Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Oh Dear God, It's that Time of the Year Again!

Most definitely my last post of the year, I have made up my mind that I am not going to spend precious, albeit fickle words boring everyone including myself with exaggerated plans of self improvement and hopes and dreams of amassing obscene amounts of wealth and catching up on the backlog of much needed happy moments. Neither is this space going to be wasted on overdone reflections of the recent past and wistful contemplation of the near future. I have done that plenty of times. So what shall I write about I wonder?

A good place to start would be a recollection of the hilarious happenings of last weekend that once again familiarized me with the idiosyncrasies of my clan. December is probably one of the busiest months in the calendar year. Not only is there plenty of work to catch up on before the large hand of clock breaks its near perfect synchrony as it creeps past the midnight hour indicating the onset of another year, but finite hours that the days in December offer are often packed with festivities and celebrations of various kinds. Weddings dominate this long list of revelries that occupy my social calendar each year, more so now that I am getting older. Not only do I have to be an active, willing participant in sharing the trill and excitement of distant and not so distant relatives as they embark upon a supposedly long, wonderful, adventurous journey through health and sickness and which ever other clichéd phrase they use to describe it, but friends too are now included in the equation!

I am not complaining though, I love weddings, not so much for the people and social interactions bit, but mostly for the superfluous factors like the delicious food, the seemingly never ending, free flow of booze and of course the dancing, especially the dancing. Okay, so my rather traditional Maharashtrian family does not include any of the above in their matrimonial festivities, but none the less, I grudgingly admit I do like attending family weddings, although the enthusiasm this time around is dampened.

So the second, not so distant in relation, but far away in affinity cousin got hitched last Saturday. The celebrations were trite but pleasant none the less. Everyone one was in a good mood, willing to go along with the motions of the day. The mediocre meal was finally consumed after hours and hours of waiting. Circa 2008 and we are still waiting for the boys’ side to be sated first? How truly archaic and unfair, but hey, I don’t make the rules, when it is my time I shall make sure that delicate scales of justice are more or less balanced. All those that are hungry will not be denied a morsel no matter what side they represent!

That evening, after the bride was packed off to her new home amongst a great flurry of tears, the K clan gathered around in my cousin’s living room. They were engaged in a much enthusiastic postmortem of the wedding, my aunts strained relations with her siblings and last but not the least a detailed comparison between the pros and cons of using the Indian squatter toilets as opposed to the infinitely better looking Western style commode!

My sister and I were vaguely paying attention to the content of the animated cacophony that encompassed the place, until the conversation steered towards intimate details about everyone’s bowel movements. Suddenly our ears piqued with great curiosity as we started at each in disbelief!

“Is this for real?” I questioned silently as I pointedly stared at her.

“You better believe it.” She replied as a highly amused grin played upon her lips that threatened to break into a full-fledged chortle.

For next twenty minutes (yes I know the exact time as I made it a point to peek at my watch right when the conversation began and precisely when it ended) we heard a heated debate on what was really better for you, the good old squat a technique that plays havoc upon your old wobbly knees and agitates your arthritis or the great genius of the Western style toilet mechanism that is a sure fire way of preventing those aching joints from getting any worse, but a no go if you suffer from mild to severe constipation.

“Squatting puts pressure on your lower belly and therefore helps gives you faster, much needed relief.” Said Aunt #1, without a singular moment of hesitation, as if she had great authority upon the surface.

“Yes, but the pros of the Western style toilet most certainly outweigh the cons. There is always fiber that you can take to soften your bowels, but arthritis is tough to manage.” Aunt # 2 said.

Let’s just say that what continued to ensue was one “shitty” exchange. I wish I could assert that this was actually the worst part of the evening, but no, sadly it doesn’t end there. I have an embarrassingly loud voice that I sometimes fail to take notice of. I maybe in a perfect, not too loud conversation with someone, when suddenly my voice takes a life of its own and the decibels rise exponentially with every passing word. I have been chided for it in the past and have often burst a blood vessel work wondering why this is so. Until last weekend I had no bloody clue and then it hit me, whether it is bowel movements, someone’s husband, the growing price of potatoes or my husbandless state, my family is amazingly noisy! Always trying to one up each other, not by the sheer strength of their argument or their great insight, but purely on basis of how incredibly loud they can be!

First as children and now as adults we had to always scream to make our voice heard and put in our two cents. If you can’t scream it out loud, you ain’t got it is the Kulkarni motto. Be it right, wrong or plain outright ridiculous was another issue altogether. Then there is uncle R who is plagued with verbal diarrhea, no matter what the situation demands, no family gathering would be complete without him making inappropriate remarks constantly.

I can go on and on about the eccentrics that make up the K clan and their sometimes hilarious and often annoying attributes. But just when I get a tad bit too unhindered with disparaging remarks, I notice an uncanny resemblance between us, that’s when the realization dawns; we may not be all that different after all. This is when the insults die in my mouth and the ferverent prayer begins, “God, please don’t let me be like them when I grow up!”

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Month in the Life Of

Okay so it’s that time of the year again when I pretend to stop writing about someone else and write about me as me.

A lot has been happening recently, not in the blow my kickers off exciting kind of sense that will have me reeling back for ages, but nice, pleasant instances that have cropped in the last odd month or so that have generally put me in good spirits. Of course all the credit for my amicable nature and jovial social interactions goes to me. It was late, late November when I finally decided to sit back, order a large over-priced iced latte from Gloria Jeans and think about my life a tad bit pragmatically. I eased back into my seat after being hunched over for almost three quarters of an hour nibbling off tiny, tender bits skin and flesh from the corner of my right thumb, a nasty nervous habit I indulge in whenever I try to focus hard on something. As my arched spine silently and profusely thanked me for the change in posture, I slowly sipped on my drink, carefully rationing the contents of my cup so that it can strategically last the entire duration of my serious, much needed self analysis, I was completely aghast to finally come to the conclusion that I have been an unhappy, hateful, pessimistic, self-pitying, self-loathing cynic. Now all these attributes may sound almost poetic in some brooding, deprecating, long haired artist with a dark sexy stubble, I might be wistfully attracted to, make no mistake, in retrospect, when abiding in oneself, these traits actually put a huge damper on personal growth and happiness.

Okay, so this life altering personality change didn’t actually occur exactly at that very moment. I need to rewind a tad bit more and revisit that evening when I went on a dinner date with my friend A. I have known A for a while, he is by far one of the nicest individual I know and I say this with the utmost fondness for him and all that he represents. It’s a complete fib that nice guys end up last or nowhere at all. I know realize (maybe almost a tad too late?) that nice guys always end up in the right place, we as creatures of infinite stupidity ( and I include myself in this list) are either too dumb to realize they are absolutely wonderful or extremely late to get there. Being normal, functional and sorted isn’t all that bad I figure now, in fact it is indeed a redeeming attribute. So A was passing through town, on his way back to the US of A and was kind enough to grace me with his presence for that short few hours that I now strongly believe altered my perception, well at least for the time being.

I was generally in my morose state of mind, which by now had become so damn familiar that I failed to recognize that it might be highly infuriating and frustrating to others (and sometimes I really wonder why I have so few friends?) so A and I were catching up after a very long time, as usual I was going through my grocery list of quibbles in life when A suddenly interjected and said, “hey it’s time you did something about them you know.”
I have heard this before and I have been quite irritated in the past to have been reminded of the obvious. But for some unexplainable reason this time around things were different. End of the year bout of wisdom perhaps? Or sheer desperation that has finally tamed my wild stubborn ways? What ever the reason maybe, that’s when it dawned on me, all of this year I have done absolutely nothing but complain, bitch and ultimately moan about everything under the sun, but when it was actually time to do something about my trails and tribulations, I did very little, either because I was too afraid to move out of my comfort zone (however miserable it was, it was still awfully familiar) or deathly frightened of failure.

Epiphanies are a funny thing, when they finally happen to you, either you realize with great dismay that the time has long passed for you to bring about that much desired life change or they fill you with that much needed spurt of unexpected enthusiasm and courage in just the right doses to make that elusive dream a reality, or at least give it a damn good shot.

So as I sipped my iced beverage (by now I was almost to the bottom of the cup) and decided to wake up from my self induced existential slumber. I rushed home, begged mom to lend me her credit card (she is quite old fashioned and till this date remains unnecessarily paranoid about online credit card transactions) and enrolled for the GRE exam. I had finally mustered the courage to give my MFA a shot. Of course at that impulsive moment I didn’t realize how incredibly stressful it is to secure a graduate school admission.

My intense research began the next day and to my great dismay, I realized that I have missed most fall deadlines. My average sized brain, which only has the limited capacity to store and retain information over an extended period of time does not give me the liberty to take the exam overnight and actually requires me to put in a few sincere, dedicated hours of study each day. So April 25th is sort of the judgment day for me, when I will finally know what my future holds in more ways than one.

2010 is sort of a ways away, I mean 2009 hasn’t even dawned yet, but time has a way of slipping by me, without as much as a whispered warning. I know that if I don’t start now, another year might just go by without much to account for its passage and I can’t let that happen again.

I finally feel like I am getting my life sorted in some ways and it’s an incredible, incredible feeling. As nerdy as this may sound, it feels good to work towards a goal, to have a goal that I have started to shape into a reality. Sometimes I wonder if I am doing all this to get far away from this mess that is my life here? There is a strong evidence to suggest the same. But then I justify it to myself by thinking that what ultimately matters is my happiness. I may not be strong enough to live my life according my own terms here, but there might be some place in some obscure, remote corner of the world where I may possibly be able to do so. So what’s the harm in embarking upon a journey to find this destination?

Now that I have these self induced pep talks running through my head time and again, life is indeed beautiful. I have been smiling and laughing a lot, which I have discovered to my great surprise and joy that I highly enjoy. I have a fabulous new hair cut that I look super cute in and I have lost some weight since I have cut back on the alcohol and started going on walks again. I look and feel good. This I like and I am vain enough to admit in public.

I do realize that the end of the year encourages us all to make unreasonable, unattainable resolutions, which we forgo by the second week of January, but since my dreams come with a price tag of two hundred dollars just in enrollment fees, I better do something about them!

Oh yeah last new years eve, I was sick, all alone at my desk writing my first post. This year I will be in Goa with friends, hopefully snogging some cute guy at the stroke of midnight. Maybe this year won’t end on an awful note after all.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Seema quietly tiptoed into the living room, after an evening of mindless gallivanting within the limited confines of the suburb she called home; with the people she called friends. The comforting silences that pervaded her living room was interrupted by the obscene chime of the wall clock which screamed that an hour still remained before she was accosted by yet another day.
Her eyeballs hurt from the strain of attempting to fervently look beyond the parameters of her vision, for in her harried state to reach her destination on time she had carelessly left her spectacles at home. Seema slowly and deliberately massaged her shut eyelids in circular rotations to ease away the strain that was assaulting her senses when suddenly the room got bathed in a burst of ugly, fluorescent light with the definite click of a button. Seema winced at the unwarranted intrusion upon her private exercise of relaxation, but did not rebel openly.

Mother started intently from a sharp corner, adjacent to the light switch that divided their shared living quarters in a definite square. They exchanged a silent greeting with the flutter of their eyelids, acknowledging each others commanding yet reassuring presence with least awkwardness. Seema wiped her kohl smudged fingers on the front of her jeans, which were tainted by some of the smoky blackness that had been transferred onto her tips while she rubbed her eyes vigorously. She flopped upon sofa as she carelessly tossed her bag in the corner and gazed at mother with a warm stare that could possibly initiate the dawn of an interaction, the mood and tone of which unfamiliar to both.

“How was your evening?” She enquired.

“It was alright, coffee and dinner, the usual.” She quipped.

“I really wish you would stop wasting money eating and drinking out almost everyday, especially when there is food at home.” She muttered. Her decibels and irritation heightened with each passing word.

Seema stretched out on the sofa and shuffled around for the television remote, only half listening to her mothers rants that she was rather impervious to by now. After a long, lazy and a rather boring Saturday, she was ready to indulge in a good few hours of dreamless slumber that would refresh her senses and comfort her aching body that was fatigued from the week’s activities.

“I visited the astrologer today.” Mother said nonchalantly.

Her unexpected, matter of fact declaration invaded the empty thoughts that were beginning to wander into the deeply hidden barren wastelands of Seema’s mind. Her left kneecap twitched from the goose bumps that emanated from its epicenter and quickly coursed through the remainder of her limb. Her sprawled stance ended when she drew her knees to her chest and sat upright in one swift motion, now completely alert.

Encouraged by Seema’s minor show of curiosity and lack of dismissal in her belief that the seemingly miniscule twinkling celestial beings, nestled far away in some remote corners of this galaxy, held the ultimate power to unabashedly chart the course of our destiny, without so much as a passing thought towards our hopes and desires, mother continued almost uninterrupted for the next few minutes.

Seema sat horrifically mesmerized as mother unraveled the mystery of impending future meticulously and chronologically.
“December is a good month for you.”

“For what?”

“The stars are in your favor, a new phase unfolds.”

“Yeah?” She questioned with some hopeful caution.

“It’s an auspicious month to start something new.”

Seema brightened a little, the past year had been some what of a disappointment, largely due to her incapacity to finish anything she started or begin anything she wished to start. She wasn’t too deeply dejected though, the cold winter months always brightened her spirits, the tail end of the calendar year always brought with it the hope that the terrible waste she has subjected her being to would officially come to an end and the new year always brought with it possibility of a brand new beginning, something she embraced with childlike ardor.

“The starts favor your marriage prospects in the near future.” Mother added brightly.

Seema sat utterly still, paralyzed by the unwanted bulletin; her heart lurched forward with a deafening thud, while her lips parted wordlessly. Was this the news that she has secretly hoped to hear after all? Seema furrowed her brows in concentration neither encouraging nor dissuading mother to reveal further more.

“There is a good possibility that this maybe a love match. The stars are in its favor.”

The prospect of spending the rest of her life with someone she cared about, whomever it maybe cheered Seema more than she had ever anticipated. Her heart did a dainty summersault once again, thrilled by the prospect of being in love, again, hopefully for the last time this time around.

“Well, she asked me if you were in love in the past, the charts indicated that there was a phase like this once before.” Mom questioned, trying rather unsuccessfully to mask her peaking interest.

“Nah…” Seema replied with the nonchalance of a unseasoned liar as she smirked a little in amusement.

“I told her frankly that my daughter and I are friends and she tells me everything.” Mother said with uncertain finality as she stared at Seema pointedly hoping to fish out some of the truth carefully masked under an air of nonchalance.

Seema looked at mother with an equally challenging look of her own, almost daring her to prod her further, her silent smirk quietly tormenting her with the notion that there maybe many salacious revelations about her daughters life that she may possibly never be a spectator to.

The small and large hand of the clock in near perfect synchrony landed on the number twelve almost simultaneous, just when the breathing space between the two had begun to turn almost rancid with defiance and hostility.

“Tong” chimed the clock singularly, denoting the advent of another day.

*To be continued, maybe*

Thursday, November 6, 2008

This is How the World Turns

Once upon a time, in a land all too familiar for comfort, there lived a girl who desperately and hopelessly tried to live her life by following the simple yet seemingly hard to achieve principle of live and let live.

Although cynical and jaded about most things in life, somewhere deep within her heart, she secretly harbored a small but substantial amount of unadulterated hope and optimism that helped her get through life’s seemingly unending, painful and tumultuous phases. With time however, this stream of hope eventually ran dry and what remained of a once flourishing body, was a thin, nearly depleted trickle.

Never once did she believe that she could muster the courage and willingness to abandon her reservations and insecurities that twenty three years of living in fleeting times had thrown her way. Yet there she was out for public display and scrutiny once again, almost ready and willing to possibly impose upon herself great humiliation and heart wrenching failure, all in a desperate attempt to seek a small iota of comfort and solace in an exceedingly over crowded yet terribly lonely city.

After leaving behind a life that she had grown to love and cherish in a land not quite close to the place she once considered home, she felt unsure where to begin once more. Everything had a familiar ring to it, yet when she ventured too close, she couldn’t help but experience an overwhelming sense of alienation and loss. Oh how terribly afraid she was of once again being left to fend for herself alone. In these times, fraught with great unrest and distress, she managed to once again dig deep inside of her and resurrect that thin trickle of optimism and hope that had saved her from utter despondency time and again.

This thing called time is a funny entity; a whole year can go by without you even noticing its passing or it reminding you of its definite and speedy departure. Very little that is monumental or earth shattering takes places in such a finite space of time, yet seemingly inconsequential scenarios snowball into what you later label as ‘another year of your life.’ At the end of it all, you sit back and reexamine your life with false pragmatism and all you are left with is a sour taste of defeat and a possible indigestion from the bad Chinese food you consumed in your drunken stupor the previous night.

So our nameless heroine chugged along through the motions of living, going through periodic cycles of exhilaration and desolation. A very long time ago when she was still young and he was still humane, she had met a boy she grown to understand and eventually love. Unlike most fairy tale love stories however, these two did not engage in a youthful, passionate, all consuming love affair that ravaged and consumed their bodies and minds. Before their love had a chance to blossom into one of the many fantasies that filtered through her head during countless waking and sleeping hours, she boarded a jet plane to peruse a life somewhere else, while he stayed behind.

Unlike many other juvenile romances that would have ended that very night she left the country, these two managed to stay in touch and become better friends over the next six years. Neither of them was stupid enough to think that their love could survive the grueling test of time and distance. Each of them was open about their physical and emotional needs and went through a string of partners in their respective cities to make ends meet. Yet there was a small inkling of hope and longing; at least within heart that one day, if they ever ended up in the same part of the world again, they could possibly rekindle their intimacy once more, this time as adults.

One of the greatest consolations of returning back, after a long and tedious voyage for our nameless heroine was the knowledge that she could see him and possibly be with him, in flesh. They got along wonderfully well, were uncannily similar and terribly attracted to each other, or so she thought. Hectic work schedules and competitive, demanding careers took up most of their time, yet somehow they managed to take time out for each other, one out of longing and desire and the other possibly out of obligation.

This story does not have a happy ending, happy endings start and end in the movies. The more time they spent together, the more they realized how much things had changed over time. This change wasn’t something that her love for him could overcome, for she was the only one that was in love. The painful realization that this was unfortunately a one way street wasn’t the sad tragic end that she expected.

The charade of keeping up the friendship that they both supposedly valued and cherished brought with it a fresh onslaught of unexpected and undeserving pain. Alas, the façade could not last much longer; it had already dragged past its life expectancy. The humiliation, pain and anguish weren’t something that she could stand to ignore any more. All pretenses of nobility and putting their friendship above selfish personal agendas like ‘love’ fell through the roof.

Their friendship that was already treading on a fragile surface cracked completely, when she realized that he had ‘hooked up’ with one of her supposedly good friends and was now riding the relationship high-horse, after only three days of what she assumed was some fairly rigorous copulation .

All this after pointedly telling her time and again that there was no room in his heart for anyone else after his last big romance ended in great tragedy, sometimes right after they had indulged in some steamy foreplay and following it up by sleeping with a sting of women and never seeing them again just to prove his point.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

So where exactly is the Happy Ending again?

So where is the ‘happy ending’ Bollywood style I ask myself time and again?
I have been delirious with a mind numbing headache and a fever that refuses to go away. Being sick has it’s advantages of course, lying in bed all night wrapped in a blanket, shuddering from the unwarranted and uncalled for chills, on an exceedingly warm October night gave me the time and space to think and contemplate about the many complexities of life. I absolutely love the fact that everyone leaves you alone when you are sick! A terrible temperament and general frumpiness are discounted as bad, lingering side effects of your so called appalling suffering and you can almost get away with anything!
It seems sort of unfortunate that even though your limbs refuse to cooperate and your body rebels at the slightest movement, your mind is most active and alive than ever. Last night I desperately tried to put myself to sleep. At first I gently rocked myself back and forth as I sat hunched in bed propped against a couple of mismatched pillows. When this didn’t have the desired effect, I moved on to restlessly tossing back and forth in short, unstable jerky movements desperately trying to cling on to the smallest glimmer of sleep, only to come really close and then see it slip away, my eyelids drooping in exhaustion, but my mind alive and more awake than ever.

Once upon a time in a familiar looking suburb of big city there lived a girl named Sheila. Sheila was the perfect child next door types. Being extremely average has its benefits, thanks to this; Sheila for a good portion of her existence lived a very ordinary life. She always had a really difficult time waking up in the morning and getting to school on time. It’s not that Sheila didn’t enjoy the benefits of a rather mediocre education system, which she realized much later on doesn’t really prepare you for life at all. Quite the contrary, Sheila just didn’t find the morning hours very conducive towards her personal growth and learning. At the end of the day Sheila skipped home from school and then spent a good portion of the evening doing homework with great gusto and enthusiasm, a rather uncanny trait in a ten year old, but little Sheila liked to study and was indeed a rather odd child.

Summer was Sheila’s favorite season of the year. Apart from the obvious joys of not having school for three whole months and the sheer bliss and luxury of loitering and loafing around that the season offered, Sheila also loved summers because this was the only in the year that she got to see Ridhi.

Ridhi was a distance cousin, she spent the summers with the family that lived next door, who were coincidently were related to them both. Sheila and Ridhi were destined to be the best of friends, age and time being on their side helped speed up the process considerably. People smiled fondly as the watched the two girls skip together hand in hand on numerous occasions, apparently their mothers were good friends too and did exactly the same when they were their age.
Childhood, suddenly without so much as a slight warning gave way to those difficult teenage years. It brought along with it many joys and angst’s, but most importantly the painful realization and discovery of the opposite sex.

Sheila was younger than Ridhi by nearly a year and a half. To her Ridhi was almost a woman, all worldly and wise. They spent many a night, with their heads tucked under the same blanket, quietly and futilely fretting about the nature of men in low, almost inaudible whispers. They were always afraid of waking up the grownups with their scandalous talks. They were overjoyed to discover that each of them more or less wanted the same things in life. Ridhi was pretty and smart and all the boys seemed to like her, although a tad bit jealous Sheila enjoyed this and vicariously lived through her. When she finally got some attention of her own, Sheila emulated Ridhi’s ways to the tee to garner the same effect her friend seem to have on men.

Alas the long, starry, sultry nights filled with endless jibber couldn’t last forever. Today Sheila and Ridhi remains friends, they see each on rare occasion and thankfully sort of even share the same amicable feelings of warmth they once did for each other, sadly the similarity ends there. Riddhi now appears to be particularly tired and engrossed all the time. What seems like a never ending day is spent chasing after a hyper active but ridiculously adorable two year old and catering to her ever whim and fancy. Somewhere in the last five odd years or so, Riddhi had managed to snag herself a husband and produce a child. Sheila had been busy as well; only her days are filled with chasing after seemingly impossible, nonsensical, idealistic dreams, which had absolutely very little foundation in reality and unstable but interesting men she thought she was in love with, who ended up breaking her fragile and all too eager heart time and again. Riddhi basked in the glory of supposed marital bliss while Sheila reveled in her liberated, strong, independent woman of the 21st century existence. Both were seemingly content in their own right; yet felt that other lived a delusional, highly unfulfilled existence.
A couple of days ago, unexpectedly, Riddhi showed up at Sheila’s doorstep. After both got over the initial excitement and joy at each others sight, the conversation took a very sour turn. Riddhi pondered rather loudly on Sheila’s husbandless state and how incredibly unfortunate it seemed. The worldly and wise Ridhi lamented in great agony on how a life without the joys of marital bliss and snot nosed brats to run after was one badly lived. Sheila sat in utter silence as a feeling of loneliness and isolation slowly enveloped her, no words dared escape her lips.

“You are being selfish and horrible. Think about your mother, she isn’t getting any younger; doesn’t she deserve to see you happy?”

*eerie silence followed by a slightly throaty, awkward cough*

“You have some strange, funny ideas about space and relationships, what do you mean you aren’t quite ready to incorporate someone else into your life just yet? I haven’t heard anything more ridiculous!”


“What’s wrong with an arranged marriage? Not everyone is destined to meet each other and fall madly in love like Harsh and I did.”

“Yeah, thanks for rubbing salt on my nearly healed bruises.”

You must listen to your mother and meet some of these guys she is trying to introduce you to.”

“They sound like losers who can’t get a date on their own…” Sheila muttered softly.

“You think you are smart, mature, all knowing and wise but you are NOT! Have you heard yourself speak? You want the man to do all the work and make all the compromises, while you don’t give an inch."

“I don’t think that’s how I think or feel you are just misunder…” Sheila’s voice slowly trailed off as Riddhi once again loudly interjected.

“If I had an eligible, marriageable son, I would NEVER want him get marry a girl like you!!”
“Ouch.” Though Sheila.

“Change your ways before it’s too late! Otherwise there is a damn good chance that you might just end up all alone.”

“Fine, Fine!! I will meet some of these losers if you insist!” Sheila yelled, as she huffed out of the room, her composure badly shaken.

“Well NOT calling them losers would be a nice place to begin. Good.” Said Riddhi, with a triumphant humph, a big smile of victory plastered upon her lips.

The next night Sheila met Riddhi and the covered husband for dinner along with another married couple they were once very close too. The evening was fun and ordinary of sorts, the food although not exceptional was rather delectable. They all had a perfectly decently time, making small, individual contributions to the rather inane conversations that took place. Sheila remained silent through the bits where the discussed the triumphs and woes of matrimony due to her obvious lack of expertise on the subject. Now only if this was a discussion on disastrous relationships and terrible taste in men, would I have a thing or five to add, she thought herself in her usual self deprecating humorous manner. The evening ended on a good note with some scrumptious caramel custard that they each polished off with great gusto.

After the tab was paid and the husband packed off home to spend one more night in bed alone, Sheila and Riddhi silently walked homewards. Their private thoughts regularly interrupted by the sound of their sandals crunching against the abandoned gravel on the cemented side walk.

“Well, so tonight was fun!”

“Yes I had a great time. Thank you, wow we haven’t done this in a while.”

“Isn’t my husband lovely?” Riddi asked with a smile.

“Yes, he seems really nice.” Sheila offered.

“Didn’t you feel all lonely and alone tonight, having no one there to take care of you?”

“Not at all, I am quite use to looking after myself.”

Sheila strode ahead with a small yet determined and hopeful smile. She pressed a cigarette in between her parted lips and lit it with a sigh of content, all the while ignoring Riddhi’s look of disapproval and disdain, blissfully puffing away into the muggy October evening air.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Men really are from Mars

Trust a man to enter the picture and ruin the almost perfect beginning to what seemed like a good month after a really long time. I am almost twenty five years old and these constant repetitions of the same stupid mistakes are getting really cumbersome. It’s really; really not suppose to be this way at all, especially not after counseling myself time and again that I will NEVER venture down that path again. I should have my life a tad bit sorted by now. The warning signs were all there, the alarm bells were loudly chiming in my ears and coaxing me to run in the opposite direction, I stupidly ignored them against my better judgment and now I suffer all over again. Sex ruins EVERYTHING. It never is or will be uncomplicated.
I am fuming, at myself more than anybody else. This whole self-destructive existence isn’t all that glorifying as it is made out to be. That’s all I am going to say for now.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Perfect Relationship

Sometimes the best, most unexpected relationships in life come from places you thought you would never venture too and people that you least expect to ever encounter, only to wonder in the end ‘ Am I seriously capable of anything remotely normal and functional?’

Of the zillion dates and relationships and random hook-ups that I tortured and subjected myself too, the most satisfying, gratifying and fulfilling relationship I have EVER had has been with my ex- roommate ‘N’. Fate brought us together in the most mysterious of ways, I had no idea she was that weird chick that never closed her blinds and walked around naked in her dorm room until I started living with her and observed some striking similarities between the two. A whole three years later she still pranced around naked in our very messy apartment, albeit minus my sense of awkwardness, discomfort and sense of initial shock. Thank you ‘N’ for making me forget my unnecessary and trite sense of modesty. You go around thinking and feeling, imagining and concocting the premise of the perfect romance that will make you truly blissfully only to much later realize that you are actually living it, ironically with someone of the same sex that unfortunately neither consider being in a relationship with or are attracted to.

So ‘N’ and I lived in semi picture-perfect domestic bliss. I cooked and cleaned; she walked the dog and brought the groceries. At the end of each day I would come home from work or class, drop my keys on the table by the door and go ‘Hey Hun how was your day?’

She picked me up from class whenever it was late; we would either listen to love lines on the radio or sing to what ever tape she had in the cassette player on our way back home as we chomped down chicken quesedias from Taco Bell. She was probably the only person I knew, that actually used a cassette player circa 2005. One day we spent hours store hopping around the city looking for a place that sold blank cassettes just so that she could make another one of those god damn mix-tapes that littered the dash board and floor of her old station wagon.
We spend hours being in the same room without saying a word to each other, blissfully occupied in our individual activities, but knowing and aware of each others presence and more importantly being comforted by it. There were no awkward silences between ‘N’ and me, just silences.

I am not ashamed to admit that she made me incredibly happy. We perfectly balanced each other out, my hyper, over-worked and over-anxious self needed someone laid back, happy and content like ‘N’ around to remind me of all the good things in life and once again be encompassed by a sense of quiet satisfaction for no apparent reason. She needed someone motivated and ambitious like me around to encourage her to push herself and always work towards doing better. How do I know this? Well, she told me so.

I would come back from my ballroom dancing class and try to teach her everything new that I had learnt. I would squirm and shriek every time she touched me because it would make me feel ticklish all over. We would giggle like school girls every time our breasts bounced off each other and almost never managed to finish the routine as we were both laughing so hard by then.

We bonded over books and movies and sometimes over common thoughts, ideals and dreams while we let life happen somewhere along the way. We cried together, laughed together, sang together, danced together and lived together, going through all of life’s great and not so great moments with each other somewhere in the vicinity willing to lend a helping shoulder if need be.
Every thing I wanted from my ideal relationship with a man, I got from my relationship with my roommate. Now only if we were attracted to each other or for that matter even the same sex, things would have been hypothetically perfect!

I have always wondered why is it so that the when two women become good friends, the bond that they might share with each other runs a lot deeper and stronger than what we may ever hope to share wit someone of the opposite sex. Is it solely because we happen to share the same gender and therefore by proxy the same organs and hormones that makes us tick, that we are inherently bound together and therefore capable of understanding each others needs and wants a lot better? I have never felt the level of comfort and ease that I had developed with ‘N’ around any of my previous boyfriends, not even the ones that I supposedly loved. Is this because when two women make a committed choice to indulge, include and incorporate each other into their individual lives they are much more willing and able to see the beauty and extraordinariness amongst the most banal and simplest of things?

I just got a really long email from her the other day filled with fond recollections that plastered a nice big smile on my face which was difficult to wipe off at least for a good few hours.
Why I reminisce about ‘N’ after a good two years since we went our separate ways? I don’t know, I just don’t think I need to have any logical and pragmatic reason fondly reflect upon the most sincere, honest, enriching relationship of my life, minus the earth shattering, toe curling sex of course.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Feels a Little bit like Stupidity

I have been absolutely insufferable lately. I have been mean, grumpy, angry, frustrated and hopelessly depressed. Yes, I admit I haven’t been good company. In fact, I have been absolutely intolerable. The worst part about being this way is to absolutely know how incredibly unfair you are to yourself and those around you, but yet be completely incapable of changing the way you think and feel. It’s a really frustrating, hopeless, lonely rut to be stuck in. I could easily blame my lack of amicability upon my hormones; yes to a certain degree they do hugely contribute to my volatile, tumultuous state of mind, but that would only partially be the truth. I have been generally cross with the world recently and most of it has been no ones fault but my own, I most certainly can’t blame it on my period. Sure I cannot control the way people act and behave, but it is certainly in my power to control the way I feel and react to things and it maddening to sometimes contemplate that this is the least I have control over.

My general frumpiness isn’t all a concoction of my overactive imagination. I have been genuinely sad and troubled; the worst part is my complete incapacity to discuss it with anyone, not even close friends and family. I perhaps unfairly and wrongly think that they don’t care enough or are simply incapable of understanding what I am going through. Yes, I know this might be unreasonable on my part, but I simply can’t stop feeling this way. I know the whole I am so alone, no one really gets me and the world is such a shitty place to live in bullshit is a little cliché and that I should have left my teenage angst behind a long time ago, exactly six years to be precise when I stopped being a teenager, but what the hell, I can label this my mid-life crisis and call it a day!

My dad passed away precisely six years and five days ago. I thought that things would get better with time, all wounds nicely healed and scabbed, but I guess in many ways it was some solid wishful thinking on my part. Some things never really become a distant, less painfully memory, even after all the time that has gone by. I would be lying and exaggerating if I said that my life came to a screeching a halt, a painful standstill and any other metaphors I can think off after my dad died. But with him I feel like I lost a little bit of myself too, that little something that I haven’t quiet managed to find yet. I wish I really knew what it was, things would be a lot easier if I did, all I feel time and again is this over whelming sense of loss, which no matter what I do never really seems to go away. Just when I think I am alright, I feel this crushing urge to just see him and be with him one more time, just so that I can ask him if I turned out alright. I know it’s a little sick to need this kind of validation, but when you are as confused and lost as I feel I am it’s comforting to know that you are on the right track, especially when nothing makes any sense at all. It is unbelievably painful to miss and want someone so terribly and know that they are really truly gone forever.

The gloom and doom of my father’s death anniversary and the subsequent onslaught of nostalgic recollection had made me less than friendly in the last couple of weeks. I use ‘had’ because I think I am slowly getting out of my funk, but in the process I have very successfully managed to alienate the people I care the most about. A lot of my friends have stopped calling me, just because I have been so damn difficult to deal with. Worst of all, I feel like I am growing further and further apart from my closest friend and this has been the hardest to deal with.

He was the one person I always looked forward to seeing, one I felt I could always count on, someone who got me, well at least a little. Now he is one I have successfully managed to push the furthest away. I know it’s no ones fault but my own, but it would be really, truly nice and comforting if just once he would pick up the phone and ask me if I was alright. Maybe with a little patience and perseverance cajole the truth out of me. We never spend time together anymore, not as a group, we do plenty of that, I’m talking about just him and me. Now every chance he gets he runs away, acting like my presence and company is the source of great annoyance, I really hate and resent that, only because I miss him so damn much. I know I am not fun and chirpy all the time, but to be abandoned by your closest friend at what seems like the most vulnerable time in your life, feels a little bit like betrayal.

A bunch of us were hanging out late last night and as usual the conversation took a serious turn. ‘T’ told me that I should really stop being so damn moral, judgmental and idealistic all the time. Apparently someone wise once said that ‘A high moral ground is a very lonely place.’ I forgot who it was. Yeah I guess I do agree, but I am also obstinate enough to think that what precious, few morals that I do have in possession are the guiding principals of my life and if I didn’t have them, I would be left with almost nothing. If it’s a choice between being alone and letting go of my ideals then I stubbornly choose to stick with my morality. Well at least for now anyway, when I feel like I am strong enough live with the consequences of my decision. They advised me time and again that I need to cut myself a slack and give the world a break. Don’t they think that I already know this? I mean pragmatically and logical it all makes absolute perfect sense, but making something that seems so simple into an actual living, breathing reality is a whole different ball game. Sweeping, life changes don’t really happen over night.

I am probably the stupidest human being on the planet. I am stupid because I realize that I am doing idiotic things and yet continue to do them because all I have is my idiocy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Does it all End so Quickly?

It’s really frustrating and infuriating to see how people give up so incredibly easily, especially about the things they care the most about. I had mentioned in my last post that it is easy to be in a relationship once you have found the one that seems almost right, either by sheer miracle or an incredible stroke of luck. I guess I might just be very wrong about this one, although it’s not really the first time I have completed miscalculated things, as I grow older significant revelations like these make life a tad bit more disconcerting . It’s incredibly frustrating to think that the values, ideals and morals that you have based your whole life upon might just be an antiquated system of thought. Maybe I am stupid and naïve enough to feel that forever and ever might not be such an intangible concept, but as time passes, at every nook and bend I see relationships slowly crumbling away and subsequently with it the people involved.

It fills me with immense sadness and anger to look around and observe that people who claim to be so passionately in love with each other, give up so easily at the slightly sign of trouble and upheaval. I happen to be lucky enough to enjoy an extremely amicable, open and honest relationship with my mother. Although I don’t divulge every single relevant or irrelevant detail of my life to her, over time, we have grown to love, respect and understand each other us adults, with our own set of distinct belief’s that govern our lives and at least be respectful enough to hear each other out, even though sometimes we may not agree at all.

We have spend a lot of time talking about different things over the course of the last two years, in many ways it’s comforting and relieving to know that at the end of the day, when there really is something that truly bothers me and if I am looking for a different perspective and insight I can always go and talk to her. I am filled with immense relief whenever I unburden myself to her, she doesn’t always understand every thought I propose, but that’s secondary, it’s cathartic to talk to her. As independent, forward thinking and liberated I might think and say I am, at the end of the day, I am glad to admit that I find a lot of wisdom in many of the things she says.

A lot of our conversations revolve around the evolution of relationships, be it people specific or a massive generalization on the state of things. We are well above and beyond the rigid confines of the parent-child relationship where the discussion of boyfriends, girlfriends and sex is a taboo or a source of immense awkwardness. With that out of the way, it is much easier to talk about most things. I may not feel comfortable enough to spill the beans on all scandalous, salacious details, but what is important and truly matters I can share with ease and that’s what’s important I suppose.

I have been sad and upset for the last couple of days, every one seems to be falling apart piece by piece and the air reeks with the melancholy born out of the rancor of broken promises. I hate the idea of impermenance, I know that absolutely nothing in life will ever remain the same, in spite of my weak and futile resistance, whether I choose to accept or not, people and the circumstance that they are tied into will evolve over time. Logically all this makes perfect sense, yet on a very personal level I have grown to resent this in more ways than one. I often feel like sometimes people use impermanence as an excuse to get out of a maddening, uncomfortable, difficult, miserable situations without even so much as a feeble attempt to make things right.
Sometimes I really wonder what is wrong with us. What is so terribly wrong with me? My gigantic relationship phobia and subsequent paranoia aside, I really do feel like as a generation we have somehow missed the all important vital lessons on perseverance, understanding, compromise, patience and forgiveness that we could have learnt through mere observation.

Realistically we all know that every relationship that we enter in is bound to hit troubled waters at some point. Yet as soon as we reach that rough patch, instead of working together as a team and navigating it in the right directions, we flail our arms, throw a fit and abandon ship! We frantically swim for a while; cursing and yelling until we are spotted by the nearest life boat (my metaphor for a rebound fling) which takes us to the next safe destination and like a self-fulfilling prophesy the pattern repeats itself. Dock, descent, wait and then get onboard the next attractive liner that offers the best destination.

I am not saying that people should stay together and be miserable in abusive relationships, far from it; in fact such situations warrant strict separation and ultimate abandonment, but to end a relationship that was supposedly based on the foundation of trust, love and commitment for small, frugal, insignificant trivialities is really, selfish and unfair.

Mom tells me time and again that we as a generation have either forgotten or never quite learnt how to love. Although on principle I am forced to defend me and my kind, I can’t help but ponder upon the significance of those words and maybe even see a certain truth in it. To describe love as an expression is to diminish its importance gravely humiliate it. Love for me is a verb; it is a live, tangible, action that binds two people together, not some metaphor, adjective or word which seems almost fickle.

I may be idealistic, but I certainly don’t feel like I am unrealistic. My observations and derivations come from having front row seats to the spectacle called my parents marriage. Maybe because they had such a stellar- relationship- so imperfect and humane, fraught with unhappiness and hardships, misery and regret that it some how made them stronger and learn to appreciate what truly mattered and ultimately hone their skills at loving and persevering. My parents didn’t stick it out till the very end out of compulsion or apathy either, that would be my uncle and aunt’s genuinely terrible marriage, where they stopped caring so entirely about each other that even getting a divorce seemed like too much trouble. No, my parents for all their imperfections, insecurities and hassles (and believe me they had a lot of those) genuinely loved each other wanted their marriage to work. With time, effort, infinite patience, and understanding and in due course of time they were lucky enough to share a warm, amicable, truly tender relationship. I wistfully and desperately hope to one day share kind of relationship that my parents had with someone else. But every where I look and see, all I observe is callousness, insensitivity and a general decease in patience and understanding. I know times have changed and the world that I inhabit in is driven at an incredibly maddening pace which tests the best of souls. But the world that I live in also houses the people of my parents generations and if they have managed to some what successfully preserve and cherish what’s important, is it so damn difficult for me?

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Politics of Attraction

What amazes me the most amongst many, many things that fascinate and amuse me in life is what really attracts people. I am not taking about being fascinated and allured by the blinding glitz and dazzle of different products available in the market like shiny shoes or pretty dresses. Although they are most lovely and tempt me time and again to spend the money that I don’t have, on things that I don’t really need, they aren’t all that important in the grand scheme of things or so it seems. I am not talking about being drawn to a shiny coin glistening in the sunlight, long forgotten my some absent minded soul as he bustles around the city either. Draw to material things is all well and good I suppose, in a critical, pragmatic frame of mind, all these things are quite necessary to make the wheels of life turn, even if it maybe in a long drawn out, screeching tone that makes the scant hair on my forearms curl in annoyance. No what I am really, really mystified and stupefied by, is what really attracts people to each other.

I happen to be lucky enough to have a somewhat versatile group of friends, some in remotely healthy relationships, hopelessly trying to figure each other out and make things work in this worst possible scenario called life. The rest of us, like me are single, somewhat hoping and wishing and maybe even secretly praying that somewhere in the near future we could do the same as well, while mulling, groaning and complaining about how damn difficult relationships can be, but almost in a good natured way, glad to have someone out there infinitely patient to deal with our eccentricities. And yes, the sex is a nice little add on as well. After all at the end of the day, what healthy, some what remotely sane or for that matter even insane human being doesn’t want to get some?

This is all well and good I suppose, this is the easy part, I think. Maybe I am wrong, but I personally don’t feel being in a relationship is all that hard. Sure, sure it isn’t all that easy to incorporate someone else into your life, to share somewhat of a common existence, make sweeping changes to ones lifestyle and worst of all too actually grow to like and get along with each others friends. That’s always been the hardest for me. But really at the end of the day, when someone really matters to you that much, you are most willing to do all that it takes to make the relationship work, all doubts and insecurities pushed at the bottom of the bin and all flaws and imperfections ignored, even if it is for the time being. Bravo! This is all well and good, and this is how it really should be, or so I feel. Most people who are actually committed to each other in any way, shape or form do want a happy, functional, semi-normal relationship; hence they go the extra mile and a half. This is the easy part.

The hard part is to actually be successfully in finding this person you are willing to do all these things for. Here is where the complication likes and the politics of attraction begins. I have been single for a little over a year and willingly or unwillingly (I have truly forgotten which one it was, at first it was choice, followed by complacency, then apathy and gradually hopelessness) celibate for over nine months. Everywhere I look, see and observe there are men around me in all shapes, sizes and colors. I am intensely fascinated at knowing really what it is that attracts them to the opposite sex and willing makes them risk the possibility of ego-shattering humiliation, just so that they can go the extra mile and a half with someone. Here’s where I am stumped. Every time, okay that’s an exaggeration, many time when I am at a bar or a pub, I have made eye contact with someone throughout the course of the night that looks somewhat appealing, I am not overtly flirtatious, actually I am painfully shy at most times. I frown more than smile and talking to a stranger at the bar is completely out of character for me. I am usually happy sipping my drink in the corner and brooding away or exchanging playful banter with my select group of friends. I haven’t had a single successful bar story to narrate since I have moved to Bombay. I know partially it may almost be my fault, I could stop being so painfully arrogant and unapproachable, but what about the role of the other part in the picture? Don’t they have an important part to play as well to make this truly magical, movie moment? I guess not since it hasn’t really happened yet. Does it bother me and make me feel less unattractive, unappealing and uninteresting? Of course it does, I am the poster child for 20 something female insecurity. Do I regularly need validation? Yes, all the times. Am I ashamed of it? Sure am.

I have a lot of single male friends (this is almost like the male equivalent of always the bridesmaid never the bride, except with guys it’s always the friend but never the girlfriend) these boys go to bars and spend hours and hours checking out these so called ‘hot’ women, guzzling one drink after another and salivating at the very sight of them. I can almost understand it (okay, well not really) and even almost ignore it, but when it comes to relationships, they go for the completely opposite! And I am not talking about some what pretty, average everything, blink and miss in the crowd, girl next door types. I am talking about downright unattractive, (being ugly is excusable of course, after all the way we look is not really in our hands) foul mouthed, foul tempered, foul everything types!!

I think to myself, what the hell?! What is he thinking?! Hell, I am so much better than her! Really? HER?! HER?!!! I try to like this girlfriend of his, thrust into my life without even so much as a slight warning. But I secretly resent her, while putting up a brave front, smiling as I go though one painfully long excursion after the another, wistfully hoping that he will see the light of the day soon enough and dump her!

Of course I am jealous and bitter and a tad bit resentful. It’s natural to feel this way when every where you look slowly but surely, one after the other, all your friends are finding relationship bliss where as you are stuck in a rut that seems to have no end in sight. As lovely as your friends are and as much at the try to incorporate you into their new relationship, being the third or the fifth wheel doesn’t feel so hot.
My insecurities and jealousies aside, my view was totally validated the other day by a guy friend. (I have often felt terribly guilty for thinking such awful things about people I barely know. I know it’s downright hateful and childish to form such harsh judgments about someone and deem them less worthy and deserving of things that I don’t have because I can be a mad, hateful, jealous lunatic!) But then my friend said the things that he did and it made stop and contemplate over the complexity and messiness of it all. All of a sudden I didn’t feel like the rotten apple in the basket, I almost smiled in relief.

We were hanging out at someone’s house as usual, drinking late into the night, when someone broached the topic of ‘R’s’ girlfriend. Men can be quite nasty in the company of other men and well some times other women too. Someone mentioned how she looked like a witch with long black hair, sunken eyes and a hooked nose.
To this R replied, “Yeah, she was ugly, poor girl, I had no option, I had to fuck her.”

So are people really getting in relationships whether sexual or otherwise because they feel sorry for each other?! When did I miss the memo?

It’s not just him, its other people I know as well, another friend of mine who can’t stop ogling after model, actress types that infest Zenzi, but dated a 30 something obese women with braces. I have no problem with anyone dating anyone, seriously. Everyone needs a little love, I need some too. I just don’t understand this twisted fascination with the opposite ends of the spectrum. How and why does the insatiable lust for something truly awe inspiring manifests into something that is so incredibly hideous? It’s not the people that I am speaking of here; it’s the attitude and the thought behind it all, which I find revolting. When did average become so unappealing and unattractive? What’s an average person like me to do in a town which is so fascinated with extremes? Is there any peace and salvation for me and millions of women like me that tether on the brink of mediocrity day in and day out?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

When memories beckon

I haven’t blogged in a really long time; well there is a reason for it. For a while everything seemed to have lost its significance and time and again I wondered why. It’s not like I didn’t have anything to write about well I did, a lot, but nothing truly, really mattered anymore. I hate when I get into one of these ‘life doesn’t make any sense, what’s the point of it all?!’ phases in my life. It leads to more complacency than I want and have bargained for. I slowly but surely seep into a personal hell hole where all my dreams, thoughts, contemplations and musings lead to an utmost state of self-pity followed by deep personal loathing for daring to once again go into the same mental and emotional state that I told myself time and again I will not go into.
A semi-famous friend once wrote that every day she wakes up in the morning hoping, wishing and praying that something truly wonderful and magical would invade her world, opening a chasm of never ending delightful possibilities, making life once again truly worth living, but shit nothing really ever happens, then you crawl into bed at the end of exhausting day filled with the same monotony that make it well just that, another exhausting day, bitterly disappointed, sad and well alone.
The loneliness sadly doesn’t bother me anymore, I take solace and comfort in it, and I have managed to make a demon into a friend. Only in my weakest moments to I really truly wistfully and desperately long for the warmth and comfort of someone else, not friends and mates and people that understand and get me, well thank God I at least I have that much, which I am most eternally grateful for, no I am talking about the innate knowledge that at the end of the day, in spite of all my eccentricities and imperfections there is someone waiting for me curled up under the sheets warm and welcoming, who loves me anyways, just for who I am. I miss that feeling of belonging for better or for worse, I am okay most of the time, but sometimes in this crazy, awful, wonderful, mad, fast-paced city, when I catch a small glimpse of the things that I secretly long for, I can’t but help but feel both wonderful and terribly sad. Everywhere I look around me, there is a great sadness, none the less, it isn’t all despair, tears and sorrow, this I am most certain off. Every once in a while I catch that small glimpse of hope, whether it is a middle aged couple, harrowed and harassed by the burdens of matrimony and parenthood sharing an all knowing, warm and cherishing smile as the cart their noisy annoying spawns into an auto or a young couple lip-locked in a passionate embrace in a club somewhere, that’s when I know, that well shit, there is love, somewhere.
I’m twenty four years old, yes I turned a year older almost two months ago, yes I suppose you could have called it a significant moment of my life, except the fact that there was nothing significant about it, I had a grand boozed out weekend with close friends, followed by a quick, wild, again boozed filled trip to Goa, but all of it seems so far away now, locked in some unknown memory bank in the recesses of my mind, waiting for me to reminisce fondly on some latter day, while I work on creating new memories. I know that I shall look back upon it fondly, as I do often of the great wonderful memories that I have stored, on the darkest of days, while I desperately work on creating many such fond moments that will comfort me through lives many tumultuous times ahead.
Memories are really truly a wonderful entity; they probably are in my top five favorite things in life. They remind of the great times gone by, which are important, but more importantly, they remind me of the person that I was, what I was capable of and of who I am. They reassure me of things that I may or may not have forgotten about myself in my crazy attempt to just be and also of the truth that nothing ever will be the same anymore. Things always change, they will, they must, they have to and I must learn to accept it, even if it well hurts a lot.
My best friend from high-school moved back to Bombay at the beginning of the week, I have seen her for all of twenty minutes for a quick snack at a cheap fast-food restaurant, which later gave me a stomach ache. Between her trips to the doctor and mother care and my erratic work schedule we have found very little time for each other. I could have called her over the long holiday weekend, but somehow I just couldn’t get myself to reach for the phone and press ‘Call’. The life that we once shared has become a memory of the past and it depresses me to no end. All the crazy promises that we once made to each other as young wide eyed girls seem just that, promises. Life worked out so differently for us, it’s not suppose to be this way I thought to myself, what happened to always being there for each other and being a significant part of each other existence and that solitary moment on Carter Road all those years ago where we promised to each other that we will let nothing get in between us ever? Now I desperately try to understand her but I can’t, our existences are so vastly different; I don’t know what it’s like to have a husband that is alone back in some alien country, while she is here scared shit-less about having a baby. I just feel like I missed that train a long time ago. This is not how things are suppose to work out, what happened to all those promises that we had made to each other? How we would get married together someday, preferably in the same alter, how our gorgeous children would someday fall desperately, madly in love with each other and we would become sisters by marriage. We shared the most significant moments of our youth we each other, she was the first person that I called when I got my shiny new bicycle on my twelfth birthday that I so desperately wanted. The first person I confessed to about how madly I was in love with ‘H’ when I was sixteen and how bitterly disappointed I was when my first real kiss, with my first real boyfriend was so, well wet and clammy.
I helped her buy candles when she decided it was time she lost her virginity, we poured over the Kamasutra together turning to left, right, up and down figuring out what the hell they were really doing, giggling endlessly like the little school girls we were, while we ignored the stern disapproving looks for the adults in the store. I was the first person she called when things didn’t go according to how we had both imagined it would be and sex was then well just that, sex.
We easily assimilated each others experiences into our own sphere of knowledge, learning and vicariously living through each other, promising and knowing that this is how it would always be, until now. Why is it so difficult for us to share the most significant moment of our adulthood, just like we once did as children? Are we oh, so different right now as we once were, and will our friendship be stored in the back of my mind someday, in the memory box labeled ‘X-my best friend from high school’ its importance faded with time?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Ode to the Spirit of Love

In our search and quest for meaning and affirmation we often look so far ahead that we forget to have a closer look at what lies around us. It has been my experience that courage, magnificence, beauty, strength and love, which we all so desperately seek is just around the corner, we just forget to observe what lies the closest in our belief that the exotic and the eternal lies in a place unknown to us, beyond our grasp.
I always felt that idea of eternal love, that epic romance, which servers as an inspiration to one and all has been lost in the annals of time, unknown to modern civilization. We all lament about it, cry, bitch and moan of how it eludes us as a generation caught up in our pursuit for material possession and self-indulgent gratification, well at least I know I do, we seek to vicariously live a small piece of it, in the reassess of our imagination, through film and literature, yet I have only just realized that ‘love’ may not after all be such a fictional entity.
Even though we might fail to see and recognize it, the ordinary men and women that we ignore for their plainness and mediocrity carry forth this flame of eternal love and carefully and tenderly spread it around, to their children, their friends, colleagues and sometimes even perfect strangers. If just for once we can push aside our ignorance and just learn to listen, we might just realize that there is still hope, everywhere.
I stepped out of the train at Matunga station at around 10.20 am. I was later than usual; well this has sort of turned into a nasty habit lately that I must get rid off soon. I love traveling by train, on most good days, encountering something amusing, unexpected and engaging becomes its highlight. I absolutely love observing the various species of human beings that share the crowded Mumbai public transportation system with me. I was never much of a TV watcher, with the exception of a random craving for something funny or dramatic every once in a while, for the most part I have been pretty detached from the idiot box. Amazingly enough, I have now completely lost the occasional longing for mindless mass entertainment ever since I moved to Mumbai and started traveling by train! Seriously, who needs a TV set when all the ingredients for great entertainment are around you! Bombay and its over crowed public transportation system has become my window of entertainment!
Yeah so anyways, I have this tendency of going off into these random tangents and completely postponing the point that I am trying to make. It was a scalding day and I was late for work. I was sweating profusely in the oppressive heat. (Seriously, I think I sweat more than anyone that I know and have ever seen. I have observed women looking their freshest and prettiest, with incredible Zen like expressions lining their faces in the midst of the Bombay heat while the sweat on my countenance glistens like hot oil sputtering on a frying fan.)
My head was stuck in my book. (I cherished my last few moments of literary gratification as I marched along the platform towards the exit, expertly avoiding all possible occurrences of a collision between myself and some unsuspecting stranger.)
“You shouldn’t do that you know.” I heard someone whisper really close to my ear.
I turned around some what startled, it was “A” one of the senior managers at work. Oh great, now I have to walk with him and make small talk along the way, I groaned a little within.
I am painfully shy when it comes to having a friendly chat with most people I work with. I mostly speak when I feel there is a purpose I need to interject. I suck at small talk, it gives me a headache.
A friendly, nonchalant chat about the weather and all things meaningless isn’t really my cup of tea. I really envy the people that do manage it, getting friendly and comfy with the senior members of an organization never really hurt anyone. I wish I can do it with the ease and grace that some people manage to pull it off with.
So yeah, “A” and I were walking to the office, luckily I didn’t really need to say much, God bless his talkative soul. I don’t exactly remember how it started; I think I wasn’t even really paying too much attention to what he was saying. Suddenly, somehow the conversation veered towards his family. “A” is not a young man by anybodies standards. For someone who is fairly middle-aged, his son is awfully little. Now I can understand that this is not all that exceptional in this day and age, but some 20 odd years ago, getting married or having children in your late 30’s was unheard of.
“We had an inter-caste marriage, my wife is Hindu, we ran away from home. It was utter chaos in the beginning. We lived in fear for a long time. There were death threats and police complaints. All we had was each other and the clothes on our back.”
“A” straightened his shirt cuff as he went on reminiscing.
“She use to live in my colony, back in the day, we had the scoop on all the girls that lived in the neighborhood. It was something we were utterly proud of, me and my friends. She was the only one that I didn’t know, although her family stayed there, she had mostly grown up at her grandmothers house. I was completely awestruck when I first saw her, who is that girl? I asked my friend.”
“A” said that it was love at first sight. He knew that their union would never be accepted by those around them. A country that has been plagued and tortured by the ugly shadow of religious hatred would never let a Muslim man and a Hindu woman come together.
In an essentially secular country, religion has been the point of contention that has divided people, generation after generation. The passion and fervor of religious fundamentalism has turned men and women against each other, making them forget all empathy that they might share amongst themselves.
In spite of these seemingly impossible circumstances, here they are some twenty years later sharing a life together.
“It was a while before we had our son, having absolutely nothing in our pockets made it difficult to have a child. No complains, we are very happy.”
By then we had reached the office entrance and went our separate ways. I was completely awed by “A’s” story, in this crazy eccentric world that we live in love might just conquer it all. Well at least for this one lucky couple anyways.

More to follow…

Monday, May 19, 2008

Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan Part I

Just this one time, I would like to completely dedicate this blog post to something other than well…me. So much has happened in so little time, my mind stands boggled at the mechanics of this city. What really drives it? What makes it tick? What strange, bizarre path are we all trudging along at our pace? Life is beautiful, sounds like a cliché, but I know for a fact that this is true. Bombay is a fantastic place, in spite of all the bullshit that irritates me and bogs me down time and again, The crap, stink and filth that pollutes my life and makes me want to run away to some distant corner of the world, to get away from it all once and for all, it is ultimately the people here that make it truly, truly incredible, they make Bombay a place worth living. I finally feel like I belong here, for better or for worse. Every familiar corner that I turn to, stirs a powerful memory that fills my soul with an unexplainable sense of fulfillment that no other place has ever provided. I have finally realized that I am utterly in love with this city. My love maybe imperfect and humane but it is pure in it’s though and emotion.
. The vast arrays of experiences that this city has thrown my way are unique in their disparity, perhaps only possible to encounter here. Ultimately it is the people and their spirit that makes this city what it is, I hope wish and pray with all my heart that this never ever changes. Without its people a place is just that, a place, a mass of land, a geographic entity without an identity of its own. It is the people of Bombay that make it what it is.
The other day I taking the train to work, it was hot and sticky; I was uncomfortable in the heat and cringed in agony. I boarded the first class compartment as usual, a small luxury I allow myself, in spite of the fact that I only ride it for two stops. The morning was like many others, the air was thick with humidity and foul smells, and it was hard to breath. I always stand by the door whenever I can; I prefer it to sitting in a congested compartment. I was quietly reading my book and whiling away time, the train slowly left the platform at its own leisure pace, just when it was about to pick up some pace a little girl not more than seven or eight jumped in unexpectedly. Her clothes were stained and a little tattered but she seemed oblivious to this, her baldhead glistened with little droplets of unshed sweat. I was instantly jealous; I wish I had the courage to shave my head to get away from the unbearable warmth. Trust me, having ridiculously long; curly hair is a real pain in the summer. My wild mane, gathered in an untidy bun at the top of my head was a real contract to hair free existence. She gave me a small smile, almost acknowledging my awe at her boldness as she firmly tucked her black dupatta into the waistband of her pants. Somewhere along the way, in a quick, swift, precise movement she unfurled the black cloth upon her undeveloped breasts to hide her modesty. I watched a little amused. I remember vaguely what it was like to be eight once. The thought that someone could leach at my femininity, which was still in construction, never once occurred to me at that age. I wondered that instance, what kind of life she must me leading, to be so clearly aware of all the vile, predatory influences that harbor in this city.
Before I could even finish my thought, the little bald girl started singly loudly. Normally this would be nothing out of the ordinary, lots of people sing on trains. I catch myself humming a popular tune every once in a while too. It wasn’t the fact that she was singing, but her choice of song that was so damn odd.
“Nayak, nahi, Khalnayak hai tu, zulmi bada dukh dayak hai tu.” You are not a hero but a villain; you torment me and cause me great pain.
“Iss Pyar ki, thujako kya khabar, iss payar ke kaha layak hai tu.” You are unaware of my love for you; you deserve none of it anyways.
My eyes immediately shot up from my magazine; it was indeed an odd choice of song for a little girl. Not just because it was a tormented woman expressing her love and pain for a treacherous man that is truly unworthy of it, but also because this song is way, way before her time.
To be fair, this was quite a popular tune in the early nineties, when the movie first came out. I may have been ten or eleven when it bombarded the nation and cause mass hysteria and equal outrage. I’m almost 24 now, somewhere along the way its significance had faded with the passage of time and lost in the annals of cinematic history, until now, when it was resurrected in my memory by this little girl.
I immediately wondered where she had heard it and what could have possibly caused her to musically lament about the agony of a doomed love. What had this little eight year old seen and heard in her own brief life that had caused her sing this particular number as she dangerously hung from the open doorway, ignoring our warning about oncoming trains.
“Choli, ke piche kya hai, chunri ke niche kya hai.” What is behind my blouse? What lies hidden underneath this cover that conceals my ripe breasts?
“Choli me dil hai mera, chunri me dil he mera, yeh dil meh dungi mera yar ko, pyar ko.” My heart lies hidden underneath my blouse and cover. I shall only give it away to my aficionado whom I love.
The song remains etched in my memory, I slightly imitated the gyrating hip movements made immortal by the lovely Ms. Dikshit, “The Original Queen of Bollywood”. By then we were all engrossed in the enthusiastic performance. Some
even participated a little. A small encouraging smile, a look of nostalgia at the thought of a skimpily clad MD expertly swinging her nimble hips and a hum here and there is all she needed to continue with great gusto.

Her arms curled into a perfect arch when perched on her hips. They swung back and forth as she thrust her non-existent breasts forward and backwards in tune to the beat of the song. The unmelodious voice rose to a crescendo as it reverberated through the train compartment. We all looked a little embarrassed and dazed at this spectacle. Both these songs that originated in the same film dare to explore the idea of a woman consumed by passion confessing her love and desire for intimacy with her lover. She knows that he is far from perfect and all that might ever come her way at the end of it all is never ending heartbreak, yet she is willing to risk it all, just for that one, small, brief, moment of true happiness, even if it means a life time of sorrow ahead.
Aren’t we all in some ways a reflection of this woman who is willing to sacrifice a life of mediocrity and normalcy for that one single, moment of undying fervor that will awaken our spirit forever? Why then is it that we are willing to suppress our hearts great desire or even remotely acknowledge its existence in the name of false modesty?
Why did I need this little girl on the train, who may or may not even fully comprehend the meaning of her words, to stir my soul and awaken my ardor?
She may never read this, but I would like to whole heartedly thank her for making me realize that although my heart might have been broken before, there is still some room, somewhere in there for love, to let it consume me, once again, irrespective of the consequences.
(Next chronicle to come soon.)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Lady Bombay

I’m so thoroughly bored of Bombay; it makes my head spin and my limbs numb with exhaustion. They call this the city of dreams, a place brimming with excitement and adventure that will constantly keep you on your toes and keep you guessing. What total utter rubbish! I have been back for a little over six months and the memorable moments have been few and far in between. The most exciting that has happened to me since I have gotten back is sharing a cab ride with a transsexual hooker in Colaba; in retrospect it wasn’t all that exhilarating either. Thanks to her, I now understand the small shady alley’s of South Bombay with a lot more intimacy and depth, which I lacked before, but to be honest, I was too damn chicken shit to actually utilize the moment to its full potential. I was so damn freaked out; I hunched low in my seat and tried to disappear into the seat cushions as the rather fetching transsexual openly and unabashedly trolled for customers, staring into cabs and peeking at dilapidated hotels. I was so afraid of being recognized, like anyone one would really even know who I am? I had been in the country for less than two months, a different picture from my childhood days. I should have played along and let my curiosity take over, after all it’s not like everyday that I get to share cabs with prostitutes. She looked so fetching, with shapely ankles and long muscular legs. Her straight, silky, brown wig sure had me fooled for a while. She looked like a polished, young urbanite ready to have a good time on a Friday. I guess I should have paid more attention and noted that there was something awkward about her gait; she was uncomfortable in her ultra tight skirt that clung to her legs like second skin. She pulled it down at least twice in the short distance from the station to the cab. For an unguarded second or two she even dared to swallow, her bobbing Adam’s apple giving away her secret, it was a hot sticky evening, I’m sure her throat must have been parched with thirst, I know mine was.
I was completely fascinated, totally in awe of this might magnificent creature. My right hand shook with nervous excitement, it always does when I am thrilled. To me,
she was like a character that had stepped out of the pages of “Maximum City”, a miniscule part of the large, undignified so called underbelly of this gigantic city. She lived a dangerous, seductive, gripping life, amongst the pimps and the hookers and the druggies, the men and women that inhabit the streets of Bombay after they are abandoned by the civilized world. She lived a life that I wasn’t born into, a life that I had only experienced through books and movies. My middle class, suburban, Maharastrian upbringing has kept me somewhat sheltered from some of the harsher realities of life and this city.
For all the talk about crime, gangs, underworld, drugs, whores, pimps, cops, rapes and murders that is associated with this city, in all my years of living here I hadn’t met a single one of them…until now. Not that they didn’t exist, they are very much a part of the same city that I inhabit, breathing the very same air that I do, most probably drinking the very same germ infested municipality water, which I meticulously boil every morning, but for obvious reasons, under the very same smog polluted Bombay sky, we live such different lives that our paths never ever crossed.
In spite of the odds being against us ever meeting, here we were traveling in the same cab, to almost the same distance, but for very different reasons. I wanted to strike up a conversation, yet no words escaped my throat. For the first time in my life I felt truly intimidated by a person that was oblivious to my presence. She obviously had more pressing issues on her mind. My hunched, nervous self in the back seat held very little significance to her, I was just another unidentifiable face, which makes up this city that she would forget all too soon. To me she was Lady Bombay, grandiose and powerful cascading with sadness and neglect, at the brink of deterioration. This is what I had returned for.
In a diverse and varied city like Bombay, if one is thirsting for interesting encounters and reminiscing about long cab rides with transvestites four months later, you know there is a problem. Maybe I am just not all that fun, adventurous or interesting or maybe it is so that fun and adventure eludes me like the bubonic plague, whatever maybe the case, my mind is absolutely numb with boredom. People are just not built for stagnation, well not me anyway. This whole nine to five crap job, crap home, crap food, crap friends and crap relationships may actually appeal to someone but not me. I want to live a whirlwind life where one moment vastly differs from the next, providing a fresh perspective on the most mundane things. May I never, ever loose the power to see life just a little crocked, this I sincerely pray for?
Sometimes it is hard to see things skewed when everything is so damn straight around you. I wonder when my next, big adventure will begin, when Lady Bombay will once again shower upon me the blessing of an unexpected encounter, and well minus the fat cab fare.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

At the brink...

A lot can happen over a short period of time, the clock ticks at its own leisurely pace, making you ache with untold agony for a moment far better than today and yet the cruel hands of the chiming time-piece work at its own accord. You spend each day in humdrum monotony and yet before you know it a long span has passed before you, unknown to your conscious mind. You are somehow in the same place where you first started your frustrated contemplation, yet so much has changed, something’s more subtle than the rest, others enter your life like a force to reckon with.
I have been insanely busy with work, for the first time in a long time; I am actually satisfied in more ways than one. One of my life long dreams may just shape into a lucid reality and I am absolutely stunned and awed at my good fortune. I know that people actively work long and hard to get to a place that I am at. Every conscious moment and effort single handedly focused on his or her dreams and aspirations. I am not strong enough to possess that fierce determination, in fact I am rather frightened to exhibit or even contemplate such fervor. I float in an out of my dreams and nightmares, often lost in thought, spinning tales of a glorious satisfied existence, yet too weak to make it a stark reality. Yet here I am, at this very moment, at brink of a fantastic break that other would kill for. It almost seems unfair to those poor bastards that have tried so hard and yet struggle incessantly. I almost feel like I am unworthy of it, that the success and satisfaction that may come my way at the end of it all seems undeserved. I want to run away from it all, give up mid-way for a continued existence of mediocrity, believing that I don’t deserve better, yet every cell of my being throbs for it.
Although the opportunity was unexpected, I have struggled with it, spending every waking moment shaping a tale that may metamorphoses into a spectacle that may bring unfathomable joy or great shame. Right now I almost disregard the consequences of my actions, they almost seem irrelevant, the process excites it, it gives me the confidence that I have lacked for a while. I know for sure, that I am capable nurturing my desire for story telling, whether it is something that the whole world may marvel some day, or a few indistinct scrawls that may remain hidden in an aging note book away from prying eyes of the world is secondary. I have the capacity to write, that’s good enough for me, at least for now.
Maybe one of the reasons I am so afraid is somewhere deep down within I feel like I don’t really deserve to be happy. Be it love, life or career. I have enough skeletons hidden in my closet that make me shudder in my quietest moments. Acts of intolerable cruelty exhibited on my part under a façade of goodness. For all my lack of faith in God and the universe, I am a firm believer in Karma. Whatever I do be it good or bad is going to affect my existence, in this life. I fear that I have cashed out on my karmic balance and all that remains ahead is great darkness. Every time I close my eyes I can almost imagine being alone forever, it’s frightening and yet somehow comfortable, it’s as if I have almost accepted its inevitability. It’s my punishment for abandoning dad when he got sick, instead of sitting by his bedside and comforting him in his moments of excruciating pain, I selfishly ran away in the arms of “H” to seek my own solace and peace, unsuccessfully. At the end of it all, I managed to ruin two relationships, one that mattered the most and the other that mattered significantly. I was so caught up in my own grief and misery that I failed to notice the misery that I had caused to those around me. Mom was at her bravest, never giving up hope, doing the best that she could to keep him alive, I did not contribute one bit to ease her suffering. I don’t even know what “Mits” was going through, I never bothered to ask, I always thought she was too young to fully comprehend that her father was slowly dying. After all she was only 12, do children really understand these things at such a tender age? I wouldn’t know, I honestly can’t remember what it were like to be 12 once. I was so glad when he moved in with grandma; it was a relief not to have him around all the time, always so angry and melancholy. I was guilty at my relief but glad he was out of sight, yet he always lingered in my mind, still does, after all these years.
I wasn’t there when he died, college has whisked me away to America, I remember walking into my dorm after my uncle gave me the news, I forced a few tears out of me, it seemed like the right thing to do. I felt hollow and empty; my roommate “L” gazed at my ashen face and immediately knew something was wrong; I shed a few more tears as I told her the news. We went to Joe’s room to seek distraction; I stayed for a while but couldn’t sit around for long. I stumbled to the swing outside Adam tower and sat there for a long time, slightly swinging back and forth, my mind completely numb. I walked to the library around midnight, the campus was deserted, I stood in front of the giant gothic entrance admiring the magnificence of its structure in the hue of the tungsten lights. I crawled into bed fifteen minutes later, after setting my alarm clock for my seven thirty class. It was the longest walk that I have ever taken in my life.
I don’t think I ever properly grieved for my father, yet I grieve for him every single day. When I sit across a cute guy at the café, I turn the other way because I don’t feel like I deserve to be attractive to someone else, when I fail to peruse the men that show interest because I don’t think I deserve to ever be loved, when I occasionally kiss my best friend who does not love me, I feel like unrequited love is all I should ever get, when I loose a job or an assignment and meet with failure professionally I almost see it as divine justice. Sometimes I wish so desperately to have just a few more moments with him, just so that I could tell him how much I love him and how incredibly sorry I am.
When I occasionally hear stories of how miserable he was with grandma how she slowly but surely zapped his morale and will to live, I simmer with anger, yet back then I didn’t so much as bat an eyelash in question or protest when he left, relieved that he was out of here.
I am so damn close to almost getting what I want; I am scared that things will fuck up because of my past mistakes, I will once again be punished for my cruelty.
I wish so desperately to know that I am forgiven, that he still loves me, that I deserve all the happiness and success in spite of the errors of my ways, a few answers that I will never get.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

When the lights come on...

Last night, I was hanging out with a bunch of girlfriends at the bar. I had originally planned on spending the evening reading a book or maybe watching one of the DVD’s that have been vying for my attention for sometime now. I miss watching films as much as I did in the past. When I was living in New York, I would go to the movies at least two or three times a week, preferring to spend my evenings in a darkened theater, hunched low in the plush, soft, seat, loosing myself in the mesmerizing adventures of someone else. Forgetting my own reality for a moment, living someone elses instead.
An uneasiness stirs my soul, it a mixture of anxiety and excitement that titillates my senses. An unexplainable feeling, both intuitive and strong, I sense a change of pattern to occur in my humdrum universe in a monumental way. I don't how this will happen, but just like the movies, something fantasic and unpredictable will eventually come my way, knocking me out of my senses and culminating into an explosive finale.
I often get the feeling that I have been wasting my life for the last months. Uninspired, afraid, complaisant and apathetic, I have ignored time and again the burst of creative yearning that intoxicates my senses. I ache with the desire to create something extraordinary from the most mundane of things that encompass this life. One of the reasons I have been so incredibly unhappy and unsatisfied is because everywhere I look, I see a story that I can narrate through an image or a verse and time and again, I walk by, turning a blind eye to the magnificence of the ordinary.
One of the reasons why cinema fascinates me so is because often it is the reflection of the simplest moments in life told with great honest and sincerity. To me cinema is the greatest poetry ever created, a harmonious balance of visuals and verses created to shock, please and reflect the world. It is zenith of all art forms, finding its ultimate emancipation in a burst of light and color even in the dreariest place, making me believe in the existence of God. Only he, the mysterious, all powerful, all knowing almighty, has the power to bestow man with such unfathomable genius.
So M, A and I were chatting at the bar, discussing the days gone by, reveling the experiences of our past. We sat there listening to each others tales, our ears taunt from the effort of deciphering each word over the loud clang of the music, momentarily silent, drawing and deducting our own conclusions from each others experiences, extracting information and inspiration that we could possibly utilize to enrich our own lives. How similar our conversations and interactions are to those that we see in the movies! What plays on the screen is a chain on interactions that cluster into a tale. Films make us laugh and cry, they hold the power to influence our existence and sway our ideologies and beliefs. But, at the end of the day, no matter what the message maybe, whether it's blatant propaganda, a bitter sweet reflection or a string of absurdity, what one takes away with him after the curtains rise and the lights come on is personally unique. Much like our own interactions in the real world.