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That heady ol’ feeling

I spoke to a friend last night. She said she was going out to dinner. Not family. Not an old friend. Not a classmate or a colleague. Not a ‘marriage prospect’. None of those secure, timetable-managed things. But something quite like…a date!

I had another call at 11:00 pm. She sounded ecstatic. She hasn’t sounded this way in oh….5 years. All for what? A simple dinner with someone new, whom she liked. One memorable experience in five years of good grades, promotions, splendid matrimonial prospects, family joys…but this one dinner stood out.

I’m glad she’s stumbled onto that heady feeling again. And I’m so glad, so thankful for being well acquainted with it, feeling this all of this year. Dating is good. Finding someone attractive, discovering that they might..just might feel that way too, the pondering and plotting over how to talk to them (or answer them when they talk to you), the apprehension coupled with gleeful delight…..it makes me feel young and alive! Even when one isn’t sure of the outcome.

Will this date be enjoyable? Will she like me? Will I bore him? Do we have a lot in common? Do we conflict or complement each other? How can I meet him again? Shall I ask her for her number? Will I seem too pushy? Too eager? Too cold?

Oh perhaps, the uncertainty is the charm of it all.

Finding someone you like isn’t easy but that makes it all the more of a thrill when you actually do. Getting to know them, the childish-but-nevertheless enjoyable little games that one plays, the flirting…it is all good. Well, who am I to dictate the morals of the age? I say anything that makes you feel good, is good.

So this one time, I’ll shed off my cynical cloak. There are 6 billion people out there (and more coming in every minute!). Its just possible you may like someone (a lot of someones…). Strange as it may sound, a lot of them like you too. Get out there, talk to someone, have a conversation, make a date, go out to dinner, catch a movie, meet some friends, discover how much you have in common, how much you can learn from each other, have fun…..life is here for the taking!

That heady ol' feeling

I spoke to a friend last night. She said she was going out to dinner. Not family. Not an old friend. Not a classmate or a colleague. Not a ‘marriage prospect’. None of those secure, timetable-managed things. But something quite like…a date!

I had another call at 11:00 pm. She sounded ecstatic. She hasn’t sounded this way in oh….5 years. All for what? A simple dinner with someone new, whom she liked. One memorable experience in five years of good grades, promotions, splendid matrimonial prospects, family joys…but this one dinner stood out.

I’m glad she’s stumbled onto that heady feeling again. And I’m so glad, so thankful for being well acquainted with it, feeling this all of this year. Dating is good. Finding someone attractive, discovering that they might..just might feel that way too, the pondering and plotting over how to talk to them (or answer them when they talk to you), the apprehension coupled with gleeful delight…..it makes me feel young and alive! Even when one isn’t sure of the outcome.

Will this date be enjoyable? Will she like me? Will I bore him? Do we have a lot in common? Do we conflict or complement each other? How can I meet him again? Shall I ask her for her number? Will I seem too pushy? Too eager? Too cold?

Oh perhaps, the uncertainty is the charm of it all.

Finding someone you like isn’t easy but that makes it all the more of a thrill when you actually do. Getting to know them, the childish-but-nevertheless enjoyable little games that one plays, the flirting…it is all good. Well, who am I to dictate the morals of the age? I say anything that makes you feel good, is good.

So this one time, I’ll shed off my cynical cloak. There are 6 billion people out there (and more coming in every minute!). Its just possible you may like someone (a lot of someones…). Strange as it may sound, a lot of them like you too. Get out there, talk to someone, have a conversation, make a date, go out to dinner, catch a movie, meet some friends, discover how much you have in common, how much you can learn from each other, have fun…..life is here for the taking!

The filmi story of my life

‘Kuch kuch hota hai’ was on TV yesterday. One of the early movies that made Karan Johar into a brand name.

I was in college when I saw this movie. Of course I couldn’t say I liked it…it wasn’t cool to admit to liking this sort of popcorn-n-plastic fare! But the truth was that I watched every single rerun of it that ever appeared on the idiot box thereafter. I could really see myself in the story. Not in the incomparably flawless Tina but the rough-n-tumble tomboyish Anjali Sharma.

I lived in jeans and sneakers and short hair. I hung out with the guys and bickered with them for good measure. And yes, my best friend was the alpha male, the cool dude with a roving eye. Like in the movie, life was a crazy, colourful fun ride till abruptly realization dawned about things like love that I’d only watched others jump in and out of.

I didn’t like the movie because of its underlying message that a woman was only loveable when she was all dolled up and feminine. I didn’t want to believe it then…it would have been too scary. But now I think it is true. It happened just the same way.

Unlike the movie, ‘he’ didn’t even notice when I left, let alone try to stop me. He did come back though and much faster. It didn’t take time. It didn’t even take effort. All it took was a different hairstyle and a new attitude, for him to melt into a puddle of open-mouthed admiration.

Some things aren’t simple. Its never easy to forget your first love and its even harder to forget your first heartbreak. He’s around now and he treats me very differently from way back then. I don’t feel that way about him anymore. But I can’t forget that he never felt that way about me. And most of all I can’t forgive the fact that he let go so easily…of me, of all the camaradie and security and comfort that a close friendship brings. When you don’t matter even to your best friend, what is the worth of friendship and love?

I don’t really miss him in the sense of waking up with that gnawing emptiness. There have been others…friends, best friends, co-conspirators, boyfriends, companions. There have been others…who were..just others. There just hasn’t been another him ever.

Life isn’t a Karan Johan movie. Sometimes I almost wish it were, though.

Beauty, thy name is womanhood

Women are beautiful. The fairer sex really is the fairer sex. I know this has been common knowledge for years but the full meaning hit me just today. I was in the ladies compartment of a train…for a change not squeezed into a crowd but with enough space to look around at my co-passangers. Every single face vied for my attention and captivated me.

First I noticed a short, bouncy hairdo topping a pair of big eyes that could probably make any human being melt. Then I noticed that the ‘child-woman’ I’d been looking at, was dressed in a neat (and sexy) business suit and carrying a file of important looking papers. Superwoman continues to be as magically attractive as her historical counterparts.

Then I looked at a woman of indeterminate age sitting across the corridor from me. Her still-damp hair clung to the sides of her face with one persistant lock dangling by her ear. Dark lipstick, vibrant coloured kurta…all traits of the stereotypal ‘bitch’…but ah, what a captivating bitch! Even the slightly flabby tummy was attractive in the way she subconsciously covered it up with her flashy handbag as she chatted nonchalently on her cell.

Opposite to me was a thirty-ish prim little lady. Her salwar kameez was an odd mix-up that I would never wear but wasn’t quite ugly either…just captivating (there’s the word again!) Neatly combed hair, clean face adorned by only talcum powder but her clothes seemed to show off a slight rebellious streak. She was wearing an insipid dull-white, Garden kurta and a matching dupatta with tiny meaningless flowers over it. Her chudidaar however was a deep, rich red cotton (that’s ultimate urban Indian chic)and it was bordered with thread-work zari. The whole effect was startling to say the very least.

There was another woman near the entrance who’s face and clothes I don’t remember at all. But she was holding on to the handrail at the top of the last seat and that is what I noticed. She had straight fingers with fingernails just long enough to be delicate and not enough to be claw-like. You could tell just by looking, that her hands would be soft and that she probably didn’t shake hands much but perhaps a few people very close to her had clasped that palm.

Women, are a completely different species altogether. Yes, women are really beautiful. Physically beautiful. And captivating. Compellingly so. Today I had a glimpse into what the poets wrote about when they described the ‘mystery of a woman’. There is strength and vulnerability molded into the same person. There is beauty…such breath-taking beauty that is also cold and cruel in the knowledge of its power. There is silent, seething resentment buried under layers of submissiveness and devotion. There is gruff sternness which somehow encompasses gentle caring too. There is the tendency to be broken over one man’s indiscretion entwined with the ability to carry the burdens of ten other men.

Men are simple creatures. I always know whether I like a man or not and why. I like him because he is:
1. Intelligent
2. Nice
3. Fun
1…2…3…it is always some combination of these things.

I can never be sure whether I like a woman or not. The few women, whom I do acknowledge that I like, exhibit very ‘macho’ traits which makes the analysis easier. But really, I have no clue.

I thought for awhile about what it would be like to fall in love with a woman. Somehow the minute I got to that thought, all my fascination vanished. To be able to equate that appreciation of beauty with sexual attraction is beyond me. I can admire, as from an artist’s eye, critically, aesthetically. But to really, completely experience a woman, I would have to be a man. What a pity….

Countdown To The 28th Day

The weather is sickening.
Outside the sun is scorching the earth
like something from the kitchens of a very bad cook..dark, smelly, sticky.
The sunlight on my face gives me a headache.
Inside, the fan is whipping a breeze across my face too fast.
Slower it offends my ears with its whirring.

I’m sick, going to throw up.
Food is a revolting thought.
As are dusty corners, soaking wet clothes, bathrooms..
Bathroom, I need to make my way to the bathroom.
I heave across, slow-motion in my own eyes
And suddenly comfort is there
In the splashes of red.
The twenty-eighth day.
I mark it with a red cross on my calendar
And turn around with a sigh of relief.

The longest journey is when you don’t know what awaits you in the end
D-day to D-day is just 28 days.
And yet, each of them seems to vary in length.
The first week..what a relief, what a joy!
Waves of perspiration breaking out,
Relief is the sweetest thing of all.
While my body pays for that joy.

As the pains subside,
Its time for resolutions
To be more careful,
To be less willing
To be stronger in my will.
All in good intention.

The days pass and dangers spread thin over them,
Like butter softly melting into bread,
The temptations sink into my being.
Till I slowly break down again
And sink into them.
Feeling my body’s victory over the mind.
Defiant pleasure overruling guilt.

And then, the most difficult phase begins.
The waiting, the wondering, the secret misgivings.
A million “Why did I?”s and “How could you?”s
For every hundred or so, one fight.
For every fight a hundred or so sorrys.

I’m frowning more and more each day.
Then one day tears roll down.
Then the weather starts to sicken.
And I wait and wonder if it is close to D-day again.

Moodiness

Just lying on my back
And watching thoughts stumble across my mind
I seem to have fallen into a habit of brooding

It starts with one annoying thing…that makes me see red
And I stifle it under the thin plastic blue tarpaulin that keeps out the storm
Disturbingly, it causes a bruise that turns purplish
Bottle-green dots of melancholy waft over and settle down
And stain my thoughts dull, dirty brown
Odd flecks of yellow hysteria sparkle here and there
Then they deepen to orange philosophizing
A lavender musical wave washes over the aridness
And leaves a gray granite shadowed black marble behind

Moods aren’t voluntary
I am just the mute spectator as the colours swirl around
And bind me in their compulsive rhythm

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