Saturday, December 04, 2010

Thank God for Girl friends

Mid thirties, early forties, is a time for deep philosophy, especially for a woman. You are finally coming to terms with husbands/boyfriends, after the umpteenth fresh start (or not). Your reservoir of patience to adjust with things becomes a ghost of its former self. And with that comes a defiance of the dissenters. This is who I am, you say to yourself.

In your new role, you will soon discover, that your strongest allies are that handful (read one or two or three) girl friends who have stuck with you through the thick and thin over the years (over breakups, new romances, old escapades). They are this incredible audience that compliment you on your sexy new dress (despite the love handles), ask for pictures of your current crushes (and equanimously enquire after your husband's cholesterol levels), boost you up when you have unsavory inlaws on your hands (with special tricks she has evolved to handle her lot) and in general let you hang your hair loose (even if that is growing scant).

Count your blessings lady, because, this, is as good as it gets, ever.

Friday, December 03, 2010


They traveled the same route all year. Marie cannot remember when it started. Somewhere along, it dawned on her, that, she was very aware of this particular man. They never spoke to each other. Marie just liked to see him around.

Her preoccupation, as it grew, became surreptitious. Of course, that had to be, given that her attachment was probably entirely one-sided. The quirk of his nose, the glint in his eyes, the riot of freckles on his face.. Marie could close her eyes and picture him with ease. He had a nice, clean smile, dark, mischeivous eyes. Marie would think about him and smile to herself indulgently. It made no sense to let herself carry on. But, she rationalized, it was all in her mind, no one was hurt, and she enjoyed it. So.

Duke also became aware of Marie. Its an evolutionary trait to unerringly sense when someone is attracted to you. And so Duke began to take more notice of her than he ordinarily would. He began to feel a vague sort of narcissism grip him every time they crossed paths. He began to return her smiles, a little extra sweetly, almost unconciously. It was harmless. If Marie took a little extra care of herself and imagined that darkening glow of appreciation in his eyes, no one was the worse off, for it. And Marie developed a special lilt to her gait for the rest of the day. More confidence, more energy, more motivation to live her own life.

Marie's obsession grew. Little bits of things we largely ignore about people.. all of it, got cataloged some place on her mind. Marie noted Duke wore a wedding ring, remembered the shape of it, memorized the pattern of the short scar that ran along his left arm. Marie began to know the clothes he wore.. knew his blue checked shirt had a mismatched button. Marie thought he looked particularly dashing when he wore blue. He was a software engineer, Marie overheard, when he was talking to one of the other passengers on their bus. She had learnt to pick up his voice in the crowd, without the need to turn around. What was he really like? Marie wondered. Seemed nice, sensitive, kind, intelligent.. a friend she would have liked to have.

Couple of times they got seats side by side. Thus forced into proximity, polite conversation was thrust upon them. Marie had hated the ocassions it happened. The magic of him was lost in mundane, casual conversation.

And then, Duke wasn't there on the bus one day. Marie kept looking in the hope that she will spot him. But inside, she knew she would not have missed him if he was there. And the next day and the next. A week went by in anticipation before she realized something must have changed. It felt horribly empty, and strange, missing him. Marie sat on her bus, going over the little bits of Duke stuck in her heart. The intimacy of their shared moments might have been only in her mind, or not. Now she'd never get a chance to find out. She sighed deeply as she tried to draw the wisps of her memory of him close.. memories that were slowly, but irrevocably, fading from her heart.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Blowing hot and cold

She was about 15 and you were perhaps a year or two older. She bunked her Saturday classes to meet with you without the knowledge of anyone at your respective homes. The pretext was to go see a movie. None of your common friends were invited along. She should have seen it coming. Movie was the furthest thing from your mind. By the end, it was far from hers as well.

She changed from her school uniform into a somewhat daring summer frock at the restroom of the subway station. She also applied some slight makeup and put on chunky jewelry. This was her first "date" after all. Something that was strictly forbidden and hence as heady as it was sweet! Her heart was in her mouth with excitement. You coaxed her along to the famously infamous grounds of Victoria Memorial to spend a bit of the morning before the movie. There you babbled an hour about how much you loved her from the day you set eyes on her! She enjoyed the attention for a while. Then started getting bored. And then her conscience started policing her smug smiles of self gratification. Of course, there were also the prickling of disappointment. Really? Was this what it was all about?

Anyways, I remember this dark dingy restaurant you took her to, for lunch. Of course no one was lamenting that you had missed the movie show times. By then, your intent was clear to her. She wondered how much she would allow, never mind should. She knew she should've walked out a long time ago. Guilt roared in her ears, as did a desperate urge to be wanton. She wanted you to make the move, so that she could experience the thrill of a lifetime. You tried a kiss.. a wet, unexciting, somewhat disgusting affair. Then you crossed a line by fondling her breasts. It tripped a hardwired warning bell in her head. She finally paid attention to her screaming conscience. She acted outraged; actually maybe she was in fact outraged that she'd caught herself in this unimaginably uninspiring, gross situation. You must have been surprised at what suddenly hit. You apologized profusely for I don't know what. You should have slapped her. She deserved no less.

Were you a bad boy? Was she a bad girl? Were you both fit to rot in hell perhaps? I am not here to judge. She spent days after feeling dirty and soiled and irritated, and knew she must pretend to be shocked and hurt and outraged - that was her best guise. You spent days after trying to get back in her good books! You called and called and claimed that you'd just been emboldened by her love, that you were so sorry for what happened. But she'd had enough. She clung to her wronged woman story and finally thankfully got rid of you. You, the annoying pest of a boyfriend.