Baubles and Dots

Today is just a quick post, sharing with you all a new piece of artwork. I finished it last night or early this morning, depending on where you all are reading from. I have been doing quite a lot of work with black pen on white (watercolour paper-130 gsm) paper. It isn’t that I’ve given up on paints, I just felt like exploring a little with the scope that just a single pen and piece of paper can afford.

In my first year as a student of architecture we visited Delhi and Agra and all those places on a study tour. I was fascinated when I saw Mughal architecture, especially Mughal arches and domes. I hadn’t come across so much beauty, so painstakingly built by hands alone. Anyway, I tried sketching a Mughal arch at Fatehpur Sikri I believe and I wasn’t even close to capturing its proportions and perfection. A senior in the 4th year (of our 5 year course) showed me how to draw a grid and figure out proportion. I’ll be grateful to her for it but really it has been only a year since I have loved sketching, drawing and painting so much. I remember struggling to sketch what I saw in front of me and now those things come naturally. Like I said in my previous post, maybe I had to lose some things to gain a clearer picture of me. It would seem the ability was inside me all the time (I’ve never had an art class), it just needed to be set free.

This drawing started off as a Mughal arch and then I saw the potential it could have as a wedding setting. I tried a bit of the Mughal portraiture style, the side profile and whatnot but in the end I believe it is a unique creation. I have also used a favourite rendering technique of mine, dot rendering. Yes, it is placing dot after dot after dot to illustrate, shade or fill something in. Do let me know what you all think about it. Oh, and all my artwork is for sale unless otherwise mentioned.

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Journey

For many years I was an extremely sarcastic, negative thinking self-proclaimed victim. I was an optimist overall but failed to live that philosophy on a daily basis. I always thought my cup of woes was filled to the brim and the slightest inconvenience convinced me it was overflowing. I had no self-confidence and constantly put myself down in comparison with everyone around me. I wasn’t pretty enough, attractive enough, talented enough, smart enough. There were some external factors which fed the stream and turned it into a river but it started with me.

If I think to one year back today, I was a broken mess. My husband had proclaimed his duplicity, claiming to have stopped loving me many years ago. 20th of November last year, 7 days shy of our second wedding anniversary I was home at my parents’ house, broken. I know I’ve used that word twice now but I don’t know another word that describes how I felt then any better.

One year on I feel like a different person. I won’t say ‘new’ person because it’s still me in here, just a different me. One whose eyes are opened and one who is not just drifting along the flow of negativity gushing from my mind. It took me a long time to start healing but even though it sounds cliché I think I am a better person today, sitting here writing this. I had to lose a lot to find myself again. The collapse of my marriage, the loss of the person I loved and the life I hoped to live changed me irrevocably – it took all that for me to start finding myself.

When people see my paintings or other art work they ask me where this talent was when I was young. I tell then I’m a late bloomer because I don’t know what other answer to give them. I don’t want to do the parent-blaming game as an escape route but I never did have positive reinforcement from my father. My mother was and (most of the time) is my biggest supporter. And say what you will about pointing fingers at parents for how we end up, it does affect you. It changes you. My husband was also a great supporter but of chosen aspects of my character. In the last year I have painted and drawn things I never knew I could. What was the sudden urge I had to go and buy paintbrushes, paint and some canvas? I don’t know. Thinking back, it was like a dam of creativity had broken and was free to flow its natural course. Where was it all before? Why didn’t I know I was so artistically inclined?

It really is a different me. I am calmer. I love sarcasm still, that’s just me. I love characters like Chandler Bing and Dr.Gregory House and their venomously sarcastic humour. I’m not negative though. Though many questions remain unanswered I still choose to think good things. It all starts from the mind doesn’t it?

It is also everyone’s personal journey. I was in conversation with a friend recently who still thinks the way I used to think. When she tells me her grievances I can see chooses to see only the bad side and if I try to show her the other side she isn’t ready to see it. She said to me that to get over one man, you need to be involved with another.  I told her that what I have learned is that first you need to love yourself, be comfortable in your own skin and feel complete before looking for companionship. That the other person should not be someone who completes you but another complete entity themselves and together these two wholes, i.e. you and the other person should like spending time with each other and sharing each other’s lives. She told me that to love oneself and be happy by oneself is only possible for a saint. We parried back and forth for a few minutes before I decided to let it go. She hasn’t reached that state of mind where she can assess these things and that’s fine.

You cannot rush someone else in their journey. Everyone likes to give advice but very few like receiving it and even fewer like paying heed. It took a very big turmoil for me to reassess the way I think and the way my negative thoughts have shaped my life for so long. I did the best with the tools I had then. I am better equipped now and know the importance of letting go. My friend has started a new phase of life with her man, they got married a week ago and only the best wishes are sent forth from my mind for them always.

Back in the day I chose to wallow in every single little thing that went wrong and all my conversations were series after series of complaints. One would think nothing ever went well for me and it wasn’t true at all. I was so lucky in so many ways, if nothing I had a great education, a creative mind, family and friends and a man who loved me. The very last part is subject to speculation as I have already stated I don’t know the whole truth there, I have heard so many different versions that I don’t know which, if any one, is real. I was blessed and I chose to nitpick the areas in which I lacked what I believed I deserved. And in thinking that way I probably did get what I deserved. I’ve learnt a lot, this last year has been like a (useful) university degree in all that it has taught me. I now know who I am and I make no apologies. I still have so much to learn and experience but I know this much, I will not go down without a fight.

Snip+Chop=Bob

I remember writing about my hair in a post a few months ago. It wasn’t a post about hair. It was this. So after the title and the hint, it gives me great pleasure to announce (to those who haven’t guessed) that I’ve gone and cut off my long hair! Want proof? Here you go:

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FYI: The wet patch below my bob is from the hair wash. Just saying.

What do you all think? I think I can work it! Uh-huh, uh-huh. Ok…. Moving on…. I’ve played with my hair a lot since I started growing it out of the ridiculously-sounding-and-ridiculous-looking Diana Cut that I was forced to get every time my hair threatened to grow longer than my chin (between the ages of 3 and 9 I believe). Oh, and if you’re wondering, the Diana Cut is named after Princess Diana and her infamous cut. I shudder at the thought now of my bushy bob! I grew it long, way past my waist by the age of 11 and then went and got a chic shoulder length cut a year later. After that, over the years, the length of my hair changed, in a comical graph, one that was devastating for my mum (who looooves long hair) and inspirational for my sister (she who lives vicariously through my hair adventures, she who is too sissy to try out much). I had been growing it in length for many years prior to my most recent lob though, since 2009 I think. I would get a trim now and then but that was about it.

Why is it that for a girl, moving on or getting over a rut or a proclamation of “I need a change” more often than not involves a haircut? I don’t know but I’m so glad I’m a girl. At least the only thing I have to constantly adjust is my hair. *ahem* What is wrong with me today? Let’s blame it on the cheeky haircut! I don’t know how evident it is in the photograph but it is an A-line bob, the inverted bob if you prefer, you know the bob that is longer in front and shorter at the back. Think of Victoria Beckham. Got the look? Ok, now stop thinking of Victoria Beckham.

If I need to reiterate after all the gushing above, I LOVE IT! I love my new haircut. I have really thick hair and with my new-found interest in working out, it was such a pain, my head would over-heat like those cartoon characters but alas, I don’t have the steam vent that they always seem to have hanging around to left off excess. I don’t use styling/heat tools for the most part (unless it is a special occasion) and let my hair air dry and it takes hours, from afternoon to night, to dry naturally. And it has literally been a load off my head, those who have thin hair will never understand how much hair can weigh! Oh, and if you ever want to get compliments for your long hair, chop it off. People love to compliment you for things once they’re gone. *eye roll*

Aside from the facts that (a) I needed a change, (b) I was in a hair-length rut and (c) I love short hair, something good came out of me getting it chopped. Hair with the length that I got cut off is very useful in making wigs and the salon I went to, Hakim Aalim’s at Brunton Road, Bangalore donate all the long hair they cut off to make wigs for cancer patients who have lost their hair! Isn’t that wonderful? Giving yourself a makeover and sharing a bit of joy with those that need it? It’s a win-win!

(At my hairstylist’s request, I am sharing his contact details here. His name is Abdul and number is +91-9886829515. He did a great job with my hair, I found him online and he has rave reviews all around. If you find yourselves in Bangalore needing a great cut, give the guy a call! I know I’ll definitely go back to him the next time I visit Bangalore.)

A Bread Analogy

An Indian flat bread that requires no oil, no raising agent and no resting time is roti or chapati. There are many ways to make them. They are also made with whole wheat flour typically. Lately, since it has been available, I am a huge fan of multi grain flour. My mum has always kneaded her flour with warm/hot salted water with a touch of ghee (clarified butter) towards the end of the kneading process. Her chapatis are soft and pliable and stay soft even overnight, in case you want to have the leftovers to make a breakfast wrap. Chapatis are also called tava rotis in the Northern parts of India as they are cooked on a tava. A tava is the flat or slightly curved pan usually made of iron that is placed on a stove top or open fire and used to cook flat breads. Another variant is the phulka, kneaded with cold water and no salt, which starts off on a tava for the first turn and then the second turn is onto a direct flame where they puff up like little balls of goodness. These taste best as soon as they are puffed up. If not, they have to be stored in an airtight container as they have a tendency to go a bit hard if left to cool uncovered. These should be eaten fresh, no breakfast wraps from leftovers. So where am I going with all this you ask? Let me explain. For both the chapati and phulka there are two turns to be made. The rolled dough is put on the tava and after a while it is turned. Then after a while longer it is turned again onto the tava in the chapati’s case and on to the open flame in the phulka’s case. For the chapati, when small bubbles start to form, pressing them with a flat ladle (I don’t know what else to call it) will ensure that the whole thing puffs up nicely and when you eat it you will get two different layers. Similarly with the phulka, once it hits the open flame it puffs up into a nice fluffy pillow. Below is the progression of a chapati. image Now that you know all you need (and probably more than you wanted) to know about Indian flat breads, I still haven’t said what the analogy is. The analogy is probably not a new one and somewhere along the lines of ‘the brightest metals are forged by the hottest fires’. There is a saying about that, isn’t there? That is what I was getting at, that sometimes to be your best you must go through a few problems, maybe get scorched a bit and maybe have to fall into an open flame. But at the end of the day if you’re alive and can believe in a better tomorrow it’s all good isn’t it? It might not seem so when you’re getting your behind burned but later you’ll thank the flames for making you stronger. One day. As for the chapati/phulka, they’re just so damn tasty!! And yes, I was kindly informed by WordPress that my blog is more than a year old now! Yay, Happy Birthday to my blog! So, who’s bringing the cake then?

A Down Under Dream

I’ve wanted to move to Australia for a long time. If there was a place I’d love to live in permanently other than Dubai it would have to be Australia. I really don’t know why, considering I’ve never actually been there. It is an urge, like a compass needle compulsively pointing North. Maybe it has something to do with the tourism Australia advertisements. If so, they’re doing a fantastic job aren’t they? Forget visiting, I want to embrace your country and live there for the rest of my life. Maybe not quite what they had in mind.

But that is what I want. I want to work there and make friends. I want to have pets and a garden and a window with a sill wide enough for me to sit on, wrapped in an afghan and read a book. I want to get together with neighbours and have barbies (barbecues, not the plastic dolls). I want to have a cosy little café where I can bake and write in the morning and throw open the doors to happy customers in the evenings for coffee, tea and baked goodness. I want to paint and sell my paintings in my café. I want to say things like arvo and mate and not sound weird. I want to speak with that unique accent after a few years that so many find strange.

I once went to a immigration agency with my husband (who was just humouring me, he had no intention of moving anywhere with me and was probably even then planning to leave) and found out a bit about moving to Australia. I was counting on him to be the rock as you know my career wasn’t doing too well. The cost kind of put me off, I don’t remember how much they had quoted exactly but I believe it was around INR 2,000,000. That would be around AUD 37,735 approximately, given today’s exchange rate. Is it really that expensive? I wouldn’t know as I haven’t checked elsewhere but I have heard that it is easier to go through an agency than to wade through the paperwork and applications solo.

It is almost two years later since my meeting with the immigration agency people. Costs will surely have gone up. I have been unemployed since last September, not something I planned to stretch for this long sans bun in oven. I have no savings anymore. All these things are probably conducive to me remaining put but I really don’t want to.

I’m writing my second novel (the first is an unfinished fledgling but not abandoned) and plan to take it to completion with this NaNoWriMo. I then plan to start the process (tedious, I hear) of getting it published. When I was away last month I gave a few interviews, only one for an architecture job. Just being in an architect’s office makes me have an almost physical reaction, like falling down a dark endless hole I know will end up in the infernos commanded by Lucifer. So that is a no go then. I then tried for a graphic design job where I was offered an unpaid trainee position which I did not take, looking for greener pastures and all that. I tried wedding planning after that. Again an unpaid offer to work for three to four months and then if they liked my work they’d hire me. Needless to say the unpaid bit was very off-putting. How was I expected to live in a metropolitan city where I would have to rent and use public transport (which isn’t cheap) and in other words survive without an income?

Spending long hours wallowing in my friend’s house after she and her mother had left for work, calling up people for job vacancies threatened to send me back down into the despair I’d left behind a few months back. Once back home, it didn’t seem so bad. But the nagging thought is still there, I need to earn, to be independent again, to support myself and my family when they need me. It makes me feel a bit of a failure every time my mind registers that I’m living on my parents’ charity though they wouldn’t think to call it anything other than love.

There are so many questions. How do I begin rebuilding a career path? Should I put all my eggs in one basket and hope my writing will earn me the title of novelist and shower me with enough money to live comfortably? I know I don’t want to work for someone else any more. I think I have it in me to give it a go alone. But in what field? Will practising architecture seem less repulsive if I do it alone? Or should I give more importance to my art and designing capabilities? I also have a love of baking and the café idea is very appealing but do I take a loan and put myself in debt to pursue this or do I wait for when I have a comfortable cushion in my account before attempting it? As you can tell, I’m not confused at all. It doesn’t help that I’ve found talents in me that were hidden before, like the drawing, painting and designing.

I know I should be thankful that I am blessed enough to be good at not just one thing, but many. I am. And I don’t mean to sound boastful at all, usually I am the last to admit it and compliments are still hard for me. Knowing what I want to do in life (writing, painting, owning a café) is not that difficult. It is learning how to make those things start earning me a living that I’m grappling with. And how will these things lead me to Australia? Any kind Aussie man who wants to marry me and take me with you? No? Oh well, it was worth a try.

A Time Gone Forever

Just a couple of weeks ago, I woke up as usual and reached for my phone, a safe distance away from my head and tapped the Facebook icon. Yes, that is the way most mornings begin for me nowadays. What I read made me bolt upright and rub my eyes, as cliché as that might sound. A girl who I was best friends with at school more than 10 years ago had posted a RIP to her husband as her status. The pit of my stomach felt hollow as I read through disbelievingly and then reread it. She is younger than I am and though I do not know how young her husband was, he was probably not more than a couple of years older than I. I don’t know how he died or any of the details. All I know is I cried for my friend of so many years ago, unable to place myself in her position and feeling so so bad for her and her four year old boy.

I wrote her a private message wishing her strong support in her difficult time and offering up my time any time she needed me. I got a simple thank you back. In truth there is no support I could offer her. We haven’t had a conversation for many many years, just the yearly birthday posts on each other’s walls. I wouldn’t know where to begin talking to her about something as serious as her husband’s passing. I didn’t know anything about him except what was posted on Facebook.

I don’t mean to sound selfish and steer the boat back in my direction but I believe we, as humans, understand from a viewpoint of self. That is to say, we empathise, we put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and try to imagine ‘what that must feel like’ that they’re going through; because we might not have experienced an identical situation. I am separated from my husband, I haven’t seen him in nearly a year, I have spoken to him only twice on the phone in that time, both times to discuss divorce proceedings. It pains me that his voice in my head isn’t as strong as it used to be but I cannot imagine the pain I’d be in to wrap my head around him not being at all.

I remember the last few days we spent together and his telling me to pretend he was dead (so I could get over him) and me tearfully saying that it would have been better to him leaving me willingly. I realise now that it was a childish and also a passive aggressive remark. I’m working on that area of my personality, trust me. It is taking long as I had behaved that way, unchecked, for a long time. It was so silly of me to say what I did then. What did I think, that he’d feel sorry for me and stay? Something apparently he had done before. Had I wanted that, to be loved out of pity? It feels ridiculous now, exactly the opposite of what love should be. I don’t want someone to stay with me out of pity! I want to be loved because the person cannot not love me.

These revelations come to me in bits and pieces. I still feel that awful twang of sorrow and loss sometimes, not as often as before but PMS can be a bitch! But I sometimes also have moments of clear vision where I see that it never would have worked, not the way things were going. I’ve read so much on the subject now, about learning to love myself, to be complete and not search for another to complete me, that I think armed with this knowledge things could have gone differently. Maybe we’d be holding hands 50 years down the line as we watched our children and grandchildren chatting around the table for family gatherings. Or maybe we wouldn’t have married at all. That would involve turning back time, rewriting the past and a whole lot of reading I didn’t have the time to do back then.

That’s just it though, isn’t it? We do our best with what we know when shit happens. We do not have the option of pausing that moment, getting the low down on what’s happening, reading up on solutions and then coming back to un-pause and deal with the situation with our newfound wisdom and problem-solving skills. We don’t get a warning, we don’t get a second chance and we definitely don’t know everything we should when it matters. We also (mostly) don’t get to say our thank you’s, I love you’s and goodbyes because we store them up for a time we imagine will matter. What we don’t imagine is that we might not have time – the most capricious of all, finding great pleasure in remaining indelible and yet too fleet-footed to capture for more than a moment.

A Good Idea And A Terrible One

Yesterday I was reading something deep and ponderous and suddenly, I had this idea for a story. A story that holds so much potential! Before I run with this idea and dream about how a horde of publishers will knock down my door in their desperation to – what else – publish it, I have to do some research and see whether anyone else has ever had this same thought and written about it.

Considering that the check goes my way, I think I have something great on my hands! I usually avoid too many exclamation points but I’m just excited here. I actually have a book that is still in the initial couple of chapters. I have a weird variety of writer’s block that kind of has a one way mirror effect (or is it two way?) every time I think of continuing writing the book. It can see me, from its humble abode that is MS Word but I am blind to it. It is a story I really do want to write and I know I am capable. I am just waiting for the block to melt away. Ok, I just sound like I’m making excuses here so I’ll stop.

By the way, I don’t know if anyone noticed but I wasn’t present here for a while. I was off travelling in search of something to pay the bills and feed my tummy. No, nothing so far. So, I had a new phone connection by the name of Idea. Most of my readers (assuming there are any) probably don’t know about this cellular network, it is an Indian homegrown one belonging to Aditya Birla. And frankly, it sucks. I have been a loyal customer of Vodafone and other than their lousier-than-believable customer care I had no complaints. But this, Idea, it caused premature greying and frayed nerves. One fine day, the service just decided to up and quit. Only emergency calls. I did all the usual, turning the phone off and on, turning the mobile data off and on, nothing worked. I had to go find an internet place and pay my (undue for another 10 days) bill to regain service.

Considering I only opted for an Idea connection out of neighbourly pity (not love) because my mother asked me, very nicely. Our neighbour has an Idea showroom and wanted to meet sales. If her agenda and mine were lines, they’d be parallel and never meet. I was given a plan I didn’t want and a postpaid connection when I preferred prepaid (because I like to put a limit to my phone spending). So my paltry 1GB data allowance runs out in 7 days approx. and then I’m paying for internet when I don’t even download anything to my phone!

Anyway, the saga is too boring for me to type out. The neighbour arranged for her store manager to call, I complained about them leaving me without a connection while out of town and said once I am back home I’d change my connection. Apparently my rudeness was so unparalleled that he refused to call me again when I complained to neighbour lady about my net speed being down to 10kbps. They adamantly refuse to acknowledge anything wrong with their service (while everyone fool enough to have got an Idea connection in the first place is undertaking a mass exodus to other networks as we speak) and refuse to address a customer’s complaint. Kudos. We Indians do have a winning work philosophy!

Long story short, I am back on Vodafone and my nerves are smooth again. So that was my explanation of my absence for around three weeks. Blame it on the internet service provider! I missed reading everyone’s posts and I’m having a grand time catching up with all I’ve missed. Happy reading to me!

Turning Point

I just started reading a book called One Day by David Nicholls and it begins with this quote from Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations: “That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But, it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it and think how different its course would have been. Pause, you who read this, and think for a long moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on that memorable day.”

It is rare for a book to speak to me from the very first page. Usually it takes a little warming up to and a couple of chapters for me to get used to the style and language. In this case, I have read only a few pages before I had to stop to write this post. I never judge a book by the first few pages because many books I have loved and hold dear to me have started off in the most drab way. I admit, I had never heard of David Nicholls or his book(s?). I had however, seen ads for the movie titled One Day on Romedy Now for many months without ever coming across the movie itself. It looked interesting and the other day while I was browsing channels it was on, almost to the end, but it was on all the same. I watched the last few minutes and it intrigued me. When I watched the credits and found out it was an adaptation from a book, I switched on my Kindle and a few minutes later, I had it in my hand. 

Don’t judge me for my Kindle please. I have been an avid reader all my life and I have no qualms about admitting how much I love my Kindle. It was a gift from my husband at a time when I thought I was the love of his life. It was the most thoughtful gift I have ever received in my life and even though I feel a little weird inside for keeping it when I have returned everything else, I can’t help myself. It allows me to read anywhere, anytime (as long as I remember to charge the batteries every now and then) without worrying about ill-treating my book in my bag where it’ll suffer as it gets banged around all day, all books weigh the same on a Kindle and I can read in bed without disturbing the person sleeping beside me, namely my sister. Don’t let your imagination wander too far in my case, if there is any change to the bed sharer (maybe in a decade or two) it’ll be formally announced here.

Back to the point, we do all have that moment, that day which leads to a series of decisions and events good or bad or most likely a mix of both. I can remember mine as clear as day. It was my first date. The first time a boy had asked me out to dinner in a restaurant and come to pick me up. The first time a boy had expressed exclusive interest in me, self-labelled wallflower. I was flattered, I felt grown-up and there was a crackle in the air between us as we sat opposite each other at Turning Point. I kid you not, the restaurant was called Turning Point, an avant-garde (unintentionally I believe) building reminiscent of the Flatiron Building of New York. It was there that the whole story of him and I started, one rainy, damp evening in June of ’05.

I think back and how apt it seems. The turning point of my life started in a place of dining named so. Oh yes, there is the small detail of how the journey derailed 8 years down the line. Shall I foray into that oft-trodden path again? Not tonight. Tonight I want to remember without tainting my memories. That evening in June, he sent shivers down my spine the way he gazed at me as we asked each other preliminary questions and learned a bit of one another’s stories. I had never felt that way with anyone. Like I said, the air crackled. I wasn’t at my most comfortable because it was my first date with someone as good as a stranger and that is the recipe for awkwardness but he seemed to be at ease as he teased me a little and made me blush. He seemed to be interested in me, this might sound pathetic but I kept waiting for someone or even him to suddenly pop up, point and laugh at me – the victim of a practical joke. That will tell you all you need to know about my self-confidence (or lack of).

Despite all my doubts it was a beautiful night for me and I will assume it was for him as well. It spoke of many more meetings, of getting to know each other better and left open the windows through which I feasted on the vistas of my ripe imagination. No, it wasn’t love at first sight for me as he claimed it was for him (not the date, the actual first time he saw me, at college) but I could sense with my female intuition that this man would play some key role in my life. I knew I would always remember that night because it was my first date, it was my first time dining in a restaurant alone with a boy and it was the first time I felt that warm toasty feeling when someone pays you undivided attention, even though it was raining outside and the air conditioning in the restaurant was cranked up higher than necessary.

There was so much possibility hanging in the air, so much left unspoken. By the end of dinner, during which I only nervously picked at my food, I knew he found me attractive. It was a strangely intoxicating feeling. This without alcohol involved, I was underage and in India we don’t usually drink on the first date. Maybe I’m wrong and things are different now, I wouldn’t know. I was a very simple girl back then (I haven’t changed much except that I now know various ways to apply eyeliner, can do basic makeup – though I prefer barefaced and my sense of style has evolved – thank God!), I wore glasses, I had my hair in a ponytail and dressed exclusively in jeans and t-shirts. I never considered myself the girl guys notice (still don’t), I usually fit into the ‘friend of the girl guys notice’ category. It was all new for me, the attention of someone as great as him. So many years have passed since then. I lost his love a long time ago and didn’t know it. If I am honest with myself and you I still love him. I know I shouldn’t but it has come to be an emotion tied to him. Maybe I won’t ever find love again (I positively exude the “committed” vibes men run away from) and that’s okay.

I won’t ever forget that night. Because, you know what, that is the one day/night that would have changed the course of my life if struck out.

My Hormones Have A Sense Of Humour

Yes, you read the title right. My hormones control my life to a huge extent and they seem to enjoy taking the piss, unlike most other people’s, which are well-behaved and just carry out their assigned tasks in a timely, monotonous manner.

Everyone has those pesky neighbours whose curtains twitch every time your doorbell rings and who lurk as close to your house as possible when there are raised voices. Now imagine these neighbours live inside your head. Joy of all joys. There is no conversation I can have with others or myself, audible or imaginary (Come on, we all talk to ourselves! You do, don’t you? Is it just me?! Oh, you do. Thank God.) that will get past my hormones. They are the most compulsive eavesdroppers ever. I’ll look in the mirror before bed and whisper to myself that I haven’t had a pesky pimple on my jawline for a while and the next morning my hormones (to be known henceforth as ‘Enemy of the Body’ or EOTB in short) will have worked all night to gift pack and deliver one in the exact place I had in mind.

Another thing EOTB takes immense pleasure in is aligning zits in a geometrical practical joke. Right now for instance, I have four starting from the center of my left cheek, running in a straight line down to below my lips. I couldn’t have arranged it better myself if I used a ruler and a pencil! I wonder what goes through its mind, is it supposed to be a testimony to how much time it spends trying to ruin my life? Like the thoughtful girlfriend who gets her boyfriend as many gifts as his years, but turned on its head in this instance, of course. Or maybe it is making fun of my artistic tendencies, I’ve had circles, diamonds and triangles on my face too.

EOTB has also taken it as its sole duty to prevent me having a positive face image. I try to look past it but you know how it is when you try to avoid something, it is all you see. Any job which requires me to have a clear, blemish-free face is off limits. Sure, I can feign indifference and go for the interviews anyway and then inevitably return home and cry into my pillow like a child. It makes it quite impossible for me to take a compliment about how I look, the fact that I find it tough to take any kind of compliment is a different story.

The only time EOTB lost its potency was a few years when my dermatologist blasted its supply center with a particularly strong variety of vitamin A. I thought he’d tamped it down for good, taught it its place and subdued its trouble mongering. But no, it was lying dormant, in wait, much like Voldemort in the Harry Potter series, plotting and planning its revenge.

You know why I’m not addressing EOTB directly? Because frankly it scares me, it scares me a lot. As I said before, nothing gets past it, even now it is peeking over my shoulder, reading, as I write, edit and rewrite. I know it has a lot of anger to get out. I tried to rob it of its power while it was probably trying to warn me to start living my life differently. What I’m trying to do is come to a compromise. I have cleaned up my eating habits, giving up sugar, refined flour and milk was not easy for me. I rarely cheat on my resolution. I work out at least four days a week. The last couple of weeks I’ve been living out of a suitcase and that has made it a bit difficult to stick to the plan. Can’t I be given a break once in a while though? I’m trying my best.

I’m proposing that we meet halfway. I’m alright with a couple of unwanted guests a month. EOTB has been the bane of my existence for upwards of 15 years, haven’t I done my time? Or is this a life sentence? I just want to know so I can accept my fate. I cannot walk down every street in fear of EOTB lurking around dark corners poised to jump out and reveal the contents it hides under its shady trenchcoat. Really, I just want to be adults and sort this issue out.