S and her Two Lady Friends

Time: Sometime around 2004
Age: 11

As I climbed up the stairs to watch my cousins play video games for the 219837329th time, I waved hello to my aunt. Small talk was engaged in, and as I kept looking impatiently towards my cousin’s testosterone cave, she surprised me with a new top. Not as exciting as the prospect of beating my brothers up, I took it from her and hesitantly tried it on. When I stepped out to show it to her, she eyed me from top to bottom, pleased with herself and proclaimed, “Wow! Your chest has grown, hasn’t it?”w5KH4Nyb6gxwY

As if right on cue, my cousin emerged from his cave and stared at us, with his eyebrows raised. I folded my arms around my chest and let my own mortification kill me. What did she mean by my chest having grown? Boobs were for my mom. Or moms in general. Or Baywatch. RIGHT? RIGHT?!

Little did I know there was more to come. More growth, more mortification and let’s not forget the sleazy stares.

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I looked into the mirror and held myself. What are these additions to my (already heavy) body? And why do they refuse to fit into shirts like well-behaved ladies?

Bra shopping was another ordeal altogether. No one knows your size and everyone has an opinion about what is more comfortable. We all know better, don’t we? A comfortable bra is a lie. The tight bodice is a device to hold back two unruly children that, according to the Mothers’ Association, will cause more trouble than they really should. Cushiony, non-wired bras had a mind of their own. Wired ones poked you in the sides like bullies. Padded bras put everything on display that I was so desperately trying to hide.

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By 18, I dodged lingerie sections, stores and eager shopping assistants successfully and found a few allies in my friends who were just as afraid of this torture device. College changed some of that. I was now around people who were slowly shedding the pretenses of teenage and slowly fitting in their awkward bodies well enough. A comparison of their old Facebook albums and current ones would tell the story better than I could explain right now. My friends in college and the old friends from my childhood slowly realised why breasts were called assets.

A few compliments from friends, appreciative looks from the right parties and a change in perspective gave me lady friends. These ladies are crazy and do have a mind of their own. But, they need love and acceptance like the rest of us do. The least I could do was support them (or so advertising leads me to think I am doing for them). I soon found bras attractive and seeing myself in them and prancing around the room like an inadequate, awkward duck was good enough incentive to start loving my body. Bollywood could be thanked for (even if, ironically) making buxom bodies more attractive.

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I don’t think I hurt myself when I pop the top button on a shirt or even cringe in disgust when I see myself in the mirror now. It took time. But, I am glad I found friends in these twins. If nothing, they do enough to make sure I feel loved.

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Thousand Apologies

Things have been a little slow around this side of the world. I am to blame for that, of course. Handling one existential crisis at a time, I forget to write things down as much as I would wish to. Sometimes, pen touches paper and retreats back into its shell for fear of saying things that could hurt. Sometimes, it grazes across the surface just so that it can remember what it feels like to write properly. My fingers haven’t touched keys to write more than what is required of me at work and I am truly sorry for that. Not just to you, but also to myself. It’s not a block. It’s just a barrage of things and I haven’t collected it all together just yet. Till I do, I think I should tell you of the things around me right now. The office is cold on a rainy afternoon and this is exactly the sort of weather I’d rather enjoy at home. But, here we are, keys and fingers — having a cordial discussion about the weather and hiding from their natural impulse to scream, shout and let it all out. While this is not a party playing music from 2012, it’s worth noting that even my anxious, severely bored mind refuses to let go of pop culture. Maybe this would be future bestseller/autobiographical TV series material, but right now, it’s not really fun.

I am hoping that I’ll be able to come out smarter and braver when this is done.

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But, till then, I’ll just pretend things have been pretty okay. Dress up and show up, right? RIGHT?!
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If Mindy hasn’t taken over your life and the voice in your head, you’re not watching enough TV.

City by the sea

I usually don’t get time to sit and type separately for the blog. My diary is, on the other hand, always by my side. Occupational hazard, maybe. But, to sound ridiculously romantic, I’ll say I still love the itch I get to cure when pen scratches its way on paper.

This is something I wrote a while back while waiting for a friend at a noisy café by the sea. You’ll see one of the million reasons why I love Bombay so much, I hope.

The best thing about living in a city by the sea is the shore itself, of course. Not because you get to lose yourself in the cacophony of the waves. But mostly just to do what I like doing best — watching people.

There’s the prospect of new love. The first time she blushes around him. The first time he memorises her coffee order. The first time they look at each other in the dimly lit, noisy street café and fall in love.

I see a lot of firsts for a lot of people here.

There’s the friends meeting after eons. As they share the cigarette, they catch up on their lives. “You’re better off than I am,” two of them will think as the third talks. One of them is having a cigarette for the first time since she quit a few years back. Her fingers haven’t forgotten how to hold on to the poison, but her mouth has. It’s as if the cigarette and her speak different languages now. But even though the skin ages, she remembers the comfort it gave her. There is no language for comfort.

There’s old love too. The muted affection of it all. There’s no care for the fleeting energy of caffeine here. There’s chai — a brewing, bubbling cauldron of love left to simmer in the warmth of its own hearth and household. Responsibility, trust and respect are unspoken words because they were learnt by the heart a long time ago.

Maybe.

Some things don’t go according to plan. Maybe, it’s not even meant to be planned. Maybe we need to know so much more before we know what it is to be around each other. Maybe is being thrown around a lot right now. But, I guess that’s what will help. Some day we won’t have anything to whine about, when this will seem hilarious and inconsequential. Soon is also too far, but let’s not put a time to it.

Butterflies are free

I rarely write when I am happy. I feel the need to preserve my feelings instead of sharing them, because I cannot believe I deserve the happiness that I find. I started this post last week when I really thought I was too happy to be true. I should’ve known that I have an uncanny ability to be right about these things.

Without giving you too many details, I will tell you now that heartbreak number 4 has finally happened. If someone had asked me last year, “S, do you think you can see four boys come into your life and change the way you see things?” I had just about had enough with one. Good lord. That one still takes my breath away. So, to answer that imaginary question, I would have laughed you off, shut the door behind me and gone back to stressing about the number of days left to go home after another dreadful semester.

Remember what I said about charmers? Stay away from them.
Charm (n.) – Often disarming. Conversation starter.

I don’t know how this works, really. But, I guess we can safely say my socks were charmed right off. The right things were said and the blushes were placed at the end of the sentences like punctuation. The story of The First Date (and my first real date ever, really) was told and re-told dramatically over and over again to induce the sighing and the aww-ing at the right places. But, I was still skeptical.

Yesterday, when I figured that it wouldn’t be going anywhere after the first date, I didn’t know what else to do but smile, nod and step aside. Very few people get a chance at people they’re in love with, and knowing that someone wanted to pick between you and someone they’re in love with can be very flattering. Or at least, that’s the way most people wished to see it.

It also reminded me of this Goldie Hawn movie that I used to watch very often on TV. I guess I was somewhere between the blind guy and her. Haha, I wish. My life should be an endless number of meet-cutes where everyone is in love with me and then goes off on their own adventures after a brief one with me. I dream so much.

But, you know what really stayed with me? I am not the only one making the effort. I am not the only one who could possibly like myself (and I don’t even like myself very much). That is one of the most comforting thoughts to have when your eyesight blurs with the tears you cry in front of your computer at work. So, all that BS they say about not knowing who is probably falling in love with your smile is probably real.For two seconds, it will feel just like that. I promise.

Till the next time I can get myself to make the effort to dress up, wear my lipstick, flip my hair and adjust my top for a boy — I will just get back to work and try really hard to not think of my Sunshine.

Clouds up, ladies and gents.