Happily Unmarried

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Of birthdays, babies, beaches and Big

I finished turning 27. And this year, I did it in style, in Goa. Radically different from last year, when I spent three quarters of the day in bed, with unbrushed teeth, crying, sorely missing home, missing Big (who had smsed, not called and not showed up) and eating just one takeaway meal – oily lasagna from Candies late in the evening, and rounding it off with Ocean's 12 with Kavneet (who shares my b'day) at Fame Adlabs, where she slept though the movie after a long day at work.

R called me a loser for heading to Goa at the first given chance. It’s a Bombay, yuppie thing, she said. And considering it was my second trip in just over a month, I have to confess that’s not wholly untrue. The place is addictive. Though food is a bit of a bummer for a steadfast vegetarian like me, there are enough indulgences to get decadent. And if the debauchery is getting out of hand, there is always the sea and the sunset to bring on introspection.

I am beginning to think I have Wailing Child Karma on flights. After a mad dash to the airport from work, just after I sat down to breathe and thank god that I hadn’t missed the flight, it arrived with its hapless looking parents. I mean, in a Goa borne A320 generously and surprisingly strewn with good looking men, why should I have been the one sitting next to Shrieking Child and its parents? (But like I encouragingly says, someday, I will have three wailing kids in my lap and there will be a hunk in the next seat. She goes on to add that Murphy’s Laws is our Bible.) I briefly considered changing seats but didn’t. And regretted it for the rest of the flight. It started with some playful gurgling before take off and soon, it proceeded to full-throated, robust screeching while the sheepish parents tried several amusing distractions.

Ironically, in a desperate attempt to tune off, I tried burying myself in the inflight magazine (Gladrags – since I was flying GoAir). And what should I come across but an article where the writer (a single woman) talks about how single people don’t really have such cool lives and they pretend to live it up only to validate the hype and mystique that surrounds our imaginary footloose and fancy free existence. And then she goes on to conclude that at heart, most single people are just bored and lonely and dying to get on to the couplehood boat. Though amusing in parts, with Shrieking Child getting progressive louder, the article seemed like a big annoying joke. Here I am, single, off to Goa for my birthday weekend, and this woman wants me to believe that I have a sorry existence while the prototype married couple next to me lives in La La Land. Yeah, sure.

Don’t get me wrong, god knows how badly I want to have a child, but I think, this whole – single vs. married people thing is getting a little out of hand, thanks to obsessive Americanism, now passed on to us Indians living in the metros. I’ve been part of a couple for a large part of my life and now I’m unattached; and I can say with some certainty that it’s like apples and oranges. Apples are a bit like being in a relationship; nourishing, wholesome, mellow and fulfilling. And oranges are somewhat like being single – tangy, nutritious in a fun way, made up of many little parts, and a little strange to look at from the inside. But they both have their seeds. And when rotten, god knows they both taste rotten. Rotten in different ways perhaps, but rotten all the same.

Anyhow, the flight was painful and despite telling myself repeatedly that someday, I too will have a child I’d have to travel with, I came up with various suggestions to airlines and to couples - have a special couples-with-kids section (better still, a couple-with-kids special flight – but the noise decibels will interfere with the signals, I’m afraid), sedate kids before a flight, feed them nonstop, warp them in a soundproof bag, not go on vacations at all…

This time around, I visited Mads, who’s on a sabbatical and is spending three weeks in Goa. Though I had just about two and a quarter days, it was so, so worth it.

Dinner at an arty café and socialising with two of Mads’ newfound friends (quintessential Goan men called Gary and Cagi, who sing, paint or do nothing in particular for a living), scouting for Continental restaurants so that I can eat my veg food, eating copious amount of pasta in white sauce with mushrooms, getting a body massage on the beach from a 16-year-old, worldly-wise girl Kannadiga called Anita, lunch and wine at Britto’s, sleeping through the sunset, authentic Italian dinner at Little Italy, listening to bad live music while getting an incredible head and shoulder massage from a guy called Daya at a place called Jazz Club, downing a Bloody Mary at a shack called Flying Dolhin (or was it White Dolphin?) while ushering in my birthday, breakfast and birthday phone calls at Infantaria, buying junk jewelry off the road in Calangute, shopping at Happily Unmarried (and quickly proceeding to have a crush on Rahul, the owner), getting my hair braided by Anita, more bad pasta at a shack, watching men play football against a glorious sunset on Calangute, dressing up for a fancy birthday dinner at a lovely, lovely al fresco Italian place called Fiesta, watching stars and fireworks on Baga, Irish coffee at Flying or White Dolphin and finally, waking up at 4.30 in the morning to catch a flight at 7.

And of course, endless conversations with Mads about love, life, universe, men, Mr. Big, Max, marriage, work and everything in between. This must have been the best birthday present I could have given myself.

Monday, it was back to work, almost straight from the airport. And the evening was, well, eventful. J was in town and we made dinner plans which never quite materialised. Instead, he came over and we talked till we could and then progressed to some very nice non-verbal communication and rounded it off with some serious hash. Someone should have warned me about hash though. I had no idea it can put five large whiskies AND grass to shame. Among various other hallucinations, I remember feeling like I was in an animated movie (set in the Sahara perhaps, because the thirst was killing me. And there was no water at home).

A little part of my brain fought very hard to stay sane and if it is to be believed, I didn’t say or do too many strange things. J left for the airport in the morning, leaving behind somewhat of a void. I’d forgotten how nice it felt just to be with him. Warm, comforting, easy. But then, like I told him, all relationships seem like milk and honey in retrospect, and you tend to forget all the incompatibility, ugly fights and ensuing tears. I miss him and sometimes wonder whether I did the right thing by letting him go. But in the light of day, it all seems clear enough; this time around, I have to learn to be with myself before I can be with someone.

Tuesday passed in a hungover haze and the evening brought a spectacular headache while I tried my best to have a good time with Meera at Candies and then at Out of the Blue over chamomile tea. And yesterday, I got talking with someone who so reminds me of Big, in so many ways. Especially the early days, when we furiously poured out our lives in front of each other, with 900 odd kilometers between us. It’s another mountain connection and so much of the conversation is deja vu. But then, may be not. Like Ikroop said last evening, there’s place for just one Big in every girl’s life. I have mine. And I don’t need another.

- H

1 Comments:

  • Indresh feels awfully hurt for not finding a place in your conversations in Goa musings. Boooohooooooooooo!! You can buy him strawberry tart from Brittos to compensate and nowhere else. He fell in love with it too...hehehe

    By Blogger Mads, at 10:30 PM  

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