I am on a very interesting chapter is Moran’s How to be a woman. Ya ya, I know I should’ve finished this book a long time back but the easy distractions that the almighty internet offers for a lazy person are far more powerful than the desire to invest any brain in reading. Sad, but true in my case. Anyway, so in this chapter, Moran talks about this woman in her office who keeps looking at a guy a couple desks away and imagines how she wouldn’t go to Paris with him since he went there with his ex girl friend. She plans everything right from what to wear, to how to walk about the Louvre, only in the end do we realise that she wouldn’t even say yes if the guy actually asked her out on a date. Then Moran goes on to narrate her most intensely emotional experience in her life which took place in her mind on a 2 hour journey in train. That train journey saw her fall in love with an intelligent celebrity, connect on emotional, physical, psychological and all other levels there are, hand mind blowing sex, be pregnant, lose the baby but still continue with her her, then the husband giving some interview on television where tears well up in his eyes as he talks about his distraught wife. So in short, she lived an entire relationship in a span of 2 hours. Although this was all taking place in her imagination, it was real because she still experienced intense emotions, it still existed in the span of those 2 hours, even though without any physical manifestations.
I felt so relieved after reading this piece because up until then I used to feel that I was too abnormal to keep frequenting between this reality where I have a job, and visible things to do and a parallel reality that was just as real for me, but which existed only in my imagination. I tend to suddenly start imagining instances and episodes where I am of course the central figure…sometimes the tragic heroine, sometimes a bohemian outlaw, sometimes a corporate rage, sometimes a published author, sometimes an interviewer talking to Garcia Marquez, sometimes a celebrity chef, sometimes a passionate lover. The only thing constant in these million episodes is me- ALWAYS in a very interesting role.
I even have a pattern. Whenever I go for runs with music in my ears, I invariably have a story unfolding in my mind, somewhere along these lines: I am in office, or university; an employee or a student (this mostly depends on what I am doing in my real life). There is some insanely boring event happening where all the girls are crooning to some medicore popular music. I am the only one who is sitting alone, looking out of place and bored. Suddenly someone comes up with an idea of changing the music and putting on some amazing classical Spanish guitar or some flamenco kinda music. This is usually a very intelligent Spanish/ Latin American guy who has done a PhD in some quaint topic like reviving some small subset of a small set of typical traditional dance which has gone into oblivion. I am the only one who happens to know what he’s talking about and even don’t mind trying a few steps when asked. And then we dance so well that the entire audience stands mesmerized….
I think a lot of these dance related episodes come from the fact that I absolutely love dance. In fact I regularly attended dance classes twice a week since I was 7 and continued doing it till I was 20. I learnt Katthak and Bharatnatyam during this period, but soon forgot it as my teachers kept changing anf with them the dance styles.Then I briefly learnt Kucchipudi when I was studying in Delhi. I was absolutely dying to be a top notch Latin American dancing after my small workshop in Salsa, Rumba and Cha cha. But because I didn’t take any of this further, I guess my unfulfilled dreams keep resurfacing in the form of my day dreams where I imagine everything from the music to shoes and moves.
There have been so many times when I am sitting alone and suddenly start crying. Disclaimer: No one has hurt me in my real life, I have eaten enough that day, I have not been insulted, abused or beaten. I am crying because a story (which for me is reality at that moment) is unfolding in my head where I have been cheated on but I have taken the high road and refused to aggressively question. I am either sulking and not saying a word. The alternative to this is when I have left the house and am involved in a non-cooperation movement with my partner who has to go out of his way to convince me how I am indispensable to him. It’s this kind of aimless wandering of my jobless mind that leads me to frequently ask really abstract (what if) questions to EM: What if you like someone else? What if I grow really fat? What would you do if I cheated on you? What would you do if a very sexy woman made advances at you? What if you start hating me? While these are all perfectly normal ‘what if’ questions for me, EM finds himself at loss when he is confronted with questions and when my tone totally depends on how I saw him in my imagination. In fact, 60 percent of or tiffs are caused due to my insistence on seeking answers to my ridiculous questions and EM’s inability to imagine anything which doesn’t exist anywhere else apart from my head. This is how our conversation goes…
Me: What would you do if you fell in love with someone else?
EM: I wont fall in love with anyone else. I love YOU.
Me: That’s not my question. I know you love me. But suppose one fine day you got really tired of my illogical questions and happened to meet a really cool girl who doesn’t nag you to eat well and is also very pretty and sexy.
EM: That won’t happen. I like you. period.
Me: But what if you find my questions irritating.
EM: I already find them irritating. Since the last 7-8 years. But have I left you so far.
Me: You haven’t. But in all likelihood, as you grow old your tolerance levels will diminish.
EM: That doesn’t happen to me
Me: But what if??
EM (now sounding irritated): I cannot imagine stories like you. I can’t see myself in random imaginary situations. I am very sorry. I don’t have answers to your questions. The only thing I know is that I love you and will be with you forever.
Me: I know THAT. But whatever, you always do this. I have been asking this question since the last 8 years but I never got a satisfactory answer. (Throws a tantrum and goes away stamping leaving EM looking helpless)
Of course I immediately come out of this state of mind when I see something on TV and absolutely have to make a comment about it. Which I cannot if I am sulking. But the point remains, that even I don’t understand this aspect about myself. I like to think that I am a logical person whose decisions are always based on reality, and they are as a matter of fact. I often withdraw into the cocoon of my own imagination where more often than not I am a person who has been wronged but am still a strong person who used this experience to either become an accomplished write, a danseuse extraordinaire or simply a fiery gutsy woman who has her own restaurant which she runs on a little farm where she grows her own herbs.
I often wonder what all this means. Not everything needs to have a meaning, but it’s this pattern…the similarity even in a dozen different situations which kindles my interest and makes me want to do some psychoanalysis of my own. Does any one of you have patterns like these that you have observed in your daydreaming? Do you ever happen to drift away from reality to your imaginary reality? Do the stories from your imaginary reality ever wreck havoc in your physical reality? Do let me know. I’d be very interested in knowing.