Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Life In Imagination

It took a fiery som tam and an image of Jaisalmer to snap me out of it.

A paragraph describing sunrise over the red sand dunes at Jaisalmer fortress and a whiff of that papaya salad that is so definitely part of the buffet spread in heaven, I snapped. Enough is enough.

Life has to be lived. And lived now. Not whiled away on afternoons of Spider Solitaire. Or camped out at the cafe with Temporarily Jobless Homo. It's been one excuse after another, week after week, year after year. And it's been almost 3 years since I started perfecting the art of procrastination.

Especially in the past month. With my knees in dire starits and with the image of my ransacked home fresh in mind, my sprint has broken into a run. A great big Olympic race to god know where. But for sure, faster and faster away from reality. And I've done it all by sitting still.

It's my own little attempt at a nervous breakdown. Doing the Demi rock ala St Elmo's Fire except saner (wtf?). With my head in the sand, work, duties, responsibilities - they all don't exist. I flit from one good time to the next. Planning dinner parties, holidays, getways, jetaways, breakaways. Whatever, as long as it's away.

For hours on end, I hole myself up playing computer games, and yes, ladies and gentlemen, lately, I've regressed into reading lurid romantic novels. No, not just reading. Gorging would be a better word. It's as if I've substituted my binge eating on binge romance reading. Doughnuts for dongs, mayo sandwiches for salami. Perhaps I have sunk to my lowest point?

I haven't read a romance novel (not of the Sweet Dreams sort) since I was fifteen and I was amazed to discover that many things have changed since then. It appears that we have moved on from blushing heroines to very hungry, very demanding, very horny heroines. Buggery, threesomes, orgies, and 11inch schlongs are the order of the day (yes, hero and heroine actually measured it in Beatrice Small's 'Sudden Pleasures'). They have come out of the shadowy alleys of porn flicks and walked straight into the bright flourescent lights of MPH. Hot off the shelves.

I can see why its so easy for women to get so caught up with them. They are written by women for women after all. And who knows what women want best? All prerequisites fulfilled, all needs considered, all fantasies played out in minutest detail. Despite my initial balk at these novels, I figured, what's a harmless dalliance? (Note: My prose is beginning to read like the novels in question). Before long, I found myself wanting to know more about the Italian count with the smooth chest, dark hair, the piercing blue eyes and the scent of danger about him! Oh, but its been a breathless start to the week.

But enough already. I marched urgently into Times today to buy my latest fix (anything with an Italian count - whcih narrows it down to just about 2 whole shelves - the other is taken up by pirates and vampires equally). Somehow I drifted to the travel shelf with the Lonely Planets. India. That's when I saw Jaisalmer and I realised how I just can't wait till September when I hop on that plane I finally fulfill a dream.

I've realised one thing about myself. I am one hell of an escapist. I often think how content I may be locked up in solitary confinement, alone to live out my lives in parallel universes. But with that image of Jaisalmer and that utterly enticing scent of som tam outside the bookshop, I was pulled back into the busy thoroughfare of Plaza Damas at lunchtime. My life can be so much more. I know it's there right in front of me, willing me to do something with it.

I think I'm made of sterner stuff than Spider Solitaire mindlessness. And certainler sterner than a poor slave girl waiting for a count to whisk her off her feet.

So I came back and wrote this post.