Updated: Dec 1, 2021
It was 2012, or some year around that time. A time where afternoons meant cricket and evenings called for badminton. Summers brought with them cheer, and unfortunately, a sense of impending doom they call exams these days. But before the exile started that year, a little girl was secretly looking forward to her birthday. They meant something to her back then. Not much, but not nothing either.
She was promised a small surprise. So come the day, she was naturally excited, so much so that she practically ripped the flimsy wrapping off of the package she was handed. And out came a clearly customized, albeit simplistic, graphic tee. White, with an impression of her then-favorite band, with the lyrics to her then-favorite song. Today, it wouldn't be considered a fancy gift. probably wasn't one even back then. You wouldn't know it to look at it, but it was the best present she had ever gotten.
I don't remember my introduction to Coldplay. Probably just found one of their songs on my elder sibling's playlist, and started listening to the band because it was the adult thing to do. I'd laugh at how easily influenced I was if it wasn't still true. But at some point along the way, I saw love. It could've been the empathetic voice that reassured me on difficult days, or the profound words that washed over me with a gentle melody. At times, I guiltily wonder if it was just the present that nudged me ever so slightly toward them. Whatever it was, it spoke to me of the magic that tune and words contain. And I was, as you would imagine, spellbound.
Here we are, about a decade later, and I'm still sitting in that tee. That battered, stained, ancient tee that says that the stars shine for me. It's not as white anymore, or at all. My family berates me for not letting go of a seemingly trivial, and slightly unkempt, piece of clothing. And I could probably find a much better, newer, prettier version, or better yet, ask for another one.
But see, a lot has changed in the past decade. That little girl had to grow up, and not in a way she liked. Birthdays became morbid, gifts became hollow financial transactions. Every passing year brought with it more unwanted responsibilities in lieu of the special-day glee. All this time, I waited for a song, a gift, a love, that could stir in my soul the same euphoria I first felt all those years ago. And while there have been some times I'm grateful for, nothing could compare to the delight I can still taste when I first put on that tee.
And so, I put it on every now and then, sometimes thoughtlessly, other times in desperation. I look at the remnants of this past decade forever emblazoned on it, crack a smile, and wait a little more.
Foolish. Fanciful. Futile? I don't know. After all these years, maybe I'm still just A Head Full Of Dreams.