A letter to self on 22nd birthday!

Dear 21,


When I was younger, I used to write to my old self a day before my birthdays. In that, I started salutations as Dear 13, Dear 14 and that continued until 15. The letters remind me of my little achievements and as well the failures and goals that were not achieved. That somehow helped because I then learn to achieve those pending goals in the coming year. When I was 16, I got so lazy and felt that doing such is so silly and childish. However, tonight I’ll be writing to this 21-year old self who will be turning 22 tomorrow. Yaaa! Tomorrow is my 2015 birthday. I’m not really looking forward to something big and wonderful, but well, I have to call September 20, 2015, as my 22nd birthday, a natal day, a special day of mine; marking two decades and two years existence of someone named Sureen Sarona Hasan in this world.

21, you have been so so good. This year I was able to achieve so many things that years before, I never thought I could have achieved by my future self. I never thought I would that be brave, courageous, adventurous and goal-getter. I gained several important connections through my God-given talent, gifted skills, average intelligence and enough confidence (that is now existing when needed, thank goodness!). I met a lot of great people. I made a lot of friends whom I communicated with in much less embarrassing manner because unlike before that I was too shy and tactless, I could manage myself well enough already.

I travelled far as well. Perhaps, not yet in my dream places such as Scotland, Maldives, Istanbul, Prague, Spain or Paris, but I explored a lot more of Vietnam where I met inspiring individuals. I stayed at beautiful Buddhist pagoda during the summer. I went to Amritsar, the land of the Golden temple, spent my Diwali there with my best friend, Nimarta and Goa with my roommate for a college fest, then Madurai with my batch mates on a research project and with my family to getaway venues. There were so much more than that compared to ones I could remember and I will be forever thankful. Traveling releases all your doubts and pushes you to choose wiser decisions. Meeting my best friend, Ipshita after almost 2.5 years was the best last summer. Spending time, laughing, shopping with her.

Honest, this year has been so tough as well; the very painful year for me. Good, it is my happiest year but it is indeed true that the thing that could give you your intense happiness is capable as well of cutting you with the most painful wound. I have lost friends and my confidence; I did my best and gave what I can. It gave me twinge thinking that my efforts and sacrifices did not pay off, but as what most people say, “that is part of life,” and I am happy that I am able to embrace that maxim and push myself forward to the next level.

This year my friendship with other people was tested as well. I experienced being betrayed. It made me mad, hate and envelope second thoughts on trusting people, but it encouraged me to ponder that you cannot keep all specks of sands in your hands if the wind keeps on blowing hard. Even if you carefully put it in your closed fist, only those who are in the centre could make it. Some relationships are destined to end if only one party is sincere. That is not just for intimate ones, but for friendships as well.


However, I am just so thankful that my God has kept my family intact, centred in Him and loving as ever for more than two decades of my life. I am praying it will be good as forever. It is my parents and grandparents that entice me to believe and hope in true love and forever between two people, that there are genuineness and loyalty in a marriage, and that there is a strong foundation in a bond that is linked by God. Believe me, feeling the same seems surreal because it feels so overwhelming. They are like the lit of hope that lights the dimness of the cruel world.

Other than them are my close relatives and best friends who stayed as my compass in finding my good path. I realized that these people are our angels here in this planet earth who are always there to back us up and they are meant to be treasured.

Moreover, I thank God for my faith and for my family that I proudly belong. It is a home that I could always come home to if I have no one and a comfort that soothes me when I am lost. It is an epitome of promise that at the end of a very long ride, there is a Paradise that awaits.

21, I cannot count what I gained and lost when I’ve been you, but surely, my 21st year is a blessing! Because everything in between has been contributing pillars to create and found me as good as 22.

Goodbye 21st Chapter, and have a blessed and a happy 22.


Outgoing 21 Self.




You know when someone (or two someones or a bunch of someones) hurts you so deeply you can’t even form coherent sentences to describe how you’re feeling? When you wake up feeling more than sad, like someone is sitting on your chest and has soaked your sheets so they weigh on your skin? When your emotions are a roller coaster of sadness, anger, jealousy and pure, sticky hatred? Well, that’s where I’m at.

And so I went home. Not to the house I stay, but to the house where I was raised. Home. I grabbed my laundry, packed my suitcase and caught a flight to my penthouse in Bangalore.

It’s a long flight, but a heavy foot and an iPhone full of music help you make the time pass. The miles go by and the distance gets shorter until you take that exit and finally feel your stomach jump while landing.

Sometimes, when I feel the butterflies in my stomach up in the air for the first time in months, I closed my eyes. It’s totally silent, motionless, cool and calm in the sky. I closed my eyes again for a few minutes, taking a few deep breaths. I feel nothing but relief.

Going home is wonderful for so many reasons; every corner of the house is familiar though it has changed a lot since I was a kid. When your parents become empty nesters, they have more time to prowl antique stores for the treasures that decorate your house. But the bones are the same.

Your things are still there: the childhood books, the collage of quotes. Clothes you don’t wear, but can’t bear to get rid of. Soft toys. Lots of Photos. It’s all there waiting for you to come home again and bring it to life, that “Toy Story” effect. Your whole life, to a certain point, is between those walls.

And it’s not just the house that offers such comfort; it’s the land. The roads don’t change. You’ve been navigating them since you were wobbling on training wheels. They’re waiting for you. The trees grow and die. The people never leave, though they age. That’s not the point, though. The point is that they’re there.

I have to put great distance between myself and things that have hurt me. It’s part of how I heal, and the gravel roads, army land and the sunsets I grew up with are what help patch up my mangled heart and broken spirit. I wake up in my childhood bed – much too small for my childhood self – and look out the window, and I think, “I will be OK.”