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.