Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bound By Contract

I'm beginning to suspect that Sheldon Cooper wasn't all wrong when it came to having a roommate agreement. I think all relationships should have a written contract. In marriages, the pre-nup is becoming quite the norm, but what about boyfriends and living-together-ness? In India, more than anywhere else, where the whole boyfriend-girlfriend thing is still quite nascent, given the background noise of "arranged marriages', it becomes of even greater import. Also, I'm sure it would be easier to navigate a relationship if there's a clearly set down roster of needs and expectations.

This entire thing has come to the forefront of my thoughts because I currently find myself in an un-relationship. The truth is while there's nothing really going on, this un-relationship is showing all the markings of something that could possibly strangle it.

Take for example the idea of space. In my life, space plays a very important role in my well-being. As a writer, I need a certain amount of space to think, stare at my ceiling in contemplative silence, listen to my fan as it turns creakily, watch mindless TV shows, etc. But mostly I need solitude.

Now insert into this picture, a boy apparently with a lot of time on his hands. To this time, he brings an almost continuous conversational chatter, the demands of "what do we eat / drink / watch / play / do?", the sweet yet cloying amorous advances. Add to this the demands of my regular day of meetings and deadlines and friends... I don't have a moment to myself!

Don't get me wrong, it's all very sweet and incredibly flattering. But I do have moments of supreme irritation. Like today, when he told me that he was going to meet some friends in another suburb, I found myself changing my going-out plans because i'd finally have the house to myself! I won't even talk about the number of times I've stepped out of my home simply because he was there, and I needed to get away. And I'll never breathe a word about the amount of that getaway time I've spent driving and making phonecalls. What a train-wreck!

Which brings me here. If having a relationship is about adding value to your life, and not just about driving you up the wall, then one needs to look at things which make your life full of value. In my case, it's my work.

I love writing. And reading. I like to watch films in the comfort of my home. I like to eat when I'm hungry and not so much otherwise. I like my glass of wine. Sometimes I have a lot of it. I love to hang out with biggish groups of friends. I like having independent and complicated relationships with people. I like giving all the people in my life one-on-one time. I like the fact that I'm not accountable to anyone. I enjoy sex but some days I'd rather read a book before i sleep. I like the freedom to not do something including opening the door or wearing clothes if it's that kind of day. I don't love having to keep the contents of my life a secret from my friends, even though it often works out that way.

(Yes, I can see why I've been single for so long.)

Notice the absence of "I love the way a man looks at me when he loves me" and other such lines? I realize it could be a result of having been single or in complicated scenarios for the last five years, but I find myself anti-mush. And in the spirit of Anti-Mushness, I feel there should be certain guidelines for every relationship to follow.

*Replace what you finish, fix what you break.
*Stay over only ____ number of days a week, and only ______ number of days back-to-back.
*If you're living together, make his-only and hers-only inviolate spaces in the house.
*Spend atleast 6 continuous hours away from each other during the day. This does not include sleep time.
*Spend time together outdoors.
*Make time to meet your pre-relationship friends as a single person. Don't hide away your partner, but don't be surgically attached either.

This is clearly a work in progress. While I work out the other details, maybe I should just have quoted Kahlil Gibran.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Gasp! Look at this!

It's different, yes. But the reason I decided to change the look of my blog was because I saw another one that looked exactly like mine. It's disconcerting to look in the mirror and then not see yourself.

Also, after five years or so of blogging about my life, I feel better about looking at things differently.

And, I have about 20 pages of writing to do, so what better way to procrastinate? :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tiny Explosions

He walks unperturbed through the landscape of my life, stepping on little minefields, while I watch open-mouthed wondering which one will finally tear him apart. But he continues regardless.

"So will you come over home and we could hang out?"

"Maybe you should spend a few days with me at my place..."

"Let's plan a short trip together."

"I love you."

"Baby, you have to stop saying that, it's just scary..."

"I know, I know.. even I wouldn't know what to do if you said it back to me..."

"I'm not saying anything back to you.."

"I know."

The background track changed to "Something Stupid".

He smiled at me as I wondered why I wasn't panicking.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hello You

I want to write something about you. I want to tell someone how different you are. I want to chuckle with someone about the fact that you think you're too honest for your own good. I hope you never change that about you. I want to tell you that when I smile at you, I'm actually marveling at your ability to wear your heart on your sleeve, and have arrow marks pointing to it. You seem fearless and vulnerable, a potent combination that makes you charming beyond belief. You make me want to not be cynical... to believe for just that one minute that pigs do fly and that the phoenix is born out of its own ashes. I want to explain what making someone feel beautiful means - and I want to invite you to the front of the class for show and tell. I want to tell everyone about you. You, my little secret.

Friday, May 6, 2011

That Time of the Decade Again...

I'm considering chucking up my life here and heading to New York. The excuse is a 10-week writing course. It's a good excuse because there is a germ of honesty in that. The course will help me structure my writing better. It will give me a fairly objective perspective when it comes to the qualitative analysis of my writing. It will tell me how to get out of screenplay writing mode and attempt prose. It will help me find my voice... and tell me how to hold on to it. All of these are very good reasons, enough in themselves.

But the real truth is this. I'm exhausted. I'm exhausted by the constant struggle my writing is becoming because I don't know whose opinion to trust. I'm exhausted with the mediocrity of thought and action. I'm tired of constantly re-evaluating my friendships and tired of finding myself dispirited. I'm tired of seeing the same faces, having the same conversations, the same irritations, the same view from my window. After days of being alone at home, I'm tired of stepping out, only to discover that I haven't missed anything. I'm tired of asking myself the question, "Is this really as good as it gets?"

Thirteen years ago, I'd had the same feelings and they led me to pack my bags and leave a city for good. I haven't looked back even once. Is that the same thing that's happening now? I don't know. I have many more things holding me here than I ever did there. There's love linked to this city, which is a big difference. And it's only a question of 10 weeks give or take.

On the flip side, I will be missing from my job market here for almost three months. At a time when I've started to build an independent clientele who are quite happy to return to me, disappearing on them for three months is not the smartest move. Also, this will be an expensive ten weeks, and I shall return to a bank balance that will not be as much in the black as I'm accustomed to. Then, there's the question of what I shall be doing when I'm not working 12-hour days (almost 60 days) in a city which is unfamiliar at best. The answer, I'm hoping, is not tearing out my hair out of sheer boredom.

Almost everyone I've spoken to about this is extremely supportive of the idea of me going. The thought of getting away for an appreciable period of time makes me happy. To be able to live and work on my craft in the creative center of the world is delicious, even if I get told that my writing sucks. But I'm also wondering if this is my version of a Porsche to ride out my mid-life crisis.