Sunday, September 22, 2013

I Want To Be Me

The couple woke up bitter and silent; head-aching and bleary-eyed after the reluctantly allowed brief fitful sleep; hungry without dinner and, being adults, avoiding breakfast together too; muttering to oneself but directed at the other, ‘I want to be me.’
At work, in their respective offices, mobiles buzzed with messages, phones rang incessantly, insistent emails popped up; impressed Japanese clients with the perfect bow and exchange of visiting cards; efficiently served unimpressed NRIs and HNIs, smiling, agreeing, barely hearing the complaints about infrastructure, filth, corruption; soothed aggravated bosses, managed the disagreeable, agreed to once-in-a-lifetime projects clashing with hopefully not-once-in-a-lifetime anniversaries; chatted with acquaintances about politics, world affairs and all the other who-gave-a-damn-about; swirled, smelled, tasted wine, nodded expertly, snacked on calamari and tiramisu; and, sometime in between, raced to the toilet, to bang head against the plywood door, to pray silently, ‘I want to be me.’
Back home, late and tired, good sense prevailed during a dinner together in the TV room – she wanted news, he wanted soap, they watched sports; she hated it when he purred scratching his dubiously yellow-brown Bermudas, he wondered if a nun’s habit is sexier than the loose faded take-single-get-double housedress she wore hitched up like a dhoti; they switched to a favourite crime-serial on DVD; one farted, the other burped, they washed the dishes together; good sense followed or preceded them to the bedroom – he picked up his book but put it down, she put on her earphones and then put it away; they lay silently, one said, ‘you love me, no?’, the other, ‘yes, you love me?’, nodded in the dark, mumbled soft sweet nothings that sounded like, ‘I want to be me.’
A few minutes later, one said, ‘My sister is coming this weekend.’
The other asked, ‘Why?’
‘Why not…?’
‘She is a pain…’
‘Your sister is a pain…’
‘I can’t do or wear whatever I want…’
‘But you can do anything, right? And, wear your sick stuff, right?’
‘You are the sick one…’
‘Is that so…?’
As Yogi Berra said, it was déjà vu all over again, with one or the other reiterating, ‘I want to be me.’

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