It's a refrain I hear very often: 'You've changed.'
Old friends drop in and I shoo them out quickly on school nights - on weekends they smoke alone in the balcony and talk softer on the dining table, our conversations interrupted now and again as I perk a ear to check on a sleeping child. 'You've changed.' I know, I don't drink with abandon anymore - I nurse my one drink all evening, end up with two if the debates are getting a little too hot. I'd love to listen to the women/men you've supposedly bedded, but I'm wondering how I'll cope with a late night, an early morning and a killer day at work.
Sometimes the refrain is garbed in the 'you look different' phrase. I know. A body I was once proud of for its perfect curves, is now hidden under layers of stubborn fat and stretch marks that make me seem like a shark-bite survivor. Sometimes they say 'the weight suits you', and I know they are not merely being nice. They now view me as I have always viewed them - a sum total of their opinions, not merely as the body that houses them. That's why I increasingly resemble a fugly cotton kurta with a large ketchup stain these days. I'm thinking of ways to make Nino's life more organic and ofcourse, about getting some fat on his bones.
The husband holds my hand in the night - and I plead an aching back and worn soles. What happened to the woman who seduced him into this relationship, who expressed her love so freely and physically? 'You've changed.' I know. I'm looking for nothing more than a helping hand in the house these days. A shoulder-rub is also welcome.
I read the headlines in the paper every morning in the loo, timed in minutes before I jump in the shower and head to work. I read Eric Carle to bed every night, having replaced my mighty tomes of love, wit, wisdom and philosophy with stories of the Bear, Beaver and Moose.
I dread visit social networking sites where peers and contemporaries talk with such variety about trips, opinions and relationship statuses. I don't travel. My opinions are limited by an over-exposure to parenting and an under-exposure to pretty much everything else that is cool/trendy/current. FB/Orkut don't have enough options for my relationship statuses: Married, Happily Married, Vaguely Unsettled in Marriage, or often-don't-know-what-I'm-doing-or-heading-to in Marriage - all with one guy. There's nothing that's current in my frame of mind - it's all weeks/months/years/lifetimes. Alanis feels like an angsty teenager - Ghalib and Faiz feel like brethren. Pain has become band-aids and icepacks when it once used to be about life, love, want, hope and despair. Happiness used to be impulsive shopping, romantic dates, Rushdie's books, mutton curry. Happiness now is timing my ride home with Nino's playtime in the garden, so I can sneak up on him and hear him squeal with delight till we both collapse laughing, unmindful of the dirt. I've changed.
3 hours ago