Ruse-tinted Glasses

I love rooftops.  Open spaces make unrivaled places for open conversations. And because things from a high rooftop appear beautiful, fragile, immaterial and ephemeral; just as they typically are.

“This is all the liquid I could get.  Let’s drink it and pretend we are drunk. Cheers!” she joked and handed out Mirinda bottles to everyone. The gang of girls obeyed dutifully, like they always did. She was a happy-go-lucky, vivacious woman of 32, a teacher, mother of a six-year-old, divorced and the uncrowned leader of the gang. Spending time on the rooftop at night, some sensibility and tons of non-sense had become a regular feature for all of us.

After a few poorly mimicked and supposedly funny drunken monologues, someone finally asked, “So what are we celebrating?” She stood up; still acting drunk and giddy, hoisted the bottle in one hand and announced “My son is coming to meet me! I will be seeing him after six months. He will spend his entire summer vacation here. He has grown up…” She went on fervently for another few minutes about her son. I waited with equal fervor for her mask to slip.

We had been friends for some time now. She loved everybody, everyone loved her. Me, I just wasn’t sure if there ever was a real person for us to love. Humor in every situation, silver lining in all incidences, self-convincing, ever-grinning; like a bloody smiley was sewn to her face. I wanted to know the real her, one that didn’t get tipsy over a “half-bottle-full” of Mirinda.

“Six months is a long time. Why don’t you see him more often?”

“He has his classes. He cannot travel. I have my job too. But the time we get together, worth it!”

“Do you have custody issues? You should talk to your ex. He is not being fair if he…”

“It’s not his fault! He has a wife to please too. Parenting is not easy! They both have a system, which is working fine for all of us. Not their fault at all. He is, in fact, the best ex one could ask for.”

“Best ex? I thought those where imaginary creatures.”

“He is the best ex! He is a good father, never bad-mouths about me in front of our son and hardly fights. What more could one ask for?”

“Loyalty may be.”

“Yes, yes, he found someone else and left me. But love doesn’t come with lifetime guarantee anyways. I did want to chop his head off once. Not anymore. We did spend some amazing time together after all. Travelled, learnt new stuff, and lived! Good memories. ”

“Yeah?”

“Oh yes! A lot of good memories. The wedding, the birth, everyday little stuff… Oh! One time, he came home late at night but we still spent hours…”

“Whoa!  We get it. Shut up now, drunko,”

The drunken monologues and giddy laughter took over again. I kept look at her face for signs, but the mask stayed on. And it never slipped for all the years that we were friends.

Maybe I was wrong after all. Maybe there was no mask. Maybe she had realized something we all choose to ignore: things are just as they seem from the rooftop – beautiful, fragile, insignificant and ephemeral.

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About sayali611

Spent a lifetime building a wall around myself, only to realize that what remained inside was as hideous as anything I would protect myself from. This blog is my attempt to break free, one brick at a time, and to make sense of what was blocked out.

Posted on May 4, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. masked lady..at times we wear certain masks to hide the dirt and least required..these days we have ample of masks to be flying around..we keep switching from masks to masks to suit ourselves..
    great work my girl..
    as i never failed to mention that “YOU HAVE A GREAT WRITING SENSE”
    bring it on …would love to read more and more..:)

  2. Antriksh Raje

    I somehow feel the main idea of the story went astray in between.. and somehow the story doesn’t emphasize on the central idea that well.. a good honest attempt, but not convincing enough..may be because it isnt clear whether if this is a work of fiction or a real life anecdote..but do keep writing..i am sure you will get better! 🙂 cheers!!!

  3. thank u both 🙂 means a lot
    @antriksh – it is a real life anecdote. all my blog posts will be. points noted tho. watch out for the next one lol

  4. That is why the worst kind of love is the unrequited one. Makes the shell so hard that even in fragility man dons the best smokescreen. But a facade is a facade is a facade. No matter how perfect on the outside, it can never make up for the hollowness within.

    Loved the piece. Will be tuned for more \m/

  5. Really nice work Sayali.
    But please excuse the critic in me, i honestly felt you could’ve done a tad better with this. You did touch upon certain interesting topics, but i couldn’t find any central theme in it. Was it just an anecdote(as you claim) you wanted to share, or were you alluding to something already.
    Anyhow, you’ve already earned a fan. Waiting for more from you. 🙂

  6. The subject is good and the story is interesting. A few more incidents could be added in the story, such that it could have been directed towards the central idea of the article. I feel the story just ended abruptly, it could have been stretched a li’l more. But, all this apart, it was a good read and makes us realize the very fact, we always keep on ignoring, running behind nothing.

  7. Abhinav Shukla

    Great start at penning down the imagination in a constructed manner. Reflects the insights of a thinker…

  8. thank u all 🙂 glad u liked it. and appreciate all the suggestions a lot. will work on them next time for sure. cheers!

  9. midaevalmaiden

    This story made me mad at the circle of friends. I thought if the main character chooses to face lifes challenges with a positive attitude then who are they to try to bring her down? What purpose does that serve except to gloat? or feel superior? I dont know. But I think real friends should try to go up to her level instead of bringing her down to theirs.

    In this respect, youve written well. As it got strong emotion to stir in me.

    • i’m glad u like the piece.

      in defense of the friends, since i was one of them – last thing on our mind was to bring her down. when she told me she was going to see her son after 6 months, i wanted to hug her, comfort her. but how could i if she wouldn’t even admit there was something worthy of hugs and comforting? her humour and optimism, sometimes, pushed us away too. and it was frustrating for us (me at least). we used to make a lot of such attempts to let her know that it was okay to put her guards down around us.
      but yes, we were wrong. and our intentions, though good, were just unnecessary.

  10. midaevalmaiden

    She reminds me of myself. So in that vein I can offer that your prescence in her life. Sharing time and laughs IS her support and comfort. Its not realy a defensive wall, rather its a life choice to focus only on the solutions to problems instead of the problems themselves. So asking her to acnowledge the negative side to life will have the opposite effect in her. It will feel like a knife cut from her friends and not comfort. She does feel all the same emotions as her friends. She hurts the same also. She may come off as looking bulletproof but dont let that put you off.

    I hope it was ok to leave this long comment. I dont normaly get in someones face with my opinions, its just that your words are the same thing people say about me and I hurt for her. And for the pain of misunderstandings in friendships. lol:)

    • you are right. i do see that now, but sadly i didn’t back then. but now that i do, i admire her more. in a way, misunderstanding her was a step towards understanding her. and life!
      people like you and her are true gems, with better insight and inner strength than most of us. it takes us a while to understand that, because you all are truly a level above us all. but once we do, we cherish and respect you. and sometimes write blogs about you under the title ‘finding 42’ because you give us more answers about life than anyone else 🙂

  11. This is real life. Keep breaking out of other people’s perceptions and share the trueness of life. The world is a beutiful place with so many voices. We will not hear many of these voices but yours is loud and clear. You are free indeed.
    Michael

  12. Interesting and original stuff!

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