Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Of Gemini Minds

Who is that man in the red tee? He isn't particularly handsome, but has this really infectious smile. It is such a clean and disarming smile, you can't really not smile back at him. His eyes would get smaller, the crows feet would get prominently stretched, and his uneven teeth would peep out of his otherwise thin lips. He has very average features, but altogether they make an attractive picture. I caught myself not just smiling, but thinking about him even after he had gone.

Will he ask me my name? Will we meet again next week at Dr. Sushma Rao's clinic? Why does that man need therapy? He might be a single parent, but seems to be in control of himself. So why? Has he come to pick up a date? A psycho therapy workshop for single parents who're not being able to cope with things is a good place to pick up a date, isn't it? He hasn't done too badly for himself either, on the first day. He spoke about the trauma he went through when his wife died in a freak accident. And I could see two other ladies giving him the looks. I remember his account very vividly and kept wondering if I had come here to pick up a date as well? Haven't I? I am being able to cope pretty well with my single status because my mother has volunteered to step in and look after my Trisha, who's only two, but why did I want to come here? Poornima suggested Dr Rao. She felt I was going into depression and suggested I come for therapy. It is a workshop and the first day we took turns in talking about how we became single in the first place. We were not supposed to show any sympathy towards the person talking, the light would be focused only on him or her, and they would be made to talk to the darkness, pretending nobody was around. Weird, I thought. How true will the accounts be? Will they all be truthful? I, for myself, didn't talk about the absolute truth. I didn't tell them the real reason why Shobhan left me. I made up a nice story and put the blame subtly on him. I know it wasn't his fault at all. I was tired of him. I perpetually want to move on and I made things so impossible for him that he had to leave. He didn't want to go, but then, how long is love? For me, it has never lasted very long. Have I ever fallen in love ever? Do geminis fall? What is the name of this guy in the red tee? How will it be to make love to him? He has strong arms. Strong arms.

I woke up from my stupor with a shudder. What was I thinking? I didn't even know his name for god's sake! He is Three in the workshop. I am Four to him and to the others. I was impatient for the next session. Next Friday.

P.S. One spent his entire time today staring at me. A very handsome man with a hoarse voice. What was his problem? Why can't I remember?

The next Friday came and we had to put ourselves in each others' situations. Strange situations, really because how could I, for example, think that I am a man and my wife has left me? I was put in One's shoes and I had to play-act his part. After a while it started feeling good as the gender divides were broken and I started feeling very much like a man who's been spurned by his wife. One doesn't have a kid, so it is easy, but it was difficult to cope with the hurt. Today we were asked questions, and when Three (in a blue tee today) asked me questions aimed at One, it was a strange experience:

Three: So, how did you feel when your wife left you?

Me: I felt bad. I was in love with her and had absolutely NO clue that it wasn't working for her. What hurt most was how abrupt it was.

Three: Did it ever occur to you that you perhaps brought some arrogance into the relationship with your good looks? (he stared deep into my eyes now...is he complimenting me? is he referring to One being handsome?)

Me (this was difficult to answer, posing as a handsome man!): I can't help being handsome and, by the way, where did you notice the arrogance? I was just doing my job as a husband. I used to buy her flowers, I took her out regularly, and even went with her to her concerts.

(We were given a lot of details about the characters we would have to pose as, and I did my bit of homework. One's wife plays the violin and often had these concerts at various places in India and abroad. She has even worked with Dr L. Subramaniam and Jean Luc Ponty, so I could see where the breach must have come from. One wasn't possibly as intellectually inclined or capable as her and probably couldn't provide her any stimulation or useful company. But being in his shoes, I had to defend him.)

Me: We married knowing our vastly different backgrounds because there was love. I can't appreciate Carnatic Classical music and she knew my limitations. But then she doesn't know about software either. I am one of the best programmers at Oracle and even have five patents in the US for my work on the Oracle 8 database. So the basic premise was love. If it had worn out for her so soon, she could have told me, given me a hint at least? You can't just walk out on someone just like that? I still can't believe it."

This entire exercise was very emotionally draining. We all had to shelve our own problems, read up about the other person, enact his/her role ignoring the fact that the person being discussed is present in that room, in the darkness, probably fuming. There were many gasps and grunts, and at one point when Three was enacting me, I protested. He had read me all wrong. He kept talking about how I pushed Shobhan away. I didn't want to agree with that, but Dr Rao asked me to sit quietly. Was this therapy? What shit was this? How could Three read into my mind so well? How the hell does he know that I was the one who drove Shobhan up the wall? Oh my god!

I hated him for this. I wanted to hit him on the head. I kept thinking about Three the entire evening and late into the night. Who is he? Why was he so cocksure? And as my tablets started taking effect the hatred turned into reluctant lust. I noticed his thighs today. And when he stared deep into my eyes, I could feel something stirring in my tummy. My friend Sohini says her tummy hurts when she's aroused. I was not thinking of him, I wasn't aroused. You just notice these things but then you don't really act on them, do you? One asked me if I really found him handsome, to which I said he should actually ask Three about it because it was him who brought it up. How irritating. No wonder his wife left him and is perhaps composing music in Luc Ponty's studio, sitting naked with him. Serves you right, you prick.

The classes were going on fine for many months and we were even given our real identities after that exercise on Trust. We were made to fall backward trusting the person behind us to break the fall. It takes a hell lot to let go. I waited for my turn to be held by Three and when I fell backward, he held me firmly from behind, making my knees buckle. He is Pranjal, an Assamese. He told me about the accident but wasn't very curious about my husband. I asked her why he assumed I was the one who drove Shobhan mad and he said he was just playacting and that unless he added some color, it would have got really boring. Should I tell him the truth? Never.

He has asked me out next week. We will go to CCD Jayanagar, perhaps. He says he will come over in his jeep and pick me up sometime in the morning. He wants to drive around aimlessly and also mentioned that he might "abduct" me, which I didn't understand quite. This wait, this anticipation is so exciting, I end up shaking my leg a lot. I do that when am excited. Don't you? I can't show him my excitement. Was I too hasty in saying yes? What will he make of it? What have I said yes to anyway? Nothing. He says he wants to abduct me. Does he mean keep me for good? Gotta wait and find out.


Ding dong.
"Hi, you're late."
"Yeah darling, what to do...the same bullshit routine...how did your Friday yoga classes go?"
"Oh those, Shobhan? Boring, as usual. Sushma is like good, but not brilliant."
"Hmm...why go then?"
"Just need to do something on Friday evenings, don't I? Did you get the veggies I asked you to?"
"Yeah, but I couldn't find those fat aubergines...what are those called? BT Brinjals?"

"Daddyyyyyyyyyy" a little girl runs into the room and straight into his lap.

"Oh Trisha baby, my woogly baby...lemme rinse me hands first?"

(conversation fades)


Anonymous said...

Lazyani said...
Not bad, specially the shock positioning of the past at the end -- perhaps to nullify the feeling of underlying guilt in the first half.

I guess there is a scope of a second page and a third wherein the other characters get fleshed out and the conclusion hangs in balance. Just a thought

Oreen said...

it is not the past. she is living in two worlds. the husband hasn't left...he doesn't have an inkling...and she's been lying all through...

i guess that part is not clearly coming across

@ri said...

Nice read and in a way teases the reader to speculate and finish the story in his mind in multiple ways!

Nita said...

Oh! I didn't realize she had been lying until I read your comment. That's a shocking conclusion! I suppose the story tapered at the end, abruptly, like a turnip. Try fleshing it out? jmho.

Oreen said...

yes Nita...I could sense that it isn't complete really...
but then I was rushed...
there are so many of these stories that i have to give finishing touches to...

Love said...

me likes!

Bette said...

Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa (ninjiom-hk.cwahi.net) may be another solution to hoarse and sore throat. i know a lot of people use it, its also non alcoholic, though it's effectiveness is not as good as alcohol based cough medicine, but it's still good to use on not so serious sore or hoarse throat. Hope you are getting well soon!!!

Mampi said...

The end is mind blowing. Her mind is complex. And you have painted it beautifully. But yes, adding more would add to the impact.

Anonymous said...

i like Bette's comment on this.

very apt.

ps, it isn't easy to think from the opposite sex's perspective. likely to turn out almost as relevant as Bette's comment on this story... mostly.

Oreen said...

anon, just my thoughts, exactly...
this is my second attempt, after Bombay (which is typical M&B trash) and mostly miserable...
one person who read it kept wondering if it is the account of a gay person!

i guess i gotta keep it and move on...no point working on it :)...am having more fun as a guy anyway

Prabul said...

Roller coaster ride ending with a splash in cold water.
Thats the feeling I got after reading this.