memoir of a Good kid

Devang and Chika during their wedding week in 2010

Ask my mom and she’ll tell you what an angelic kid I was growing up. Ask my sister, and she’ll tell you how much she hated hearing about it all the time.

I was the clean-room-perfect-grades-never-selfish-always-giving-helpful-and-polite kid the moment I was born. The only two times that I threw a fit while growing up was when I wanted a wooden puppet in Nepal and a new bike for school. I don’t exaggerate when I say that all the mothers on the block wanted their children to be like me.

I wish my sister had told me that childhood is meant to be selfish and misbehave. But she kept that little secret to herself and let me be a Good kid. In short, I wasted my childhood being too Practical and Perfect.

As an adult, it’s funny to hear stories about my formative years from my parents and relatives. Sometimes it makes me wonder how boring I really was and sometimes it makes me wish I was still as organized and put together.

Things have changed of course.
Between the two Ps, the first to leave was Perfection. While some might still consider me OCD, I’m not nearly as tidy as I use to be. In the old days, I could never leave my room without making the bed; I could never put off my homework to the next day; I would only write in perfect, beautiful cursive. Now a days, I don’t care that I collapse in an unmade bed almost every day, that I procrastinate on all the school assignments, and that my handwriting is as sloppy as a sloppy joe.

The second P, Practical, is currently working on it’s way out too. The Good me would be mindblowingly happy right now about planning a wedding. The Good me would also happily go along with parents’ wishes for wedding locations and guest lists and all that other good stuff. However, I’m slightly rebelling at the moment and siding with everything impractical. My overly creative mind is in over drive. It’s suggesting that I have a tiny wedding on a beach or a villa somewhere, that I bake my own three tiered wedding cake, that I go for a run the morning of, that I completely ignore my 300 close family and friends who are dying to see me get married.

Why? Where do you come up with this stuff? This is mostly what I get asked when I share my rather impractical (Indian) wedding fantasies.

I am starting to wonder if I came up with this a long time ago; when I was a Good kid. When people kept praising me for my every little behavior. It was annoying. When they embarrassed me in front of their kids by saying they should be like me. I wanted to disappear. Their constant praise belittled my efforts and intentions for doing good things. I decided at that time that I did not like so much attention.

May be this is why I am afraid of a big wedding.
Blame the Good kid. Finally she is up to something stupid and selfish.

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Chika Gujarathi is a freelance writer based in Raleigh, NC. She writes about everything from travel, food, books, and family. Her current project includes a series of children's books to teach Hindi. She is a native Tar Heel who has also lived in Washington DC and Chicago.

4 thoughts on “memoir of a Good kid

  1. I’ve come to believe that all children need to bad. If you’re not bad when you’re young, its bound to come out later. It’s like a pent-up energy that MUST escape. Of recent, I’ve also gotten tired of following the rules all my life and have had urges to be bad (evil snicker). But, if I’m one of the 300 people who gets ignored due to your late blooming badness, you won’t hear the end of it. :)

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  2. Chika girl, I kid you not, I would be sold to the ‘beach/villa wedding’ idea in a heartbeat… no problems whatsoever. The only thing is that you have to make sure that you bring a photographer along with you who can capture the special occasion on camera…and I know just the person who can do that for you for free. =)))
    Having said that, I am sure your family and friends would be so happy and honored and eager to celebrate the day with you and to cheer you on and to yell “attagirl” . I am also sure that you will not feel the attention as much as you think you would b/c you would be too consumed with happiness to even notice the 300 pairs of eyes on you. It’ll be alright!!!! Really!!
    P.S. Oh and by the way, rest assured that you did not miss out on anything by being the “good kid”. In fact, you saved yourself of the agony of saying ‘what was I thinking?’ from the memories of bad behaviors. I may also say that you spared yourself of the difficulty of unlearning bad habits acquired from childhood. Somehow, my brain regresses back to the fist fighting and wrestling that I religiously practiced with my two brothers as a kid that I still interpret pushing and punching is just being friendly. Unfortunately, sometimes I do get into trouble for it. So, I insist that you keep your ‘good kid’ profile. =)

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