Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hi! I'm Shivani, And Here's My Story

Hi. My name is Shivani. This is not my blog, as you can see. But since I don't have a blog of my own, I am using some space here to tell you my story. Am sure the owner of this blog won't mind: he is usually nice to women. He is nice to men too, but no one notices that. And if he likes women, what's wrong in that? As a woman, I too prefer men over women as friends.

For the record, I have half-a-dozen good female friends. But they are good only for going to the movies or to the mall. I can never bare my heart to them, I can never share my inner troubles with them. If I share my troubles with them, that would only amount to inviting more trouble. Let them imagine I am the happiest woman on this planet. Let them stew in the juices of jealousy.

It is only with a man I can really share my innermost thoughts with, though I have had no such opportunity in the real sense. Six years ago, I knew a man. He was nice and all, good-looking and all that. He was also married. But the problem was not that: the problem was that he was too much in love with his wife and was also petrified of her. So that fizzled out. But in the short time I spent with him, I learned that a man is more understanding. He doesn't bitch about you. He cares for you. He even respects you. He might be having the thought of sex in some corner of his mind, but he can be forgiven for that. He is a man, after all.

It is not as if we women are any better. It is just that we don't talk about it. Now why am I suddenly talking about sex? Maybe it's the influence of this blog. Mr Ghosh, you are a bad influence! Are you listening? Hey, just kidding. I know you are a nice sort and all, Mr Ghosh. And, well, I haven't told you about my status message on the Gmail page. It is a quote from the writer Erica Jong, which says, "Someday every woman will have orgasms -- like every family has color TV."

Well, don't read too much into the status message, guys. Damn, did I send the wrong signal? It's not what you think. It's, in fact, as simple as this: each day of your life, you wish you could take a break and go on a holiday; but is that really possible or practical? Same goes for orgasm. Shucks, why am I talking about all this? I am here to tell you my story.

Okay, let me begin with the figures and facts. I turned 40 last December. I am 169 cm tall. My vital stats -- well, no big deal revealing that, since you will never get to see me -- are 34-28-34. I've been married for 14 years now and have two kids, 12 and eight, but many think I still look young and fit enough to walk the ramp. They might be exaggerating, but I know there is an element of truth in what they say. My kids go to school at seven, and my husband leaves for work at nine. When they all leave, I step into the bathroom.

The few minutes that I spend watching myself naked in the mirror before stepping into the bathtub -- that's when I am myself. All my life, I've been someone else -- first a daughter, then a wife, then a mother, and now a daughter-cum-wife-cum-mother. Where was me? The me didn't matter: that's the price you pay for being a woman. But standing face to face with your own naked self: that's the only occasion I get to meet myself. And standing in front of the mirror, I do realise that I am still good-looking. Really, nothing has changed even after the two kids. My friends are right, actually: I am still sexy and can walk the ramp and give those dumb models a run for their money. But how foolish it would be to agree with my friends? What if they don't really mean it? I mean, how can you claim yourself that you are still hot. Won't that be outright silly? So I prefer to change the topic every time they talk of my looks.

Looks don't matter anyway. Not anymore, at least. I would prefer to be known as a woman who has the brains rather than someone who stands out for her beauty or her boobs or the butt (I'm sorry for being crude, but I just realised that all the men's obsessions start with the letter 'B').

And even if my looks still mattered, what would I do with? I am no longer waiting for the prince who would be charmed by me and hold his hand out and ask for my hand. My prince is the man I married 14 years ago. I might not have seen him as a prince back then: he was just a man my parents wanted me to get married to. "You shall never find a guy like him again," they had told me. At the time, I was just 26. The year was 1994. Those days, good girls listened to their parents. Moreover, I hadn't found a prince by then. Most of them thought I was a queen, who was fit only for a king, so the princes stayed away. Whether it was my loss or theirs, I would never know.

All I know is that I am happy today. I love my husband. He has been around, tolerating me, for 14 years now. He is a reservoir of patience. And above all, he is the father of my two kids. Touch wood!

But I have my moments of resentment too. My hubby is doing well, my kids are doing well at school, my parents did well by marrying me off to him, but am I doing well enough in life? Now that's one question I have to grapple alone with myself. Old-timers in the family will tell me that if my hubby is doing well at work and if my kids are doing well at school, then I should be doing well too in life. After all, I live for them, just like I lived for my parents before I got married. In short, I had to take permission then, and I have to take permission even now.

No one, just because I am a woman, spared a thought for my desires. I wanted to paint. I wanted to write. I was good at both. My teachers said, "You must pursue these crafts. You have it in you." My family said, "Do whatever you want to, but first get married." Well, that was my parent's way of getting over with their responsibility so that the society didn't point fingers at them. Parents are usually selfish, to tell you the truth. I am going to thumb my nose at them now. I am going to watch DVDs of Sholay and Satyam Shivam Sundaram, which they did not let me watch back then. I am also going to have a bottle of wine all by myself, maybe when I am soaking myself in the bathtub. I am also going to do my upper-lip and underarms and legs and feel sexy and gloat in the fact that I am -- still - highly desirable. Which I am. Just that I don't feel like telling the world.

At 40, there can be only two choices. Either regret not doing things you always wanted to do, or feel good that you are just 40 and that there is plenty of time to make up for the lost years. I will, obviously, settle for the latter.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is amazing .. how despite advancements in technology and education - women are still viewed as 'belonging' to someone through their life but tell me, why did u choose to agree with other when they slot you into a role you had to play. Go there and live it up ! It's your life , you day - yes you have responsibilities but remember, the most important person in the world is yourself!

Anonymous said...

married or un-married man, I believe that there cannot be a physical connection, if you don't have an intellectual connection.

I don't believe in adultery, but if u feel that there is one person with who u feel both these connections then go ahead and live this relationship which is meant to be. It is adultery only if u don;t!

Anonymous said...

This feels so much like my story some times your good looks tire you and you wonder what a waste it is when the whole world is oblivious to it.

Anonymous said...

pathetic woman!!
Quit complaining! an go get yourself a life for once..

Anonymous said...

its easy to say than done to make comment and say somebody to go out and get a life.what if the only guy that you feel a connection happens to be too much in love with his wife or probably scared of her.

Anonymous said...

This one is both endearing and enduring if you remember what i said earlier.

Anonymous said...

You have a bathtub, time to admire yourself in the bathroom mirror. Your parents have found a match who will give you a good life and your hubby has given you two children, in your words, he has put up with you for 14 yrs and you still complain? Are you aware there are tens of thousands of women who are on their toes from dawn to dusk, have no time to have a proper bath, contribute to running the family, share the responsibilities of the in every sense of the word, have no time to apply crack cream on their heels and go to bed with aches and pains both physically and emotionally? Learn to enjoy life and don't look for excuses to have an affair!!

Anonymous said...

lol, so many anonymous messages! shivani or whoever you are,atleast start your own blog.

Val said...

These comments are unfair--you said nothing about wanting to have an affair! There's nothing wrong with appreciating yourself--your blog was very honest, and the anonymous commentators could learn a few things from someone who's willing to share their inner-most secrets in a blog!

Vinod Khare said...

You know what, feminist as my leanings are, I found it hard to sympathize with the narrator. (I do not know if this piece is reality of fiction, so I would only refer to the narrator.) I understand that the narrator spent her life as a 'normal' woman, looking after her husband and children. Unfortunate as that is, that is how society is. If you want liberation, freedom, you'd have to ask for it. You may also have to fight for it. If you wanted to paint or whatever, did you try to do it? Did your husband or parents stop you from doing it? Did you ever resist the consensual cage that they forced you to live in?

From this blog, it doesn't appear to be so. If it had been a story of a struggle, a mad leap for freedom, it would have appealed to me. As it stands now, it is merely a story that wallows in self pity. You don't have my sympathies.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Vinod. Shivani has no excuses. But lol, she has said she is happy and will look forward to life after 40?
I think most women in India are in some kind of a 'consensual' cage. It takes quite a while for them to get used to thinking by themselves.

Swapna said...

I completely get what you're saying. Many a day, I've thought similar thoughts.

As to the other commentors, she didn't mention anything about having an affair nor is she wallowing in self-pity.

The Naked Mind said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Naked Mind said...

I wonder what she is really complaining about. Fact or fiction, all I would tell her if she were in front of me is – there is a reason why god made us this way. Whatever I am today is because of my mother, who made little sacrifices for me. I’m sure your mother made sacrifices for you too, or else you wouldn’t be here, ranting away your troubles. I don’t think anybody stopped you from doing what you wanted to do. You never did what you wanted to do because you were too busy complaining half your life. Take pride in whatever you do. Trust me it’s not easy being a woman; it’s not easy holding a family together. And you’ve done just that for the past 14yrs. Your husband gets back home peacefully every day because he knows that the house is taken care of. You’ve made sure that the clothes are washed and pressed, you’ve helped the children with their homework, you’ve cleaned the house and you’ve made sure that the dinner is ready by eight. Just imagine what their life would be without you. Well, isn’t that some sought of an achievement? And what do you mean by – “Looks don't matter anyway”? Of course it does, you don’t have to look good for the world, but look good for yourself. And by the way, I think you should’ve started that painting of yours instead of cursing yourself for being a woman. I’m sure you would’ve finished at least a few by now..

colourmewhite said...

BG has always written about sex...and everyone has always enjoyed it...n now when a woman chooses to even indulge in some honest conversation there is so much vindictiveness around. So what if she has enough time to stare at herself in the bathroom mirror. So what if she has a bathtub. So what if her husband loves her.So what if if her kids do well at school. Do you want her to forever feel obligated for such 'favours' ? Their lives are not her lives. They are all just intertwined. We all have a right to our own happiness. So go on after it, shivanis of the world...go on after it!!!

colourmewhite said...

BTW, vinod khare aka the one with feminist leanings,

whatever makes you think a woman 'has' to 'fight' to get what she wants? is that what being out of the consensual cage is all about? do women have to go through searing times just to prove they are 'liberated'? now that thought of urs is worth an lol from the women's club.

colourmewhite said...

BG

If your claim to love and respect for the genetically XX-ed is indeed true...your next blog shall be on all these nameless bigots on this page and their brothers elsewhere. So help God (mild swearing)
(its just that i am so irked right now. women in blr are being attacked for wearing western attire (!!!!)and no one is doing anything about it)

(considering genocide as a solution)

Sharon Colaco D'Souza said...

Great post Bishwanath...where did the inspiration come from? I'm curious...

Sharon
www.thekeybunch.com

The Ugly One said...

oh! yes. when you see yourself naked, you tend to see through yourself. a rare moment when you love you as well. life can be very interesting at 40. only a week back, i read in guardian that women have the sex of their life after forty (and men after 50). But BG has a pointer to a fulfilling life in his previous post on love. its personal :)

The Ghost Who Walks. said...

Was reading the post-financial crunch economic report of a company before this blog and can't help but draw a parallel.

Consumerism is exciting, enticing,involuntary and has no end, even if that translates into manipulating the fundamentals. You start putting a price-tag on your qualities and there is no turning back from there on. As the joker said - All it needs then, is just a little push.

The Naked Mind said...

Hey Bish... I know you spent a lot of time on this one. And i'm sure it was worth the effort. It's stirring up quite a bit of emotions here.. For a moment I forgot that you even exist. All my thoughts were on Shivani. Infact she's been on my mind the entire day...

Very beautifully written!!

Nondini said...

hey Bish ... i love the way you have done this one !!!

Anonymous said...

daroo peekar likha kya?

Adithya said...

Reading about 'Shivani' and her so called 'story' was a waste of my time. It did not amuse me at all. This faceless 'Shivani' (I'm sure this is not her real name and I have serious doubts about the gender of this person) makes no particular point in her attempt at firing from Bishwanath's shoulder. She's just another one of the many people who live in our society hiding behind a mask.

If she really is a woman, its obvious that she is frustrated. She has given it a shot at trying to have a fling so she really isn't the martyr she's trying to portray herself to be. It fizzled out because she met some pussycat for man. If she had met someone with lead in his testicles, she'd have no reason to crib about her lost out 14 years. Then again, is she really upset? We wont know for sure, because one moment she is letting her lady friends imagine she is happy and just a little later she really is happy.

I could go on further about her fantasies and nude realisations but then I don't have the time for this any more. She mentions at some point that you will never get to see her, therefore all that you read picturing a ramp walking sexy 40 year old woman with a 34-28-34, could just be the figment of some fat and ugly guy's imagination sitting in some dingy room.

Cheers

Andy said...

I liked the post. I was put off by the trolls in the comments section though.

Anonymous said...

BG,
This whole thing is quite hilarious. People triggering their imaginations in all directions about a fictious character in all probability created by your fertile imagination:)) Trust you to titillate people's mind and this time getting into a female skin - great idea :))Loved it.
Now take in point the case of Adithya here who is most vocal -like he is so damned frustrated that he missed the opportunity to get her email or letter himself :)))))Oh God! his is such a chauvanist and typical male reaction :))) I just can't help ROFL :)))))))

Sabarmati View said...

Well, Shivanis are there everywhere --- within ourselves, within our homes. In India, it's a difficult to be yourself more so for a woman dutifully trying to fit into a variety of roles. But from this... there's a chance that creativity would emerge and that would be the truimph of spirit of the being

Anonymous said...

I really wonder what is so great about Shivani.
She is just about 5 ft 5 in and a figure of 34-28-34 is surely not worth bragging about.
If some one is going to be fascinated by these statistics, well he has'nt matured in the gorgeous world.
God bless him.

Anonymous said...

It was very amusing to read the comments ...

I do not see where all the hostility in the tone of the comments springs from. To keep the family together may be an achievement but is not the end all of the world. The society expects it of it, and if it isn't u are judged. But then, what about her desires,wishes?

Nicely Written.

qwerty said...

Anon @ 1:46 PM, 169 cm is not equal to 5 ft 5 in. It's 5 ft and 0.55 of 12 inches, which is more like 5 ft 6.5 in.

And yes, for that height, her vital stats are very much "neighbour's envy, owner's pride".

Gayathri Varma said...

Hi BG,
A beautiful post, the character Shivani resembles most women i am sure, whether or not she has the courage to confront the facts...

And it goes without saying that Shivani is a figment of your imagination born out of your wisdom, sensitivity and understanding of women in general....

I remember what a male friend told me when i had my first child, 'Please do not let that fire within you die, however hard it might be, strive to keep it burning."

Renu said...

oh Shivani is a true woman and I am glad she's finally talking :)

Sahil Sarin said...

I liked the story indeed. Can I contact Shivani Plz. Will anybody give me her contact email ID?

prerna said...

well, although this has been written by a female, i can say that most males i know, including my father and my husband could have a similar story. before marriage they were a son, a brother, a grandson and fulfilling peoples wishes( or at last listening to what all wanted) and now they are a husband, a father and a grand father and ful filling peoples wishes around them...

please sympathize with the males too... they wanted to be a lead guitarist but ended up being a computer engineer, used to go swimming every day, but can now only drop their kids for their swimming classes, wanted to buy a racing bike but ended up with a regular car for the family..

no one lives for himself except the lonely road crossing begger.. so stop feeling so sorry for you.

Deepika Munot said...

Strangely I found a bit of maturity and a bit of juvenile ranting in the post. A bit of courage and a bit of cowardice. I guess a very human thought process. no one is 100% anything, right? Even though the self pity is misplaced, but the desires are very real. The inability to achieve very believable despite there being no opposition and the need to catch up with lost ambitions a step in the right direction.
All we have to do is introspect and we will find we are all plagued by the same demons all our lives in one way or another.