My name is Vartika. In the Sanskrit language, it means ‘eternal flame’ — a light that never goes out. A lot of people think that’s beautiful, but consider this: for a fire to burn eternally, it has to forever feed on wood and wax, and it destroys them. It has to kill the very thing that keeps it blazing. Similar is the destruction of my life — everything I touch, I tear apart. Everything I let go of probably has the grip of my fingers burnt into it. This is not me trying to sound poetic, or euphemizing clumsiness (my name, in the Sanskrit language, also means ‘a duck’, so there do exist other ways of introducing myself). I am so much more than my name, but sadly, my name is what you remember me by.
I am eighteen years old. I am eighteen years young. I have too little a share in existence to have appropriate ways of telling you about it — but I will still try. I wake up a new person every day, troubled by my own thoughts, perhaps ashamed of how proud I can be of them or perhaps the other way round; more a bundle of self-esteem issues than I am of human tissue. I am, for the rest of my life, strapped in to the safety of my mind even as I try running from it; the safety of a mind that is constantly abuzz with fast-moving ruminations, running from which is like running in the midst of moving traffic on a highway in New York City — So I often wonder what people mean when they say they changed their mind. I wish that someday, I will have that answer to keep and to give away. Till then, I’ll run, and I hope I can collect a thousand and one songs to be on the soundtrack of my life or perhaps just my running playlist.
My name is Vartika, I am eighteen years old; and despite the facts imposed on me by life, chance and experience, I cannot define who I am. Definitions are meant to help you differentiate one from the other. I know I am different, and in all my differences, I am just like everyone else — like everyone else, I have my shortcomings, my fears, a dream to make it big, and corners that I recede to when I think too much of these things. I will gladly leave out that part on any form you ask me to fill out, because what use is it to define myself? Can we really contain a person in about 250 words, or even five hundred, when we are all made up of stories and thoughts which build up towards the infinite in every second of every moment in our lives? Am I — and will I ever be — what I define myself as? Is anyone really just what one person’s idea of them is? How about I refine myself, putting myself out there for the world to see, outside the confinement of text boxes and waiting blanks on paper? Defining myself I can never do, for definitions exclude the possibility of change, and I want to evolve.
This is me watching myself evolve. This is me trying to make sense of that damned constant buzzing in my head. This is me trying to find myself beyond being just eighteen, beyond being a certain way or kind, beyond what I am told or assumed to be. I won’t be sorry if this ends up being more questions which you probably can’t answer right now than the answers I thought I’d met out about myself — life’s like that.