of dancing

My heart races when I hear music. My life seems like it has a purpose. My feet begin to move, and then I start to sway, slowly. Slowly. Then my body begins to move and the music consumes me. Soon, I’m dancing as fast as I can.

Other people join in. I love that – being able to inspire other people to get up off their asses and dance – what the fuck else is life for, anyway?

And then it happens. Someone starts to move to my beat. He’s closer than I want him to be. I fight it at first. I turn around, close my eyes and keep dancing, shutting him and the rest of the world out – pretending that the music is for me and me alone. But he insists, and I give in.

We dance.

People stop dancing just to watch us. You guys are perfect.

And then it happens.

My feet stop moving. It feels strange – as though the music is not my own any more. Not my style. When did I learn those moves?

I’m doing it just to keep up with him. I can’t. I shouldn’t.

I turn around again, and close my eyes, trying to shut him out. But it’s too late. He’s there.

WP_20140907_001Arms collide. Soon, we’re stepping on each other’s toes. It begins to hurt. I want him to disappear. I don’t want to stop dancing, but he’s having such a good time it feels like it’d kill him to stop.

But if I stop he stops. So I start to pretend like I’m enjoying it. But it’s not my style. When did I learn that move?

I withdraw, just a little bit. And then a little bit more. And soon I’m standing and watching from the sidelines. I can hear the music but I can’t dance.

Someone else asks me to dance. I’m nervous at first, but I look at other women are wearing dresses and surely-uncomfortable pointy high-heels. They are dancing gracefully, almost gliding across the dance floor while I feel like a klutz.

But of course their feet hurt, coz high heels are not meant for dancing; they don’t let you the freedom you need to truly dance. I, in my tee and shorts and shoes ought to give it another try. I can do better. I deserve better.

We dance.

People stop dancing just to watch us. You guys are perfect.

And then it happens. Again.

He wants me to dance with him. Move with him like we’re one body. But we’re not, and I’m starting to feel cramped and the colliding limbs aren’t helping.

He’s puzzled. It’s like we’re suddenly dancing to different tunes.

I don’t know what to say to him. It’s not really his fault I feel like I should just dance alone.

My life is a fucking nightclub, and I’m starting to feel out of place.


P. S. This post was written in less than ten minutes.

of little lies and big truths

I was a gawky, socially awkward girl who found it difficult to make eye contact with other children – who seemed better off in every way imaginable. They were smarter, happier, better looking, more accomplished in every sense of the word possible. I ate lunch alone. I would choke on my words if someone ever asked me a question. I was completely inept at holding conversations. The only exception was perhaps the one time I spoke to Mister when I was eight.

At home, I was the eldest of three children. My mom traveled a lot, so I ended up taking on roles too big for me – I became the cook, the agony aunt, the mother, the judge – all too soon; I still remember chuckling as I thought about how she was the actor, but I got all her roles. My sister and I fought a lot, sometimes there were badminton rackets and bruises involved, but we were okay. My brother was nine years younger to me, and I practically raised him like my mom should’ve.

Sometimes it meant missing homework; sometimes it meant I could use it as an excuse to miss homework.

I lied.

Growing up, I craved an older brother, and found one in S., my cousin. He was technically six months younger to me, but he loved me and was very protective about me. I liked that. He was very affectionate and would often hug me and hold my hand. Sometimes he was really mean to me, but he once beat up a guy because he was looking at me inappropriately and that more than made up for the heartbreak.

Once, S accompanied me to the school fete. People just assumed that he was my boyfriend. The next Monday, the school was abuzz with gossip of me seeing a really good looking guy. The popular girls suddenly wanted to hang out with me. It make me even more awkward, but I did enjoy their attention.

People asked me where I met him.

I lied.

When I was 23, I finally fell in love with a great guy. I could see that he loved me back; he even looked up to me in a boyish sort of way. He made life so easy. I no longer had to really be responsible for anything. He placed no demands on me, and told me he felt that a woman only really belonged to herself.

It feels really naïve now, but I thought that I had found the perfect man – one who would shield me from the world. I thought that I wouldn’t have to deal with issues on my own – he would do the dealing from there on. I felt like marriage was the only way I was ever going to be safe again; I expected him to protect me from the world; he was going to be the rock I could hide behind.

Once we were married, the practicalities of life took over. He worked nights, and I worked during the day. So there was a whole lot I had to take care of on my own. I realized that I couldn’t really depend on him to give me a comforting shoulder when I’d had a bad day at work or a squabble with his mother. He wasn’t there.

His was a demanding job, so I tried to make his life as comfortable as I could. I took on household responsibilities in addition to my full-time job. I kept quiet when his mom called me a whore for wearing a skirt to office. I acquiesced when he said he wanted to drive to work because his cab took too long. I happily accommodated and took a rickshaw to work. I stopped asking him to visit my parents when he told me he was uncomfortable around them.

I missed him, but I valued the two days a week I got with him, and I taught myself to be content with that.

The first five years were basically peaceful co-existence. It didn’t bother me that he didn’t know the name of my doctor. It didn’t bother him that I forgot about his daily injections. He needed his space, and I happily gave it to him. He gave me my space too, but the alone-ness scared me, so I filled it up with crowded malls and shopping.

I realized that space had turned into distance; in my marriage I was isolated, quiet, and unnaturally passive. I was ‘okay’ with everything that happened to me; I didn’t have clear choices any more. My intellect was gathering dust and I kept brushing that dust under the carpet, where I thought it belonged. I had twisted myself to fit the mold that I thought would fit the alliance, and it was finally beginning to hurt.

But I desperately wanted my marriage to work.

I lied.

Then, one day, I was at a mall, alone, after work. I didn’t want to go home. That day it suddenly hit me – we weren’t really a couple; only two really different people desperately wanting to be one half of a couple. I was more desperate than him, and that was clear to me from the start.

My life was slipping out of my grasp and I needed to do something about it. So I quit. I walked out of his house with two big bags and a heart full of dread.

Suddenly, I was outside in the world, alone. I didn’t know how I was going to deal with it.

When I moved into my parents’ house, I was living out of my luggage. I didn’t have a room of my own; I didn’t belong there anymore. At some level I never really had.

I moved out and got a place of my own. The 1 BHK house seemed huge – I didn’t know what I was going to do with so many rooms. But when I finally settled down, I was surprised that I could occupy so much space. That is when I realized how cramped my existence had been – I had been living like a cooped-up bird in a cage; uncomfortable and with not nearly enough room to breathe and with no courage whatsoever to tell the truth.

And that is when I decided – no more lies.