Here I am again. I can’t remember how many times I’ve found myself sitting huddled in front of a computer, poised and eager to break my newest mystery to myself. Only, now there is no eagerness. There is a sort of dissatisfaction with my fickle self. I don’t care anymore. I don’t care about the rationale. I don’t care about carefully, secretly thought out arguments. I don’t want to know anymore. I don’t want to know why I am the way I am.
The question of being is not new. Not in the least. I have it on authority that really intelligent men and women with very little income often succumbed to puzzling over the one thing that cost the least effort – themselves. But I came upon this philosophical quest very early on in my life – what with my early teens not being burdened with the trap of puzzling over fucking boys (all the boys I knew were straightforward in their polite dismissal of my womanly endeavors) and demanding parents (mine were irritatingly supportive of my excesses, given my excesses involved purchase of cheap paperbacks and begging to stay up later than 9.30). There was no teenage angst and there was too much of time. So I read. I ate. I reflected on life, pensively sitting on a window-sill staring at the neighbors’ laundry flapping impotently in the insipid Delhi breeze.
For a while though, I dismissed these lonesome trysts with my overworked subconscious. I developed boobs, you see. I bought a bunch of tight t-shirts and I went to dance parties with girls from my class. We stood sipping coke, staring at boys in GAP sweatshirts, boys who we went to school with, boys who smelt of their dads’ colognes. Boys who talked in Hindi, boys who loved Pearl Jam. Boys who were shy. Boys who had ‘chick friends,’ boys who even had girlfriends. Boys everywhere. I developed massive, one-sided crushes on classmates with boy-band style hair-cuts. I wrote obsessively in my diary about unintended meeting of elbows or fingers. I agonized over my sheer ugliness.
I grew up some more. I grew into my awkward body, I realized I had pretty eyes and fairly good legs. I played to their advantage. I learned the subtle differences in hair partings. I secretly smoked cigarettes, learning to blow smoke rings like old Hollywood actresses. I took sips of wine from my father’s bar, often sleeping in a Bordeaux induced coma. Ah, if only I had seen the nights that were to follow the flight from home. If only I were to see the many nights I’d spend sitting next to my toilet bowl, cursing the Scots, the French, the Irish and the Americans for introducing me to alcohol.
And if only I had seen one particular night in my 20th year of existence. If only I had seen myself sitting in that closet of a bedroom in Barcelona, weeping and glugging cheap Rioja straight from the bottle. If only I had seen my crazy, teary, unfocused eyes. If only I had felt my heart breaking with unrequired, unrequited love. I would have held on to sobriety a little longer. Premonitions should be more popular.
And so, for a period of about five or six years, I turned into a normal girl. A girl vaguely similar to the one I used to be, but a girl who had a lot more to think about. Things that didn’t leave her time to puzzle over the reason of her being her, her having been born on a particular day, in a particular family, her own control over herself and things of that nature. She had to think about relationships, about missed calls, about parties and shots and hangover cures. I forgive her the frivolities. They were just as enlightening, or more, than staring stupidly at toes, marveling at their very existence.
But lately, I can feel the pre-pubescent girl coming back to me. I can feel the residual teenage angst seeping away and again I find myself drifting off like I used to. I’m even reading differently. Like I’ve just discovered other minds. And other causes apart from personifying the Indie spirit, complete with black skinny jeans, nautical tops and a penchant for garage/basement/other-depressing-quarters bands.
And indeed, other causes apart from being seen at the right places. Apart from knowing everyone at Clarke Quay on a Saturday night. Apart from surviving terrible jobs. I’m going back to the old me. Only, in a manner that is a lot less mature than it used to be. Of course, out of practice and all that, we’ll be fine soon. We’ll be deeply philosophical soon. And we won’t even need to quote the philosophers as reference – we’ll be that compelling. Say no to pseud-giri. And easy escapes.
And the leggy outfits and the pretty boys are still there. Only, I fear I’ve played that bit of my life down to death, so much so that nothing about it excites me anymore. I sometimes find myself stifling yawns when I notice someone coming up to talk to me in a club, encouraged by the careless flaunting of legs and the subtle dip of my dress. I don’t want to explain myself to anyone anymore. I don’t want to tell my story to yet another ordinary boy. I don’t want to see him trying to understand what I mean. That look on their faces; it’s always the same. It borders between forced interest and veiled impatience, it is supposed to show how very enchanted they are with my wit. Because don’t you know, I’m stacked with wit. That’s what they tell each other. She looks witty, that one over there in that skirt, I’m going to go talk to her, the guy says. Maybe she’ll read her poetry to me tonight. Man, I would just settle for prose, his friend retorts.