Monday, January 02, 2006
Having a brother such as mine made me realize that optimists are not really popular people. I would always try to cheer him and he used to mistake it for a surreptitious endeavor to bump him off from his desolate pedestal. In fact, in a rather circumvent way, he once mentioned that all the people who were assassinated were people who wanted to make others happy – against their wish.
Well, there may be some truth in that. Right now, my new year has begun on a rather low note. I find myself single, jobless, without the book I was hooked on to, and with no luck of finding a Pulp Fiction DVD. It is rather tempting and cosy, in fact, to sulk and feel low and not be bothered by happy friends who dish out advice such as, ‘Plenty of fish in the sea. You should know that, Mukta, after all you’re from Mumbai’ (Reference to Mumbai because it is close to the sea – there are certain leaps of logic my pal is given to. She’s a lawyer, so one doesn’t ask her to explain things much.) The worst is, ‘Pulp Fiction? You haven’t seen it? You haven’t seen it? (repeat twice more in tones of labored disbelief.)You should’ve when you had the chance.’ Oh well.
So, as tempting as it is to crawl under a rock and hurl it at some unsuspecting busybody, I can’t. Because I’m an infernal optimist committed to blinking stupidly at the sun while getting awashed in cancerous rays. I’m damned to be happy.
To start with, although I hadn’t expected to begin 2006 single, it isn’t half-bad. In fact, singlehood is now familiar territory. One briefly goes on a vacation expecting balmy beaches and baked bananas on yachts. Then it rains and the natives stage an insurgence, so you must abandon the vacation and come away. For a while you are flummoxed. You took the trip because you saw the brochures and liked what it offered. There were emerald pools and people with olive skin tones sipping Pina Colada from tall glasses. There was nothing about restless natives or angry rain clouds.
Anyway, so there you are – with luggage in hand, looking like a soggy raccoon. But then you enter your room, the room of singlehood, that you had left in such haste. The bed looks warm, there is Coke in the mini-fridge, the table lamp is still not working, and your favorite novel lies upturned on the bedside table. You took a trip, you made a journey, and now you’re home.
Now that I am single, I know exactly what is going to happen, if past experience is anything to go by. I will read better books, watch stupid films because the good ones will release around Valentine’s Day, sketch more, and become more of an annoying optimist. Somehow, my belief in happy endings gets stronger every time I don’t have one myself.
So, without a fixed job and soul mate, there are possibilities. That means that I can spend the rest of my life exploring them. That is nice but would be better with steady cash flow. On the other hand, the imposed penury will probably hone my resourceful spirit that lies smothered in comfortable exile now.
Another thing to be really upbeat about is the new breakfast menu at Mocha. I’m sure it has been around for a while, but I just found out about it today. I tried a Tasmanian omelette that wasn’t very fluffy, but it had strips of spicy lamb in it. That made it less blah.
I got a pair of silver sandals that, frankly, are too pretty for my feet. But they are silver and they are sandals and therefore, it must be deduced that I am delighted.
My cousin came to meet me. He is always such great fun to be with. He is in the movies and insisted on giving me a narration of a script that he wanted to pitch. It was midnight and I really wanted to write my diary about how upset I was, when he told me, sweet as honey, ‘Come on! That’s not important. Listen to me!’ Honestly, where would all the sad people be without the self-centered individuals in the world? They are more effective than optimists.
Now, I thought a narration would probably take a half-hour tops. But no, it went on for four tiring hours where my cousin not only narrated the script, but enacted it as well. And I was required to participate.
‘See, this character has been a lonely child. He grows up to be a lonely adult. He can’t handle people. He can’t handle space with people. He feels isolated. Do you feel the isolation, Chinky?’
‘Yawn! Yes, isolation…good stuff.’
‘Feel the isolation, Chinky! You won’t understand the story unless you feeeel the isolation.’
‘Listen, has anyone ever broken up with you on New Year’s eve? Has that ever happened? Oh I feeel the isolation all right!’, I snap.
‘That’s all? Let me tell you about the financer who backed out of my movie at the last minute. Or wait, let me also tell you about the financer who backed out mid-way during my second film. You know, that’s what you call a break-up, not this stupid juvenile nonsense!’, he fumes.
Stupid juvenile nonsense, my chipped toe-nail! I want to find both those financers and give them high-fives.
Anyway, I was made to feel the isolation with my cousin going out of the room and switching off the light for two minutes. Then he came back and continued with the story.
‘This guy then murders his brother. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!’ That’s my cousin banging the pillow with my thesaurus. My mother comes up running and bops cousin behind the ear when he tells her that no, he isn’t dying but merely giving me a feel of the drama.
And after the entire story is told and retold from every character’s perspective, he gets some Coke and we sip in silence.
It’s now 4 a.m. and I remind him that I have fever and I must go to bed.
‘Okay’, he says and switches off the light. My stomach is churning from the memories of my vacation when I was happy and blissfully unaware that there was trouble afoot.
‘You know something?’, cousin whispers.
‘Looks like your typhoid lasted longer than your relationship. He he!’, he grins.
‘Tell me about those financers again,’ I pipe up.
‘Shut up!’, he says and goes away to sleep.
Well, that’s another blessing – cousins who can make you smile in the dark.
Other blessings include me having lost 5 kilos and looking like, umm, well, looking like someone who has lost 5 kilos.
Another thing that makes me glad is that this is my hundredth post.
Like I said, I’m damned to be happy.