Sunday, September 03, 2006

Listen to the Fox that lost its tail

I should have known it would take this path, this new name, iss-tarting anew. Somehow the names this blog sported did actually reflect what was happening in my life quite presciently. So when it was The Soliloquist, it was essentially a monologue, a conversation with myself to start off. And then it was Kvetch-log and lo and behold, there was so much for me to rant and rave about. Then came Spiral of Silence and I did spiral into silence. And now iss-tarting anew and trying not to spiral into silence…and surprise, no surprise, my life seems to be on the brink of a new start…

Flash backwards. It’s March 2001. I am at a function held in my honor, with friends and family. Apparently I have won some laurels one lucky one manages to attain every year. Still, the hullabaloo bothers me little. All the people were there, after all, to see me and they do see me, grinning like a thoroughbred Cheshire alright. There, that day, there’s a group of us, four, all Librans and SQ makes some comment on how gloriously gifted we all are and that we should all leave the country and go some place where marital status is not the only measure of success. On N’s announcement of impending loss of the ‘S’ status, SQ promptly shoos her out of our Spinsters’ Club.

Five years later. SQ is an expectant mother (and quaintly smug about it), N’s planning the arrival of her second child in November, A’s Amazonian figure has turned gigantic…and W claims over-the-net correspondence to have grown enough in size to sink a small Pacific island just by threatening to step on it. With all these fertility goddesses around, there’s me. Two of my cousins got married in August. My sister’s waiting in the wings to make F miserable for life by marrying him. Every time I turn my head there’s a person going the family way, if he/she hasn’t already, or getting ready to.

I went to a friend-in-passing’s wedding reception last night. I was as much surprised to find myself there as he was. After all, we were barely acquainted, being part of a large, boisterous group, friend’s friend’s friend kind of deal. He sent me out an invite out of courtesy as I was back in town. I went out of courtesy because he was considerate enough to think of me despite the shortage of printed invite cards. And also because there were chances I would get to meet other friends from the famous ‘Tour of 2000.’ Two of all those who'd gone to the Northern Areas, three including an absolutely pratty guy, were also reportedly single. (I'd be the fourth.)

Trust my luck in such circumstances. I got to meet two married friends, three including the one prancing about the shadi hall, but the single career women were not to be there. Anyways, it was fun, catching up with old times, when the two mom were not changing notes on their offsprings’ feeding and nappy changing times. I was at a total loss of topics. Yes we could reminisce but what would be there to fill the awkward conversation pauses. I may have gone places but not the labor room. My career may be stellar but it does not have fresh tiny-paw stains on it. I realized how different my life was from my friends’; I might as well have lived on Pluto all these years, and come back only because it was stripped of its planetary status.

Sitting in the university lawn in November 2000, I made all of our friends write ‘where I see myself six months later,’ and we decided to follow up and see if we’d met our goals. We had; those who wanted a career had one, those who wanted a family, were on the brink of starting one. And then more plans to meet later still, keep in touch and follow up. And then last night, where I learned how many had succumbed to an inevitable marriage.

The first time I felt bare was 1996, a cousin had gotten married; she was three rungs up the seniority ladder. Then the second fell and then the third. All the while I was ‘oh oh’ dreading the guillotine to land and chop my 'defiantly single' head off. I managed to wiggle away so that three juniors angled up and got taken away, cheerily, if I may say so. What can I say? To each his/her own.

I have been waging a war for the last one decade; a war to my right to live life my way, my right of self determination. With each year I grow up not only in calendar years, but also as a person, grow to live with myself, to appreciate my life as I have managed to create it, with my say in it. It's going to be excruciatingly hard for me to let go of my life as I know it. Just as it could a difficult period of adjustment for the other person. How can you live so long on your own and then be thrown out of orbit into someone else’s? The stakes this time were higher. I was set to lose everything and yet I stepped into the battle field. Was I to know my troops would dessert me? That I was to risk and let go of everything dear to me, known to me? I may have lost this one battle, but my life is still my own, my head still held high. I am what I am. I may be poised to start a new life but it's going to be mine. The smart, wily fox, dear folks, seems to display a willingness to be conned of its tail.


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