“Are you still single?” I often get asked this these days, now that I have reached that age. You notice how I have placed the “still” in all-caps in the headline and italicized it here? Because depending on the intonation, that “still”, my friends, that innocent-looking cute little monosyllabic word “still” can make or break my goddamn day. Here, sample these:
* That very hot friend of a friend I have a major crush on: “So, are you still single?” [Still: teasing, suggestive, deliciously wicked].
Me (heart fluttering, blushing just the right amount, charming smile in place): “Why don’t you take a guess? *Wink*”
* That ex who you inevitably run into everywhere, sporting some arm candy or the other: “Oh! Are you still single?” [Still: downright condescending, followed by a smirk].
Me (bile rising in the gut, chin raised haughtily, proud smile in place): “And still very happy, thank you!”
* That friend who’s just returned from her honeymoon: “Babe, are you still single?” [Still: casual, indifferent, simply a prelude to start rambling about how awesome the honeymoon has been].
Me (guiltily irritated, visibly snappy): “Yes! I am still single! Why don’t you hook me up with your brother?!”
* That friend who’s just celebrated his second wedding anniversary: “Dude, are you still single?” [Still: awed, positively envious].
Me (beaming, positively gloating): “Ha Ha Ha!”
* That shaadi wali aunty or that other shaadi wali aunty. All shaadi wali aunties look the same and say the same things. Just that one thing: “Beta, are you still single?” [Still: unbelieving, shocked, almost pitied, followed by several tsk-tsk-tsks and shaking of heads].
Me (furious): Yes! And I intend to be so for the next ten years!
Don’t get me wrong. I still love my singledom. And the whole business of living alone. Of waking up at quarter to noon and rushing to office without breakfast. Of going out with friends, drinking, smoking (up), dancing, partying. Of coming home whenever I please and passing out. Of hangovers and drunk textings.
Of travelling whenever I want to, wherever I want to, for howsoever long I want to. Of no questions asked and no answers given. Of my whole big bed all to myself. Of eating out of cardboard boxes and running out of money. Of flirting, making new friends, having flings. Of no jealousies, no insecurities, no judgements. Of my space and my space alone. And of freedom. Yes, I still love it all very much.
But lately, a “but” has stealthily crept up in my almost perfect single life. And that “but” has brought with it “if only” too.
Like that day when I was getting dressed for a wedding and I couldn’t reach behind my back to tie the knot of my choli. Like that other time when I choked on the pizza crust and desperately needed some patting on the back. Like yesterday when it rained and I craved to be cuddled. Like when I make a delicious three-course dinner spread and eat it all alone.
Like everyday when I log on to Facebook and scroll through photos upon photos of people getting engaged, married, becoming parents, celebrating anniversaries. Like the times when I see my friends, most of them married or in relationships which will end in marriage (hopefully!), and I see them argue, fight, laugh, love, be together. Like all those other times when I feel lonely, alone and way too single.
And I think, “Still… But, if only…”
In her blog 'In The Mood For…' heartbreak kid Satarupa Paul brings to you real-life stories, gyaan, and blabbering on love, sex, relationships and more.
Follow @SatarupaPaul on Twitter
From HT Brunch, March 15
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