Sunday, 27 June 2010

thoughts during one teenage patient's session


There was a time when I wished I could switch lives with the boy I had a crush on. Life must be easy as a clueless boy, I thought. Completely oblivious to the raging hormones and deep, secret desires of a desperate teenage girl. I spent three years of school pining for him and he never even realised. He was good at sports, the topper in Math class, cute and wasn’t even that evil – he was just plain clueless. Even his girlfriend wasn’t your proverbial ditzy, manipulative cheerleader practicing celibacy only so she could have him wrapped around her little finger. She was intelligent. Intelligent enough to see that I wanted him so badly I froze everytime I smelt him within a five kilometre radius. And she was nice enough not to malign me. Instead she tried to help me out once in a way, when she found me alone, sobbing under the stairs of the football field.

I was fat, covered in spots and I thought that if only I lost some weight, dressed better and got him to notice me… well then everything would work out. He’d realise what a wonderful person I was (yes the clich├ęd inside and outside) and be with me forever. Needless to say that didn’t happen. We are friends now. He is no longer with the beautiful, intelligent (now a surgeon) girlfriend but I no longer want the perfect boy. I continue to occasionally want boys who are not available, for various reasons.

When we are young, we do stupid things. We think even stupider things. And we come across questions in school interviews like, if you could be one person, who would it be? My answer to this question changed about a million times over the years. It went from characters in my favourite television shows to fictional characters (because live people were not perfect enough) and then real people who had almost perfect lives. But nobody has the perfect life.

Take the man sitting across you in your office. Never noticed him, right? He thinks you’re hot. He jerks off to thoughts of you pretty frequently. Well it’s either you or the other well-dressed, attractive girl in your department. Except she doesn’t come in to work as often as you do. She’s prettier than you and she’s doing the boss. Well not literally. But in a way she is, because your boss does not order her around and when she smiles at him and twirls her hair while talking to him once in a way, she makes him feel alive. And no, of course she won’t literally do him. She’s better than that. And he’s married with a kid on the way. Come on, she has some morals. Now you wish you were her. Or more like her. You probably wouldn’t if you knew she had been abused by her grand-uncle as a child and never realised till she was an adult and it was too late. The only man she’s ever been with was him. And she can’t bring herself to trust a man after that. Doesn’t seem such a perfect life now, does it?

My point is, don’t think silly things like “I want to be like my mother one day”. You don’t know what hell your mother or even Mother Teresa have been through. Which is why the only person I want to ever be is my furry Golden Retriever, Madonna. Yes, her name is Madonna and she’s practically revered in my household. When Madonna is hungry, she gets food. When she yawns, she’s given her blanket. And trust me, her life is better than celebrity Madonna’s. How the hell would I know that? Well, because I’m (celebrity) Madonna’s therapist.

My tryst with schoolboy made me think, and wonder why we women suffer from such pointless yearnings sometimes. I delved into it and found the topic fascinating and voila, became a therapist for the rich and famous. And miserable.
Madonna is luckier than we humans will ever be. Trust me. Here I obviously refer to the retriever who does not retrieve.

Monday, 21 June 2010

small spaces, loud noises

I was sweating. Profusely. And I never sweat. I “perspire” like my aunt says. Women do not sweat profusely. They perspire gently.

Whatever. I was dripping. Drip-drop. That rhymes with tick-tock. It occurred to me randomly. If I suddenly started singing a disco tune sung by a blonde with a bull-ring through her nose, I might have killed myself. Rather than have the director kill me.

I tried not to sigh visibly. My line came. I said it with utterly convincing emotion (while dripping sweat off my forehead on to the tip of my pert nose) and walked off stage. In the wings Hema stood, ready with a powder puff. “What the hell is wrong with you? You *never* sweat!” “I know right? Hell. Gimme that,” I grabbed the powder puff and the compact fell to the ground with a loud clatter. We froze. I’d better kill myself now. Keshav was certainly going to chop off my limbs otherwise and watch as I bled slowly to death. The image came to mind. While I pictured my painful death, Hema picked up the compact, powdered me and sent me back on stage.

I couldn’t see anything in the audience because of the glare of the lights. The performance space was small. It was a weekend and apparently more than a handful of people had heard about the play, so the place was packed. I was either going to be hacked to death by said director or would suffocate. It occurred to me that I should stop thinking about how I was going to die. Especially since every imaginary scenario culminated with a death on the very same day I was thinking it.

After the painful scenes, my heart began racing as we approached the climax. Which involved my death on stage. I said on stage, don’t get your hopes up. The dialogues began to quicken and the pace and atmosphere visibly improved, my heart felt lighter. The momentous death happened. There was pin drop silence. My chest was bursting with delight and I thought “Ah, maybe Keshav will think this stupendous end was worth the sweat and clatter.”

And then I heard it. A loud fart ripped through the not-so-large performance space. And then a roar of laughter. I cracked open an eyelid and saw my fellow actors slowly cracking smiles on stage, and imagined a roar of fury that was my director. And the laughter quickly spread through the entire audience.