I'm in my "mid" twenties now. Park Street, Kolkata. June, 2024.

“Do you know you are in your mid-twenties now?”
Yes, I know. What about it?
“You’re so old now!”

I expected that. She is my sister, after all. Direct and unbothered. “If it is any consolation,” I told myself – “You thought you are in your late twenties now. She just said mid.”

I just turned 25. Today is a great day to reflect on the past year and do some housekeeping on this site. I have decided to publish the yearly recap essay around my birthday instead of publishing it at the beginning or end of the year.

So, this is the fourth essay in the yearly review series. You may also read the previous essays in the series: 2023, 2022, 2021.

I’m afraid I don’t have 25 lessons to offer on turning 25, but I hope you like the essay. This essay talks about personal growth, and a recap of the most important events of the last year.

The primary audience for this particular essay is young people from Tripura because if you know me, some of these would sound quite obvious to you. You can skip reading the essay if you are the latter. But since you are here, you should read the entire thing.

I always looked forward to moving to new places, so I was excited when I moved to Kolkata after wrapping up my compulsory university courses. The move from the Anganwadi center to new schools to this university in the Hindi heartland, to a well-known institute of management in western India, to a university in the beautiful Austrian capital, had a common objective – these moves happened with an aim of getting quality education and getting as far away from home as possible.

The move to the bustling capital of the Indian state of West Bengal was fundamentally different. The city was not unfamiliar, but the objective was different. I was getting closer to home, and most importantly, there were no surprise quizzes or weekly graded assignments. Truthfully, I found the transition from university to a full-time job a bit hard initially. It took me quite some time to settle into it and find my place in it.

I was at an Airbnb around this time last year, trying to find a house where I could write my master’s thesis peacefully and join my job on time. Before settling for the temporary AirBnB solution, I booked an OYO (for the last time in my life), which was disastrous. I left for a hotel that afternoon.

After some escalation, the CEO (or his team) reached out to me on Instagram, but of course, they have yet to issue a refund even to this day. I’m pretty sure they have not taken any action against that particular OYO either. It’s pretty hilarious that LinkedIn’s top follow suggestion for me is OYO’s CEO, Ritesh Agarwal!


Amidst everything, I feared I might not graduate on time. But I did, and I got a good grade on the thesis, too! Read The IIMA Convocation (Reang’s Version). Oh, I also found a place to live with two lovely flatmates. It has been one full year since I moved to Kolkata.

As I said, I’m only in my mid-twenties, so I don’t know how the world works exactly, but academic credentials help in unexpected ways. My landlord seemed quite pleased when I told him I studied Electrical Engineering at IIT Kanpur.

A few times, people in my housing society asked me which college I go to. They always seemed to appreciate that I went to two of the nicest colleges in the country.

Going to a good college also gives you access to a vast network of graduates, and I do not mean this strictly in terms of employment but during other times of need. No college mentions this in their prospectus; newspapers do not write about them, perhaps because no dollar amount is attached to it. Let me give you a concrete (and true) example.

I needed to speak to the SP (Superintendent of Police)1 of my district to sort out a few complications. So, I requested the help of some people I knew, who knew other people, who ultimately knew the right people.

Some people told me that my education is useless because we have fundamental differences on some core issues. I’m sorry, but education is not something you get to appreciate only when it suits you. Appreciating education only when it suits some people is perhaps the biggest fraud perpetuated generation after generation.

The notion that there is an “end” to education – that education is supposed to get you a chakri,2 that is enough to pay for you, your spouse and your children seems sensible on the face of it. There is nothing wrong with falling in love with someone, getting married to them, starting a family, and so on. In fact, I very much look forward to tutoring my children.

However, simply put, most elders won’t tell you that there is a fundamental weakness in that “sensible” approach. Often, the value systems clash. It has increased quite a bit for me in the past few years. The worldview you held, the value system you internalized as a child, and the worldview you formed after interacting with people outside the comfort of your home and home state often clash.

I can’t say that the elders back home are wrong on every count. Conversely, they cannot claim you are wrong because you are young. You must question age-old practices if you think they are out of place. I still think deeply about this notion of “superiority” that runs deep within some circles.

To think about it, one day or the next, someone will eventually get ahead of you (in whatever way you define “getting ahead”). That does not make you any less worthy of anything. Because if the upcoming generations don’t get better off than the previous generations, how are we to thrive as a tribe? Conflicts are bound to arise, and there might not be any resolutions to some of them, but we have to at least try.

Let me clearly state that I do not have an answer to all of these value-system questions I have grappled with, especially during the past year. I’m in the process of coming to terms with most of them.

Despite all these, the past year (at least a major chunk of it) has also been the period of life (thus far) when my thought process has been as clear as it has ever been. I know about the things I care about deeply, a few things that are great to have, a few things that I’d love to have, and a lot of things I’d do everything to avoid.

Growing up, Mom used to scare me by saying things such as, “Look if you fail your exams, you’ll have to do REGA.” For the longest time, I did not know what that meant. MGNREGA (mann-REGA) or REGA as people back home call it, is an Indian social welfare measure that aims to guarantee the ‘right to work’.

In Kau-Bru MGNREGA work usually is called haa tain yak nai (haa = mud/Earth, tain = the act of cutting/tilling; literally “the act of tilling the Earth”). That’s because in our village MGNREGA work mostly involved village folks digging a pond during the dry season, so that during monsoon it gets filled up and the owner of the pond can release fish cultures there.

What fascinated me as a child turned out to be a pretty-well thought out scheme of the Government of India. There are so many other schemes that I only learned of recently. I kind of lucked out in that years ago when my parents put me on a path of learning to read, I did not know someday I’ll be reading to learn new things. So, if you are a parent reading this (which you likely are not), or someone from back home, educate your children.

Please travel outside the boundaries of your district and state, and talk to people from other places. You will realize that the outside world is beautiful, so much to learn from. Don’t be like that frog in a well. I feel lucky that I got the opportunity.

Many things – the way things back home are, the unfortunate lottery of birth, the way of life, etc. makes sense when you read about them in books. There are seemingly simple explanations for many things. So, it is not that we were destined to a state of doom but because some people decided to pull strings a certain way. Maybe that is what the detractors want to keep from us.

I mostly feel optimistic about the future now. To be quite blunt – I think this life is worth living to its end in all its colors. There are so many things to do and so much to experience; I just hope I have the energy to pursue them all one by one. – From The biggest stories of 2023: A reflection

For the first time in my life, I also feel free, free from all the subjugation – and that is a deeply liberating feeling. It’s quite beautiful to have the free will (or at least the illusion of it) and work on things I love. This meme that a friend shared sums it up to an extent the current state of life, “Na kisi se kalesh hai, na kisi se fight. 9 baje dinner, 10 baje goodnight.

Before I close, I must quickly point out that money can buy happiness. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. Okay, to be fair, you cannot actually stop people from telling you things3 but take my word on the “money can buy happiness” bit. The caveat, of course, is how you define happiness.

For instance, I decided that it would be cool to walk 25,000+ steps (because I’m 25 now) to my favorite coffee shop, and have my favorite coffee (it’s a Flat white these days). I also had a giant chocolate chip cookie. Had I been broke, I’d not have had the means to drink that excellent (but overpriced) cup of coffee. Did that make me happy? You bet!

I wrote three essays since the last yearly review essay. Each of them represents a meaningful transition to the next phase of life in some sense. I list them in no particular order of importance.

The IIMA Convocation (Reang’s Version) is a summary of all the emotions I felt before, during, and after the $59^{th}$ annual IIMA convocation. It was a major milestone for my family and I. And I’m so glad I got to celebrate it with the two people who mean the world to me. My mother weaved a shirt especially for the convocation, and I got the official paperwork which ascertained that I’ve been to these magical institutions.

Dear Parents (of NPSIS) represents a turntable. For most of my life, I sat in the audience, listening to timeless wisdom passed on by various speakers. It was different this time. I got to share my worldview in a room packed with parents and try out some jokes! They asked me to speak almost impromptu, so it was a big surprise. I talked about how it was like being a student in the boarding school. And kindness.

I cast my vote for the first time! I was quite excited about voting in the 2024 Indian parliamentary elections. Casting my vote for my preferred candidate meant that beyond being someone’s son, friend, brother, lover, and a whole host of other descriptions, I’m a citizen of this lovely country who has a say in things. That is a powerful thing.

In summary – a quarter-century old, mid or late twenties, or however you put it, I feel great at this point. There is so much to look forward to. So much to learn – from books, from other people, and from observing the world around me.

As usual, in reading all these a part of me feels that it’s too “privileged.” If you feel the same way, I’m sorry to have disappointed you. In that case, don’t take any of the advice that I offered. Feel free to reach out via email and tell me which parts bothered you. Maybe I can learn from you, and include that new learning in next year’s essay.

Thank you so much for reading till this point. You must have (of course you did not) noticed that this essay is ~2500 words long. You may ask, “why?” Well, because I’m 25, duh!


  1. I pray that you don’t ever have to speak to the SP of any district. But, well, we are all a product of our circumstances. 

  2. Chakri is what a job is called (or so I think). Sometimes it’s super hard to translate between languages as a multi-lingual lol. 

  3. This essay is an example of someone telling you things. In my defense, you came here. 

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