I’ve already established that my life hasn’t gone according the gameplan. But there’s plenty that I never even accounted for in the plan, that did happen. So much that it never even occurred to me to think of or wish for, that actually happened to me along the way.
I met a girl in junior college. She was smart and beautiful. I thought she liked me too but I didn’t know why and I was never sure of it anyway. Then we had a fight and didn’t talk to each other for a long time. I got to know her again, the year I was preparing for the b-school entrances. Then as luck would have it, we fought again and parted ways. And quirky as ever (Lady luck, such a cat, such a dotty old bat) we ended up within a single point of each other in the thousands of people who’d taken the admission test. We went to the same college, we saw a lot more of each other, before I knew it we were bonding. At the end of those tumultous two years, she was the only one standing next to me, propping up my mortal remains. My best friend, my soul-sister, my prize for having endured all those other painful relationships. I am so blessed to have her in my life.
My earliest memory of writing is age 4, penning (okay, pencilling at that age) a song about a bus, using an upright soap box for inspiration. I contributed to the college magazine, two years in a row, that brought me the sweet appreciation of a teacher whose classes I’d never attended, only because she was also the magazine editor. She gifted me ‘The Little Prince’, one of my most treasured possessions. My teenage years were marked with angsty, angry and secret writing that was abruptly snuffed and revived (my version of self-mutilation). And then there was the blog. And another. Comments. Links. Emails. Friendship. Blogger-meets. Group-blogs. Editorship. Media mentions. An audience. A space to call my own. A world of my own.
The relationship was the turning point in my life and I can clearly see my life as pre- and post- that experience. All along I had been fed the idea of independence, of liberatedness and of not needing a man to be happy. But it was only after going through that nightmare did I truly experience that understanding, in my very bones. For months afterward, I was jolted awake by a new emotion – immense, overwhelming gratitude. I couldn’t believe just how lucky I was, what a narrow escape I had had that I had not ended up married – or worse, pregnant – with him. I really felt like I had been granted a reprieve in life. And that feeling slowly evaporated, giving way to hardness, an unshakeable faith that I would rather be alone than go through that again. I remember reading Gone With The Wind, a gift from my favorite cousin, in which she had inscribed,
This is not a book about love or the war. It’s about never giving up.
It was my personal Tara moment, when I promised myself that I’d never cry over a man again.
I don’t know whether that was a good thing or a bad thing. It is a fact that I’ve never had a real, lasting relationship since then. I’ve also never been broken or defeated since then. I’ve lost the desire, the aching need to belong to someone and with it, I’ve also relinquished trust in men and caring about their opinions. Yes, I’ve been alone for over six years now (relationship status independent). I’d be lying if I said I was never lonely. Far from it, I’m lonely more often than I like but each time I am, I just have to think back to this time and I know I don’t regret my desicions.
My state of mind has spread to every other aspect of my life too. I used to be the girl who always wrote postcards on vacation, called up people and asked, “Why don’t you ever call me?”. In these past few years, I can’t remember the last conversation I’ve had to initiate, the last time I’ve chased after anyone for affection or friendship. I am not necessarily proud of it and I really admire the people in my life who are there solely on the basis of their effort and very little of mine, often forgetting that I used to be them a short few years back. But I’ve just gone too far into walking alone and the ability to reach out which comes from a need to bond with other people closely has just been burned right out of my being.
My career and everything else I do has changed too. I never thought of myself as an ambitious person; not me, the back-bencher, the almost-dropout. But in the past few years I’ve found myself with so much of time and energy and a desire to burn it away as fast as possible so I have no time to get into messes. It seems to be showing results. I’m doing well in everything that I’ve taken up since then, my work, my hobbies and my activities. I still can’t get used to it though. After having been branded a loser with no future, I seem to have grown a Midas touch. It’s scary.
I can’t change the fact that I am a passionate, fiery person. So all I’ve done is unconsciously divert all my energy from personal relationships into my activities. It can’t be all bad and it keeps me engaged and brings me a lot of attention and respect, something I never would have thought would be mine in such magnitude.
In sum, I had a vague idea that I’d be ‘happy’ in ten years time. I don’t have a straight answer to whether I am or not. But I also never thought to wish for independence, admiration and success and they seem to have fallen into my lap, quite inadvertently. Ah well…life, that crazy old bat, be careful if she invites you around to tea. There’s no telling what she’ll put into it.