Abstinence and Everything in Between.

‘Ma’am mera break up ho gaya he. The last time I was crying but this time I want to celebrate, so I’m taking you out for ice-cream!’, claims my much younger friend at the gym. I rarely say no to that! Over some low-fat ice-cream, my friend launches into a tirade about his love life- marriage, romance so on and so forth. I try to add my two cents but ‘I’m the wrong person to ask about girls or relationships!’, I tell him as I drive away.  The entire evening I feel so ancient. Once upon a time, ishq was my favourite occupation and the aashiqs very romantic. These days, instead of hand written poems, one receives messages on Whatsapp and the height of the romantic gesture is being  sent songs like Inder Dosangh’s  ‘koka’ and ‘tarefu se tu’ and they wonder why I’m so unimpressed. ‘Like this madam, you’ll have to join the Brahma Kumaris!’, I think to myself.

A couple of weeks ago, the Night Rider, Sweet Desire and I, headed over to the Om Shanti Retreat Centre, in Manesar. Our dear Anonymous Aunty, had just completed a course and we were all supposed to go there for a weekend. But as fate would have it, AA feel ill-so we three novices, arrived at the centre. The place was beautifully kept- quiet, clean and of course peaceful. There were a number of seminars on how to make your self connect to the Divine. On another day, one will discuss – ‘sit-set-get’ and ‘watch- match and catch’. Within, less than an hour though, one had attracted what one never wants to contemplate. So, a middle-aged lady, who struck up a conversation with us, took it upon herself to specifically tell me, ‘Baba ka message aaya he apko.’ The first time, I let it go. But over the course of the seminar, each time she bumped into me, she would say, ‘Sochna aap ne iss bare me!’

Sweet Desire, our older friend, was very amused. ‘You better be careful, they are gunning for you,’ she warned me. That night, we discussed the topic with our room mates. One of them, a lady just a couple of years older than I, insisted that, ‘women when they reach a certain age, (she was 40), experience a natural disinclination towards the physical and since the teaching is about purity, one moves towards it, automatically. No one forces you to. You just become like friends, with your spouse.’ I just rolled my eyes and smiled.

‘How was the experience?’, asks my cycling buddy at the gym. The fuddy duddy and I spend twenty minutes a day on the stationary cycle, pretending to exercise but actually just discussing, philosophies, stocks, practically everything under the sun. Usually, I’m not really a talker but I’ve taken it upon myself to try to open up the mind of one fellow at a time. I tell him about the retreat. ‘ So in a marriage, how important would the emotional aspect be for you and how important would the physical aspect be for you?’, he asks. ‘75% physical and 25% emotional,’ I reply promptly. ‘No actually, 85% physical and 15% emotional,’ I clarify.  He’s aghast. ‘ For guys yes! but for most women that’s not the case!’, he replies. ‘ Most women are taught to pretend!’, I think to myself. We argue for a bit but I give up.

I grew up in a household, where the children cracked dirty jokes with their mother and knew about their parent’s intimate lives, by the time they hit adolescence. So this whole, sex is a taboo topic, is way beyond me.  Most people assume, I’m a nymphomaniac because I speak about sex as openly as I do.  Not that there is anything wrong with being one but one is more a sensuous being than a sexual one.  One can be without a man for years but can’t go more than a couple of consecutive nights, without the wind blowing through one’s hair….let’s just leave it at that.  Nevertheless, one is always amused at how virtue is attached to abstinence. If only God had intended us to do so!

The year is coming to an end and though I had declared 2016 as the year for forgiveness, at the retreat I realised it wasn’t turning out to be all peaches and cream. Somethings, just became irrelevant with time and some people too, so the forgiveness has come naturally due to the forgetfulness. But in some cases my failed attempt to forgive the kind of people ‘who kick you when you’re down and love you when you’re up and about’ has just left me feeling more resentful. It could be because I’m not naturally the forgiving kinds, nor am I the confrontational kind- I either retreat into my shell or I just severe ties without any explanation. It could also be because I constantly carry on my mind, the childhood memories of the older women of the colony and the family,  passing snide remarks about my mom, my family, the size of my skirt etc. It’s left me with an insecurity of being the outsider, which to the mind is ridiculous but to the heart even now, very real. Though, as one’s grown older, one would choose to be ‘the crazy lady’s child’, ‘the rebel’ and the outsider, than be the judging insider-one does tend to be overly defensive and emotional about certain things.

Since, the realisation that this is my issue and I need to resolve it by the end of the year, I have given myself the permission to vent out my feelings. A cleansing ritual of sorts. That’s the only way, I’m moving past it. So, I’ve been giving it off as good as I’ve got it , to all and sundry. The intention though, has not been to hurt but to declare. First- ‘ word gets around and it always reaches the ears of the person you spoke about’. Two, ‘this is what it feels like.’  Three – ‘The difference is I’ve done it all alone and to your face. Not in a herd and behind your back.’ Till the 31st, there’s going to be a storm in a teacup and then one will accept that such is the way of the world and live with it.

 

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