Festivities

Everything changes, sometimes for the worse and sometimes for the better. Over the past decade, I’ve spent a number of Diwalis and New Year’s Eves cuddled up in bed. ‘In each loss there is a gain’ therefore, the second year in a row I spend my Diwali with the Anonymous Aunty and the Night Rider. Though, AA is the queen of gossip, he’s the kind of person one can always call up, when one doesn’t want to be alone and he’s nice enough to show up. We two Crabs, bicker like crazy ( about my temperament and his verbal diarrhoea)  but it’s an entertaining equation, nevertheless. He picks me up, which I always find ironic (so touching) and we catch the afternoon show of Aae Dil He Mushkil.

I don’t know if it’s Anushka and Ranbhir’s overacting, the fact that it’s a little close to home or that I come from a lineage of aashiqs but I spend half of the film sobbing. ‘ Jab intezaar sirf waqt ka ho……’ Oh man, that dialogue releases  my queen of non stop melodrama from the freaking dungeon. Uff, awful. After watching a mediocre film with shit loads of overacting and crying a bucket full of tears, I’m convinced it’s going to be a terrible day. But I underestimate the company. We stroll around for a bit and then pick up the Night Rider. Mr Roy, returns my call.

Yes, despite my boys insistence that it’s a passing phase, this one seems to be weathering the storm. Though, I’ve strongly discouraged him from calling, I’ve always had an affinity with the written word. The messages are corny- the way they are when a man tries to woe you. Since, I’ve been dating the younger ones, I’m out of practice. From ‘kabhi kabhi’ to references to ‘my beautiful self’, it’s the ‘when you need to crack a tough nut, you need perseverance’, that actually makes me blush. We chat for a couple of minutes. A few minutes later he calls again. ‘You guys be careful and give me a few hours of your time, when I come to India in December’, says Mr Roy, in his usual charming manner. ‘Men make women messy and isn’t it ironic?’, I ask myself as I finish the conversation. Someday, far far in the future, when I’m able to talk about somethings more honestly, you will realise just how ironical all of this is.

Anyway, back to the boys. They show me a really good time. We wander around a market place. Look for an interesting place to grab dinner but all the restaurants in Nehru Place and Greater Kailash are closed. A bar in Kailash Colony is open. It’s a visual treat for us, as there’s a private expat party happening on the terrace and some gorgeous women are dancing away to glory. A grub fest and a couple of drinks later, I’m all set to take on the dance floor. We dance for a bit and then head back home. The one who waits, calls on the landline. ‘Pyaar me junoon he, par dosti me sukoon he,’ I’m reminded of Anushka’s dialogue, as I’m falling asleep to the sound of his voice.

 

 

5 a.m

The Man-Child is giving me sleepless nights. Don’t mistake it for the throes of romance but my highly evolved defence mechanism just driving me up the wall. I stuff my face with a MC Chicken and Fries, endless amounts of chocolates and yet sleep evades me. I pace the basement, go the the ground floor, play a while with my phone and nada. No sleep.

‘I know you intentionally made sure that we wouldn’t speak before I left.  You knew I wanted to and that’s why you didn’t want to!’, he accuses me. After all, I haven’t replied to any of his messages and calls because it’s all a bit overwhelming for me.  Though he seems a little hurt I keep wondering what is amusing, him so. ‘I miss you’, he says rather sweetly. ‘It’s been twelve hours since you left the country and you miss me already? Send me a list of movies you steal your dialogues from- so that I know how the female character is supposed to respond.’ I miss the mark again…he finds it funny.

You know most days, I can just walk into a room and piss the entire room off by not even uttering a word. I shit you not! It’s my special power, I’ve had it my entire life. Unfortunately, this one is just as obstinate as I am. We banter for a bit and I return to my spot on the stationary cycle, in the gym. So damn, amused by him.

At 5 a.m, I’m wondering if the combination of owning the Rabbit and  having enough people to speak to and hang out with is the reason for my absurd behaviour? What kind of a guy are you looking for the Bengali babu, asked me a few days ago. ‘I’ve never thought about it. I just want to be looked at- the way a child looks at candy floss.’ Aren’t you a bit old for that? You’re not 16 anymore!’, he’s aghast.

People find my answers absurd but really check out a matrimonial column, or not, just speak to a twenty something year old. This is what they want-‘Fair (can become dark with enough exposure to the sun), good looking (looks will fade with age), well-settled (life is such a roller coaster, one minute you have money the next minute you don’t), funny (I have no use for wit) etc etc.

I love this ad that I found from a Google search. This is a woman after my own heart- ‘Beautiful female, 29, musician is looking for a 22-30 yr old male.Should be working in some field of art, photography, theatre, painting etc. There should be no pressure for child-bearing and freedom for long periods of time when required. Interested please contact- love_all1@indiatimes.com.’ It’s inspired me to write my own. ‘Slightly nutty,  four feet something, average looking, 37- year old woman looking for a boy either at least a decade younger or older. Should be incredibly patient, very generous, extremely sincere (should tell the truth, irrespective of how terrible it is) and fiercely loyal ( monogamy isn’t imp, emotional loyalty paramount). Work, money, looks , social stature, are inconsequential. Should love babies, have a sharp memory, have the ability to mingle with people from all walks of life and preferably be tall (only for compensation sake). Interested candidates try to bump into her at her usual haunts. She believes in serendipity.’

I can thank Mr Roy, at last I have an idea of what I want. Come on , come on Mr Right, your disaster awaits you!

 

The end of a week

It’s been an interesting end  of an interesting week, what with the Man-Child stating- ‘I’ve decided to wait for you!’ and my replying in my usual bitchy manner,  ‘baate itni badiyaa karta he, ladkiyaan kitni jaldi fasti hongee, na!’ That too, to a Bengali man with a British accent. I hope my crassness turns him off but I’m out of luck. Why may a sane person ask, do I need to behave like this? Better to be safe than sorry, right?

Each time we go out he insists on calling it a date and I insist it isn’t. So for his last night in the country, I decide to show him what a date with me would be like. The exact opposite of what a man would want! We go to a club in C.P, which is loud, has the sleaziest crowd and is playing Punjabi songs. He’s so uncomfortable and squermish but oh so charming, he’s never going to say it. I’m my  non-committal, ambiguous self. Over coffee- a couple of nights earlier, I’ve used all my verbal tactics. Move 1- State all your flaws. Move 2- Speak in a tone that confuses the other party. Move 3- This is the hat trick, dig out the specific instances from the past that can make a person flee. But to no avail. Either, he’s known me too long or he just doesn’t scare that easy. So, on ‘date night’, I up the ante and use silence.

But all he says is this, ‘You know what a man needs to have, to be with you- balls of steel. ‘Cause you’re going to hurt him, everywhere. You’re a pain in all the wrong places. You push people and don’t let anyone in. But yore so addictive and the man you end up with is going to be so lucky.’ A part of me is so flattered… another so damn weary. Nothing I say or do intimidates him, which makes him a rarity. As I drive back home, I’m glad he’s leaving. ‘You just got saved by the bell’, I think to myself.

 

Nobody

29th June, 2014-  She stands in front of the boy whose startled to see her, at 7 a.m. Tears rolling down her cheeks, trying to clutch to the last piece of her sanity. She searches the face she’s been unable to read- even after a decade, for an answer and all that stares back at her, is the familiar indifference.

15th Oct ’16- ‘Andy’s proposed to Diya,’ announces my friend and the boy in question’s rakhi sister, to our married friends, who are joining us late for dinner. ‘Kyaa?’, asks the Bhoppu. ‘ Abbe, kyaa? Pasand karta hu isko, shaadi karna chahta hu,’ laughs the 41 year old, man- child I’ve known for a couple of decades. All my bravery is just bravado, I’m a total and complete coward who is totally taken aback by his candour. A couple of days ago, over dinner he put ‘his cards on the table’, asking me to give a thought to the idea of him and I being together. I didn’t take it seriously, after all in my younger years I was- the queen of the rebound. When people are coming out of relationships, they need someone to cling to and he and I are the same brand of aashiqs. It takes us a fraction of a second to fall for someone. Up until the moment he announces it to our jingbang, that he’s giving me time to think about it, I don’t give it a real thought.

Have you ever been haunted by a memory? Despite my terrible recalling power, I’ve been haunted by three. One is coming home, at the age of nine and the help showing me a burnt suit, ‘tumhari mummy ne jalaa liya he, apne aapko!’. The other is getting out of the car at AIIMS, my ex walking behind me, some of my brother’s friends crying. Meeting my mother and suddenly being told.’your baby is dead.’ Yelling at Mom, to stop speaking rubbish and then being told, it’s true. I remember till the moment I fell to the floor oh, so dramatically and tore my suit. The rest is a haze. The first two, I get why I’m haunted by. The last one, standing in front of a boy crying, I wonder why that keeps popping up at the most inopportune time.

As the alcohol makes its way into my system that night and the man-child becomes sweeter, I start to panic. That memory from 2014, starts playing in my head in a constant loop. I’m a terrible drunk… the alcohol makes me howl, like a child. After a point, my mind blanks out. I wake up in Bhoppu’s, son’s room. Spend the entire day in bed, unable to stop that damn loop from playing. Bhoppu, fusses over me like a mother hen and the man-child comes over so that he can drop me home. ‘You know it’s easy to tell someone, something in private and to later back out of it. It’s harder to back out of something that you’ve declared in front of people,’ he says. ‘I get that,’ I reply.

I’m welcomed home by a sarcastic father, ‘Paramjit Singh ke bacche ho ke, ulti karti ho! Both my children were useless drunks.’ A little while later,  I enter an empty basement. A couple of days in a year, I hate being alone. Its one of those days. Drift in and out of sleep, as the loop plays in my head. The boy who waits, calls on the landline. I’m comforted by the sound of a voice I’m unafraid of. Speak to him for a couple of minutes and as I’m ending the conversation I’m reminded of what he once told me. ‘You need to be tricked, slowly, otherwise, you run away. That’s why I don’t push you, I know you’ll throw a fit. When you’ve pushed me back enough times to see if I’ll run and when I don’t, that’s when you’ll agree.’

I wonder when will I be ready and who’ll be strong enough to be my man as I play ‘nobody’ on a loop. ‘I don’t need noooobodddyyy’, should get me through the night.

 

PINJRA TOD

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