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Monday, January 14, 2008

Girls' Night Out

I had gone to Medford to visit a friend last Saturday. How I know her is easy to explain but difficult to comprehend.

My first time at Davis Square and I immediately liked the young, restless crowd of students at the park in front of Somerville Theater who had their conversations richly punctuated with words like "fucking", "shit" etc that made English sound almost like an alien language. Reminded me of my undergrad days where shouting profanities in the street was considered cool. SS suggested that we go to J.P.Licks and have Kahlua. Having an ice cream on a cold winter evening is also my idea of having fun. She showed me a newspaper and asked if I can find a recurring theme. I observed : 'It seems to be for transgenders.' and added that Massachusetts was the first US state to legalize marriage of same-sex couples.

We aborted the idea to get into a pub because neither of us was carrying a passport or proof of age. We took a bus to Arlington Street and then walked to Sharon Street where she lives. I got introduced to her roommate SG2 who is pursuing her MS in Occupational Therapy and had an interesting conversation about Dyslexia, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism and other spectrum disorders. I tried to explain what Strategic Consulting means and sang a song about MBTI profiles and Jungian philosophy.

It was dancing to loud peppy numbers like hostel days again. And someone else cooking for me. Which felt good for a change, of course. We played 'Truth or dare?' , an old favorite till around 2:30 in the night and retired to bed promising that the one who woke up earliest would rouse the others. It was 11:49 AM by my watch when I opened my eyelids dreamily on Sunday morning.

SS showed me the snaps of her ex boyfriend who was my classmate in middle school. I hadn't seen him since a long time. Incidentally, he called up the same evening and I got to talk. It was awkward. I knew what had transpired between them, partially from a friend and now I didn't know whether to completely avoid it or say something. Personally, I don't like people intruding into my private affairs and I'd hate myself if I have to do it some time. But when I saw her face lit up when he had called and the fondness with which she was showing his pictures to me, I wished to say : 'You guys look great together' but I bit my lip and kept quiet. I hope that they get to be together again but I don't really know what is the best thing to ask for. She reminded me of who I was, about an year and a half ago. Lost, wanting a way with life, and very much in love with memories. I got over it. And somehow she assumed that I did.

I was reading 'Interpreter of Maladies', the Pulitzer winning short stories' collection of the then débutante Jhumpa Lahiri. Her language is not artful but she has a knack of scribbling down minute details which gives life to the pages. In "A Temporary Matter' for instance, she writes: Shukumar gathered onion skins in his hands and let them drop into the garbage pail, on top of the ribbons of fat he'd trimmed from the lamb.

I appreciate lucidity of expression even if it is an intense book. But profundity coupled with simplicity comes naturally to probably a mature writer. If not in biological age or in volumes of published works, at least, in perception.

I wish to know a lot more people than I have already known. Feel what they feel. Empathize with them. Notice what makes them sad, and more importantly- what makes them happy. I believe that what makes you smile defines you more than what makes you weep. You can cry when in agony or in pain or when insulted. But you can laugh at them too and more. Also, there is no greater put off than misplaced humor.

In truth or dare, SG2 asked if would I ditch a guy if someone better came along. I said 'No" laconically at first. Then I expanded : It takes a lot of time to build something but hardly a moment to destroy it. I'd not want to ruin something which we both invested in. Not until things go really wrong. The greatest human tragedy is not people falling out of love with each other. It is one falling out of love with oneself.

The girls' talk continued, encompassing guys and their flimsy ways to win over a girl, how the other sex has better culinary skills nowadays, where is a good shop to have a bargain, where threading can be done instead of waxing eyebrows etc. Typical, and enjoyable. Something you can never have with a guy sticking around. We made pancakes in the morning and it was my idea, SS's provisions and SG2's execution. SG2 asked us to have them while she made them hot, we insisted we would wait for her to join us too. It led to the collective confession of how much we felt that we are becoming more like our moms , viz the joy in 'serving hot' to others while we are in the kitchen.

I guess my mother did not rest satisfied about my domestic abilities until my brother and friends called her up to give me certificates of merit. Sometimes I think it is strange - it feels like another world where I was not even allowed to fetch a glass of water for myself (Jal gariye khaoya in Bengali) Now, from grocery to laundry- everything has to be done on my own. Not that I despise it- it is just a way of life here. And I have got so used to cooking everyday that I got back in the afternoon to cook something because I felt as uneasy as I'd have if I hadn't brushed my teeth in the night.

Growing up is fun!


sejuti said...

I know Davis square is such an endearing place, next time i hope i can show u around Tufts hill and u can muse by the mystic river, or my fav bakyard..haha..twas gr8 fun for sure, reminded me of good old hostel days. Im also glad i got a compnay for pecan pie ;).. its surprising with some people u r at ease u mentioned about private affairs..i never mention what transpired between us cos people wud judge him, n im sure somehow over the anger phase and come to terms wit "just good memories" part. With u, it doesnt make me feel uncomfortable
cos somewhere i know u wudnt judge, ud jus understand i gz..

ILA(a)இளா said...

// didn't know whether to completely avoid it or say something//

Have to avoid such kind of situation, however can't help, it will be there in every life

Bubbles of FireWhisky said...

my dad wnt lemme near a kitchen... he's convinced i'll burn d house dwn...

Sam said...

nice account... really feels good wen looked after... and mums well they'll never accept that their kids can be good at housekeeping wen on their own!!!

Thas said...

Hey its been few dys since am peeping into ur blog( as I have started reading others blog), ur blog sounds interesting to me and cdont feel like leaving without posting a comment, so here I am...dn I too recall my mom being the same nd always ended in big fights, whenever I gave a hand n kitchen and tht was my excuse to run away frm house hold tasks nd I njoyed it...

arnab said...

the other sex always had great culinary prowess... we were just letting the fairer sex take the limelight (as always)... and then there was this issue about "jal gariye khaoa" ;-)

btw, have you considered getting a driver's license? not that i am promoting wanton drinking binges. also i should not be lecturing others on driving licenses since i took almost 3 years to get one, and that too because i had to buy a car as the friend i was piggybacking on was leaving town! in the meantime there were all sorts of tricks to be pulled to get into pubs - including that one time when my advisor convinced the bouncer to let me in :-)

Abhishek Upadhyay said...

You look so small that you need to carry proof of your age?

zoxcleb said...

sounds like a fun day... and some interesting conversations.. but is growing up really fun?

Da Rodent said...

"Growing up is fun!"


sangram said...

:).. a good narrative.

Abhinav said...

Hellu... Me writing a comment after a very long time... and not for the right reason... ;-) I'm sorry but there is no such word as profoundity... profundity???

P.S.: It's just that nowadays I read blogs like a book turning pages, moving from one post to the next, I put in a comment either if I'm exceptionally moved or if I disagree vehemently.

nuance said...

I hated to grow up before but now I couldn't stand a childish person. In some way, I grew up via hating my old self. I started to realize how immature I used to be and how many people I had hurt because of my immaturity; I started to enjoy taking care of others instead of being taken care of. That's just the way/circle of life, isn't it? :)

Aparna Kar said...

You brought up a really great point. Growing up really means learning to take your responsibilities and of people around you. We have been all immature at some point of our lives and this has nothing to do with our biological age. But I can't hate that phase of my life. It was a part of my life, a facet of me; and if I may say- a very crucial element in my growing up.

Also, some people take time to mature- wanting to escape your responsibilities is one major reason for refusing to grow up. Then, there can be other emotional reasons too. I used to (and still do) protest vehemently everytime my father commented: 'I am growing old.' I found it difficult to accept that my parents will grow old and unable someday. But as a rational child I probably have to face the reality and make sure they have a comfortable old age.
Everything comes with a price. Or should I say cost? Even 'Growing up' has. But life, anywhere, anyhow is beautiful :) I am sure glad to be alive and evolving. Change is very much the essence of life!

Aparna Kar said...

Oops! My mistake. Corrected now. Thanks.

Aparna Kar said...

Hee hee.Thanks. Saw you in my comment box after a long while :D

Aparna Kar said...

@Abhishek Upadhyay
I might look my age and young but definitely not small. Anyways, it's better to carry an id proof or have a liquor id because pubs here are really strict about selling liquor to underage kids. I got away with it in India when I stepped into the dance floors of Elevate etc, but I never tried buying drinks then- so I really don't know. Maybe one business reason of letting under 21 into discotheques is that a major chunk of the Delhi clubbing crowd (at least) consists of undergrad kids.