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30 by Bhawna Jaimini

Photograph by Ralph M. Hattersley

Are you the version of yourself

You wanted to be ten years ago?

Did you finally learn to sew?

You must repair torn sleeves and fraying

Hemlines because all the fast

Fashion brands you wanted to

Afford are making women on the

Other side of tracks work 16 hours

A day. And the women still can’t feed

Their children. Sewing wont help their

Children but it will help you turn

Old sarees into curtains. Sheer

Curtains without the stains of hunger

Will make your room look bigger.

Did you learn to cook

For yourself? Please cook only for

Yourself without any leftovers for the

Fridge or for hope that someone might

Just appear to share your bland khichdi

In your apartment filled with pretentious

Art and loneliness. Cooking for yourself

Will help turn loneliness into solitude.

There are many things to fight against,

Food should not be one of them.

Did you learn to grow plants? From a seed

Preserved from an overripe fruit you had no

Intentions of eating? You must understand that

Farming is an art. Not even ‘also’ an art.

Art. Period. When your seed refuses to

Germinate in spite of trying every other

‘Hack’ available online, sit back, drink

Some water and extend solidarity to all

The farmers, growers and nurturers.

Please don't order grown plants online

Later. Plants and trees are not ornaments

Like they taught you in architecture school.

There are many things you can buy, avoid

Putting living beings on to that list.

After three decades of existing on this

Delicate planet, the only assets you

Should have with you are the intangible

Ones, not considered as achievements.

Like the ability to repair, recycle and reuse

Not just materials but relationships too.

They say this is the right to invest and grow

Your money. They are right but 30 doesn’t

mean losing the right to make wrong choices.

You must resist the temptation to be right.

Right is boring. Right is stagnant. Right is

Indoctrination. Be on the wrong or in other

Words, on the left side of the present. You

Are exactly where you are supposed to be

And even if you aren't, there is no way of

Knowing where you should have been?

Bhawna Jaimini is an architect, writer, and activist-in-making. You can follow her here. This poem is a follow-up to her previous poem 29, written after the poet's 30th birthday.


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