibility on his head at that point in time would've been really humongous!
People talk about having role models in life. Looking up to people. I've had my set of role models in life but it is just a few days ago, when i was sitting and thinking about this that it hit me. I just need to take a step back and look to my side. I have 2 *great* role models right there. Tears rolled down my eyes at how long i took to realize this.
For all those who don't know me, here is a small peek into my current life.
I'm Shrayas. I'm a code monkey at SAP Labs at Bangalore, India. I love technology and have been fascinated by it for the longest time. I'm pretty successful in my career right know, learning great stuff and getting decently paid for the effort that i put in as well. So i would say, i'm in a great place.
"You self obsessed idiot"
Nope, i owe every bit of what i just said there to 2 people. Let me rephrase that sentence for you.
I'm Shrayas. I was born to Sheela Rajagopal and R. Rajagopal.
Here are a list of things, Irrespective of how small, that influenced me and made me who i am today.
All the ambulances.
My mom had learnt how to draw a car from my dad. So whenever i asked for a car, she used to immediately draw that and show it to me. Beside my house, there was a hospital and i was really enthusiastic about the lights on top of the Ambulance. So the next time when i asked for an ambulance, my mom whipped out her car drawing and put a light on top of it and voila - Happy me! As a kid, i used to be fascinated by drawings and i think that has what led me to still fall in love with art, in any form.
We were in Singapore for a while and we were staying over at one of dad's friends place. When my dad was out to work, i believe i fiddled around with the microwave and turned the lights off in it or something and my mom got really upset with me and took a hot matchstick and ran it on my hand as punishment. As much as it hurt back then, i think that attitude has remained. Anything that i get in my hand, i *need* to know how it works.
The comic madness.
My dad, he's been a long time lover of comics himself and i think it is right of me to say that he passed his legacy down to me there. I've read the oldest of the oldest comics. Ranging from the baby huey to cacha chowdary to the oldest of the tinkles that date back to when he was a kid (i believe). This also has greatly added to my creativity. So many times in life, i've used comics as a way to refresh and let go of reality.
All the superman.
I believe there was this one Lungi that i fancied tieing around my neck and jumping all around the house as superman. I clearly remember all those awesome times that i had with myself. Growing up, i had no one to give me company and was referred to by my cousins as a loner but i've always enjoyed being that person, being with my thoughts and being with my imagination. My love for superheros saw no stop since then. I still love my share of Superman, Batman and what not.
This one, when i think about it, played the *biggest* influence in my life till date. Yes, i think thats what it did. Legos are these building block type thingies that i think influenced so many peoples lives. Especially mine. I've spend DAYS playing with them building things that i imagined. They never stopped buying me legos. It was like my go-to gift. I used to love them. There wasn't ever anything that i couldn't build with them. Of course sometimes when i tried to build something and it didnt come out the way i wanted it to. I used to come out into the hall and break it all over the floor. My mom then promptly would pick it up for me (which ofc was followed by a huge shouting, but still). I cant begin to emphasize how much these things did to my brain. I begun to think in all sorts of different ways. I owe much of my outside thinking to legos. They are such a great resource to learn.
I have a weird spelling - shrAyas, not shrEyas like the others who share my name. That too, has been such an awesome conversation starter with some of the greatest friends in my life. Maybe that is why i embrace weirdness. Because the first thing about me IS weird. Maybe that is why among all things, i aim to be different. I dont like being a part of the masses.
Hahahahah. I'm sure when they are reading this part, they'll really laugh. Just the word means so much to my family. All the time that my dad spent trying to teach me the world renouned Unitary method problems and the age problems and the geometry and the trigonometry and the basic additions and what not. I still remember my dad being asleep, i woke him up and said, "Since 2*2 = 4 shouldn't 1*1 be 2?" And he woke up and kicked me so hard, i flew back a few feet and then realization hit me. I might not be too strong in math right now but i really love the subject thanks to all this. It is a wonderful subject and it will come with us till we hit our death beds.
Growing up, i was really really scared of my dad. Of what he'd say if i do something and of what he'd do if i didn't do something. And at that point in time, it was really sucky to be in my position because some of them had really "cool" parents and i didnt. But looking back at these things, i'm glad that he was like that with me because it made me conscious of the things i was going to do. I think innately i've learnt from that to pause and think at least twice about what i'm going to do or say to other people.
I slept in my parents' bed for *far* too long. I developed a fear of the dark and that was the only way out. I probably took away their alone time by always being, which really kind of sucks if i think about it now. But i think that i learnt 2 things from that. So many years since then, i've begun now to get over my fear of the dark. In addition to that, i've learnt the importance of sacrifice. When you feel that something is worth the sacrifice, you should just do it. They were great souls to give that much up for me.
Night trains to Bangalore.
We travelled a lot to Bangalore, because the entire family stays here. We mostly took the night trains when i was a kid and my mom used to put sheets of newspaper on the ground and sit there till i went to sleep. "TILL I WENT TO SLEEP". I was a kid back then so you will realize how hard that is for a damn kid. Sacrifice, again.
This was the bus that my mom used to take as she picked me up from school. She used to put me on her hip and walk super fast to the bus stop to catch the bus. I remember her buying me Ravalgon peppermint if i was well behaved. That is such a great memory. I can still close my eyes and go back to the time that i was going to eat that peppermint, such a great memory. Perseverence.
We love travelling. It really sucks that im not able to make enough time now a days for this but we really do. Ever since i was kid, i remember always going to places. I think that is where i developed the love for travelling, seeing new places, experiencing new things. When we look back on all the albums that we have made till date, it is such a colourful experience for me. Just last year when we travelled to Sri Lanka, I saw something that completely changed my belief system. That is the power, of travelling.
Balaji, Kamat, Chaya, Badari, Ravi, Nalini. Enough said.
When we hit puberty, we're all cranky teens. We all have ways to deal with it. My way was to just rage. Rage has always been a problem with me. But there was something else that i... no they used to do. They've always been great at understanding me even if i didn't tell them anything. This really used to be my solace. They used to just *know* if something was up. And i remember so many instances of sitting on one of the chairs and my dad and mom talking to me about things. It doesn't even have to date back to when i was a kid. Just about a year ago the same kind of thing happened. I was losing confidence in who i was and what i was and they came down from Chennai because they *knew* that something was wrong. Rightly enough, i was ok after i let it out.
Theres my mom - Shes believes in a God very very much to the extent that she's been going to the temple religiously almost every day since the past 10-15 years. Then theres my dad - Does things that he has to. I think he believes in God a little but not as much as what my mom does. Or even if he does, he doesn't show it too much. Throughout my life, i've never been forced to doing anything with respect to believing in god. They did their share of things to show me the path but never did they push me down it. Right now, I'm agnostic but that doesn't mean that i wont do things that they tell me to.
The power of taking a moment and freezing it in time is something that only nature should have. But we have it too. In the form of the art of photography. A passion of mine, that was fueled by them. My dad showed me the tech on how to shoot it. It has lived in me till now. I love taking pictures and i've even done it professionally for a while. I think the eye, is in the family.
I love Tech. I love my gadgets. That has my dad written all over it.
I live to eat. Anyone who knows me, knows how much i love food. That has my mom written all over it. I dare anyone to come home and not go satisfied.
Never did i think that this would be so easy. Or at least that is what they made me feel. I thought that i would have to talk them into it. I had a whole game plan mapped out but it was such an ease. I can't say anything more here except that i am ecstatic. If 100s of people tell me it is awesome that i'm going to marry the girl i love, i tell them that it is because i had such a great set of people. Again, never did i think that it was going to be so easy. Really.
Is an emotion that isn't used too much in my family. But it isn't an emotion that you can even find the lack of. I've imbibed the same things within me. Love is an emotion that we all share. It is all about sharing. You share your personal space with the one you love. You share your knowledge with the ones you love. Love is indeed a word in itself. But the easiest way to show love, is by sharing. Through love, i've learnt to share. Through sharing i've learnt to love.
Perseverence. Dedication. Brilliance. Hard work. Trust. Friendship. Professionalism. That one presentation at Sri Lanka blew me over. I one day aim to talk to a group of people with that amount of pride that you had and the amount of confidence that was brimming from within. Respect.
So, If at any point in time you guys thought that you led your lives without doing anything or without being satisfied please come back and read this. You've spent your life, in making mine. It doesn't matter how small the contribution at that time was.
If anyone compliments me right now, it is all you guys.
If anyone tells me i am Intelligent, it is all you guys.
If anyone tells me that i am honest, it is all you guys.
If anyone tells me i am caring, it is all you guys.
If anyone tells me i am loving, it is all you guys.
If anyone tells me i think differently, it is all you guys.
If anyone tells me that i appreciate their effort, it is all you guys.
If anyone tells me i take good pictures, it is all you guys.
If anyone tells me i love their food, it is all you guys.
If anyone believes in what i tell them, it is all you guys.
If anyone tells me i have a great set of friends, it is all you guys.
If anyone tells me i am a kid, it is all you guys.
If anyone tells me i have matured, it is all you guys.
If anyone tells me i am SHRAyas, it is all SHeela and RAjagopal.
Thats what YOU guys have done over the past 23 years. You've made me who i am right now. You've made me the man i am.
I wont ever say it but i am forever thankful to the things you've given up for me, to the things you've heard me say, to the things you've seen me do, to the things you've done for me.
Heres wishing you a Happy Anniversary dad and mom.