Bombay. A city perhaps second only to the Delhi’s Punju pockets in bling; glamour; loudness, is teaching me a thing or two about restraint: at work, in bursting into tears, in allowing others to swoop me into their impulses, in being swept into a massive blunder, in affection.
Parag and I were discussing Chaos Theory, the Anuvab Pal play I caught on a stray Sunday last month. The essence of our dialogue revolved around why many of us end up tongue tied when it comes to confessing special feelings for someone. For that matter, most of us suck at confessing in general. Parag’s reasoning may not hold true in other situations, but I’m inclined to believe he is quite reasonable in the case of admitting romantic impulses. Parag pins it on respect – the relationship and what has gone into building it that is, if the love evolves from an existing comradeship or a deepening platonic affection.
And nothing and no one can say for sure whether the evolution is mutual or one-sided. Think about it this way: we all know that we’re going to lose our loved ones someday. The elders sooner, by natural elimination. But the thought gives us the trembles – of the loss; of the absence. Even if you haven’t spoken in a long time. Even if you don’t see eye to eye on some matters. Even if they want you to marry by their choice. Even if they want you educated in a stream they couldn’t choose.
Perhaps losing friendship of the object of your affection isn’t as bad as losing him or her to death, but it is still a thought we shudder to allude. What is that situation, wherein you cannot live without a person, but rather not tell for the fear of having to live in the complete absence from your life?
If you’re already wondering what “this” is doing here, here’s why- I’ve met a few men and women my age who’ve been in love a while (in Bombay that is), some heartbroken, some too scarred or too scared to tell. Some live in the endless optimism that they shall find true love (pardon the cliché), some in the hope that their love will return, and some too hopeless to bother – either wallowing in their misery, or so stoned within that they still look for some contrived interpretation of the goddamn word.
A city that seems to regurgitate Dr. Filmys at every bend has also this face. Once in a while, it sheds the mask of entertainment and reveals this forlorn, alone demeanour. Its fears are fraught with distrust, misgivings, past experience. This city has said to me, “Deal with it,” when I was denied. Like the regular dose of discipline you get from a parent, this one’s training me to grow up once more. All romantic notions dismissed. As Hit recently warned, “Don’t even think of being nice.”