Happy 10th Birthday!

Dear Raunak,

Happy 10th birthday, young man! What a fine boy you are turning out to be and am loving every second of watching you grow.

You are sharp, sensitive, responsible, super high energy and very creative. You are also not organized, don't yet get the fact that scoring well in exams in important and love the TV and computer a little too much. Last year you were into hundreds of Pokemon characters and this year, it is birds and animals. You spend hours on your computer trying every single query combination to find an animal you did not know about before.

Outside of home, you are beginning to navigate the complex social scene. Your friends are getting into cliques. If you are a part of one, you can't be a part of another one and you struggle so hard with this because your natural instinct is to make friends with everyone you meet. Many of our evenings end up with you crying for being booted out of one group or not being accepted into another.

While you will continue to learn to blend and stand out, I will continue the tradition of dishing out free advice to you on your birthday. I have 3 things to say this year.

1. Peer pressure is good, use it smartly and more importantly, don't be afraid of it. The word is used with a bad connotation but what it really does is it challenges you to move out of your comfort zone and take risk. While the effect of peer pressure is going to be the highest in the next few years, it really stays with you throughout your life. If you deal with it well initially, it will become your friend. There is only one thumb rule to remember when handling this: Don't do anything you will not be proud of later in life. Do everything else.

2. Don't ever let go of creative expression. Life will be busy, it will squeeze all the juices out of you, it will make you work hard, will make you obsess over silly things but don't ever let it take out the creative expression out of you. Keep your hobbies alive, don't ever stop learning a new skill every now and then. When all else fails, this will keep you sane.

3. There is nothing called luck. Don't ever depend on it, don't give it too much credit. The real things are an open mind, right attitude, curiosity, commitment and optimism. And then there is probability and chance which is really a branch of math and not the mystical names people give it.

I promise to make the year as fun as I possibly can. We will have loads of outdoor time, cook, travel, we will continue to attempt to get you to show interest in reading books. And of course we will watch a lot of TV and find excuses to skip doing homework once a while.

Hope you will have a great time today and I can't wait for the year to unfold! Love you loads.