One tuned all of 42 years old today and one still remains as big an ass as one was, when one was fourteen. Last week, I’d made many plans for this week, one was going to catch up with some friends, make some stuff, spend a day on the road and then the melancholy mixed with pms got the worst of me!
So I stayed in bed for a few days, cried incessantly, drank loads and even popped some pills to calm down the nerves. One usually, stays a little away from both these poisons, considering the genetic disposition as well as my system’s inability to manage either but one underestimated the severity of pent up feelings and then bam, they came to shake me up a little, actually a lot. Of course, the first thing one does when one is hurting is, pushing everyone away. Most people are easy to push away, some though, unfortunately by now, know me too well, so one has to lie to them. ‘What are you doing?’ ‘Sleeping’ remained one’s standard reply till last night. I think, if it wasn’t my birthday today, I would have carried on with the nonsense for a couple of more days, maybe weeks.
Last night, a friend called up to wish me and cut a cake, virtually, of course one look at my eyes and he knew. One was not only touched by the number of calls he made, to figure out when my phone’s on but also by the cake and the lecture one got. It helped me drag myself out of bed today. Got the sweetest surprise of my life, the father had bought a bunch of red roses for me with a bottle of wine. If it doesn’t seem like a lot to you, my dear here’s someone who shakes my hand to wish me on my birthday every year! Twelve, red roses from Dad! Precious! They just blew the melancholy away.
Spent the day with the men at home, drinking and eating. As night befell and the father tried to convince me to take the driver along and to spend a night away from home, rather than coming back the same day, the bell rang. My dearest friend Afy, had sent her guard to check on me, as my phone was switched off. I was totally confused and really touched. Of course, I made up some crap, that I was running a fever, I wasn’t well, that’s why my phone was off! Sometimes, it’s better to lie, than to tell people exactly what’s going on in your head. Hopefully, a day on the road, even if it’s with the driver, will fix my head and soon one will be a good as new!
‘It is said that unsophistication makes a man empty and that emptiness makes him carefree. It may be true among those who were born dead and who exist like frozen corpses; but the sensitive boy who feels much and knows little is the most unfortunate creature under the sun because he is torn by two forces. The first force elevates him and shows him the beauty of existence through a cloud of dreams; the second ties him down to the earth and fills his eyes with dust and overpowers him with fears and darkness.’-Khalil Gibran
‘Kabse Hun kyaa bataao jahane kharaab mein?’ pops up on my Fb memories and I wonder why the memories, seem relevant even today? Do people change? Have I? Not really!
Of course, one’s become more aggressive in the past year ( if that was possible) but that’s what small dogs, do , right? They throw a fit because their bite isn’t as good as their bark. So that’s the same, my male friends insist it’s funny! Trust me, they are the only ones who think so because if you ever see me yelling, believe you me, it ain’t a pretty sight!
As for the rest, one remains the same, SB remains herself and the other one- SC, I’m afraid, too remains exactly the way she was. They take turns once in a while, like these days, it’s SC’s turn, who is all sentimental and sad. ‘ I don’t want to be around people, right now!’, they surprisingly say in unison, one afraid her wrath will get the better of her and she will turn vicious, the other one scared she’ll catch what some people have- cowardice and cold hearts.
In a few days, one will be all of forty two years old. For someone who thought she would be dead by eighteen, trust me each year, after forty has seemed like a mighty achievement. Small wins,eh? Oh honey, big one, the biggest! There was so much speculation, the past year that I was eloping, that now all those who claimed it, have nothing to say! I love this about time, when people turn around and ask the ones who spread the rumours, why they’ve not materialised? But unfortunately, hypocrisy is a craft. So now I hear I’m getting a ‘ghar jawai’ an incredibly derogatory term! I should ask all these people who spend their precious time discussing me to also print this horoscope for future reference, it will make my life easier, I will follow it as I go along.
As for my nonexistent love life, which has only had tiny interjections of proposals from a few men I know, in the past seven years and three dates (with the same guy) resulting in an immediate tatoo about the exes on my arm later, the single and unfreaking willing to mingle phase is still on! Having said that, flirtation is in the blood, darling. One keeps a lid on it but I realized recently, it ain’t going to die down anytime soon. Someone sent me a message a few weeks ago, ‘teach me Punjabi’ at 5 a.m. If you know me, you would know what my reply would have been. Mujhe realize hua, apne dimaag mein me to badi mein hue nahin hu, lekin natak to karna padega maturity ka kabhi na kabhi. I was so well behaved, you would have been convinced ke mein sudhar gayee ho! No, no, no, that is impossible, my dear! Just because one ain’t acting on the impulses, doesn’t mean one isn’t tempted to.
But dating seems like such hard work and I’m so lazy. First find a boy. Then have some random conversations. It’s when you run out of polite conversations, that’s what one finds problematic. Now, how do I sweep my entire existence under the carpet? I’m incapable of it. Every thing will come up and one doesn’t want to go through that rigmarole. It was so much easier earlier because all the men I’ve ever dated, had already heard enough about me, so they weren’t taken aback. As an experiment, I could throw a prospect into the lion’s den in the first instance, leave him alone with my friends or even family, they’ll pull out all the skeletons from my closet in an hour, I won’t have to worry about scandalising him, ever again! Na, every year I tell myself this is the year but the stone stopped rolling, a long time ago and it’s gathered too much moss! Besides, my buddies watch out for me.
Anyhow, the good news from the day my mother passed away ( 18th March 2020) up until now, is that every aspect of my life has been dissected. I think the only thing that has been spared is when do I take a crap? So, load off one’s shoulder in some way, one has been able to write whatever one wants to without an ounce of hesitation.
At times in the past year, I have worried for my sanity, wondered if one is just imagining that humans are capable of kicking you when you’re down and out, even now I find such utter and total disregard for another’s existence and this callousness unbelievable, till I hear people’s discussions and then reality hits me in the face. Most people are silly enough to think, that what they say about other people behind their back, doesn’t reach them.
‘Why aren’t you talking to us?’ people ask. ‘Well, even if I sit, stand and don’t utter a word and it’s still something that needs to be discussed amongst six people, then I can write and people can discuss all they want!’ I love drama, trust me I grew up with so much of it, my life seems empty without it at times but my face betrays me, even when I can hold my tongue. That’s remained the same my entire life, so why pretend? Life’s too precious to waste a minute, pretending that I’m going to fit into the box and not be a lucid confusion!
It’s supposed to be your day but if I make a fuss, I will hear, ‘pakhand karne ki zaroorat nahi he!’, so one shall refrain. Though, you are far from perfect, as a human being you’re a very interesting character to be around, covering all ends of the spectrum-white, grey and black.
The hardest part about growing up they say, is when you realize that your parents are mere mortals- with their own fallacies and their own insecurities. Your kids became aware of that very early in life. It saved us from being disappointed, later. You may have been an absentee father but there are many admirable traits in you, I’m told, I still unconsciously look for in a man.
The way you always loved your parents inspite of everything. The commitment that mum and you had to staying in the marriage was unreal- messed up, dysfunctional, far from perfect but the marriage vows stating- for poorer or richer, worse and better, in sickness and in health, were truly tested and your marriage survived more than four decades of that! You’re right when you say, I don’t have the temperament for it. But hats off!!
It never ceases to amaze me how obsessed you are with your factory. One always resented how much time you spent there, when we were growing up. But seeing you this past year, when the government and better sense should have convinced you to stay home, you still continued to go there six times a week, inspite of everything, You work harder than anyone I personally know off, have a photographic memory, a wicked sense of humour and are absolutely incapable of mincing your words. There are many things about the world, one has learnt by being around you.
You may have never treated me like most fathers treat their daughters but knowing that you aren’t going to protect me from anyone or anything, has made me fierce, which is great. I don’t really mind being the fixer, the problem solver, I love when you tell people, ‘meri beti handle karti he tede log’ though a call to check whether I’m dead or alive, once in while would be highly appreciated. I know, we have the same dynamics that most men share with their sons, which is alright I guess, confusing but ok. As for the bad stuff, we both are viscous enough to tell each other ever so often, so let’s leave it for today.
Hope you have a long and happy life and you get to travel a bit, make some new friends, experience a life beyond work. Happy Father’s Day, to the man I used to clap for, each time time he returned home. Remain blessed.