The day began in the night.
Post midnight, I woke up with a sharp, shooting pain on my right arm and in my chest. I was not stressed. At least, I don’t think I was. I couldn’t move my entire right hand. And the chest burned. And so I could not sleep. And thus the day began.
I tried really hard to remember all those forwards about heart attacks. My main feeling on thinking I was going to die was one of relief, like the day I felt when I was laid off work in Y!. But chest pain and paralyzed left hand is what could lead to a heart attack. Not the right. The right was a mere sprain that lasted all day through. The chest pain was heartburn.
We were not dying. At least not yesterday.
But literature has taught me that there are all kinds of deaths.
Like your family, the people you love, being unconcerned when you are in pain. The callousness or the self-absorption that will not even make them ask you – hey, how are you? Are you okay? When they do, it’s an aside to their own preoccupation. So, ‘how are you dealing with that?’ And they accept the ‘Fine.’ Then they tell you that you are not strong. Or they reduce it to PMS, something, anything. Not real pain for sure. Not angst for certain. Not caring for real.
Like being misunderstood. When you say you love him and want him back because this — this suffering — is meaningless and he interprets it to mean that you want him back solely because you need the security of a man in your life so you can prove a man and others wrong. Or when he writes a mail in the middle of the night easily and surely absolving himself of all responsibility and accountability. With no apology. And then he speaks to your best friend, your sister about how concerned he is about you. And somehow you feel it’s bollocks. That you never meant anything at all. Ever.
These are the million deaths you die because even when you don’t want to feel, you end up feeling too much again.
And then suddenly in the midst of this work happens. Glorious, challenging, meaningful suddenly. And people happen. Some you have a lust attack on. Others who wow you with their intelligence, their depth of perception, their sheer goodness. So a day of pain with a limp, useless hand becomes bearable.
I am alive. I can be happy. I can be on Facebook again which really is the most important thing in life.
Then one of my more nutty writers from the workshop gives me some well-meaning, friendly advice — and this is not even sarcasm. He says: Do some dieting, do some push ups to firm up the tits, put some fruity perfume, and speak sweetly. Guys will come crashing at your feet.
While I mostly agree with Dev except for fruity perfume, I am so disappointed by my choices, by how hard I have to work to hook up with someone again. And what will the man do? Throw in a few false promises? But Dev is right. As a single woman again, my preoccupation must be with how firm my tits are and how sweetly I can speak. It’s the way of the world.
Except, I don’t need a man.
I don’t know what I need. At 31, I am curiously unambitious and unclear. My work, what I do with people — my writers, gives me no joy. No sense of accomplishment. That is strange. That is weird. Time and again, I am told we, Rheea and I, created something with BWW. It’s big, creative, beautiful. I don’t see that. I only see the people it made me meet and I am grateful for that. But they say, yes, you made that happen. You made BWW. You work. So I tell myself work will be enough. It’s the only thing that is working. Pun unintended. I will smile and in time it will be real.
So I don’t yell at Dev. I laugh at that mad genius, that wild artist and tell him to shut up because he is so offensive. Then we discuss how he doesn’t shut up. And I continue smiling. I tear apart a story that is loosely based on me; I rubbish a book title because I know they can be better. And I am happy. This is what I do. This is me.
An opinionated, smelly, obese shrew. Apparently. Single. Apparently. And when I have perky breasts — which is so achievable not through dieting and exercise but by the new industrial bras that I ordered — then, yes, the men will come crashing in whether I need them or not. And maybe a few of them, at least two — because what is life without threesomes — will be the right kind, the ones with real balls, the ones who keep their word, the ones who are not threatened by a guns-blazing-all-boob-and-body-and-mouth woman, who will woo me, dine me, entertain me, and shag me like they do in any romance fiction. The ones who will walk off into the sunset with me.
Then I speak with him. We have a banal conversation. We are cynical and so we are mere caricatures. We are intelligent and so we argue about what surreal means, why Life of Pi is great (according to him) and why it’s not (in my opinion). We depress the hell out of each other and then we feel good because we are like that. Twisted. We’ve read a lot. We can discuss Hinduism now and the Aghora philosophy. We can define deconstruction and talk about Derrida. We not only know, we have lived it all. We are so old. So tired. So full of it. We speak.
Gopinaath Kannabiran (GK) sarcastically: We should become motivational speakers.
Bhumika Anand (BA) after a three-second pause: Ya.
GK: We’ll drive them all to mass suicide.
BA: That might be a good thing. But I am not a fan of suicide.
BA: Well, the good news is the world is going to end.
GK: Let’s hope so.
Yes, it is the season to be jolly.
And yes, the irony of choosing a Dolly Parton is not lost on me.