I was going to turn a year older, unfortunately I wasn’t wiser. I had no clue where my life was heading. My bank balance had never been this low. I hadn’t figured out the answers to last year’s questions. In fact all I had, were more questions that were also disturbingly unanswered.
I had begun colouring my hair, not to look cool with a streak of vivid purple but to look my age or something in that generation by camouflaging the greys. Everybody I knew were either procreating or buying houses.
So I did what any normal, sensible person would have done in this situation. I took a holiday. My destination was neither exotic or indulgent, it was one that would give me the most happiness at the cheapest rate. No, it wasn’t a book it was an actual place - Goa during the off season.
Realms have been written about its sun, sand and sea magic but I beg you to discover it on cold, rainy days where the greyness of the sea mirrors your life and sorrow feels beautiful.
Sitting huddled under those very same large umbrellas, not in a bikini but in a sweatshirt and shorts, watching the waves lash angrily at the land it crashes on is so soothing. All that anger you feel within somehow dissolves with the immensity of creation and you are left with a deep calm while on the outside the elements rage on, on your behalf.
This was my first holiday alone and as usual I pushed it to the very extreme. Not only did I go to Goa alone, I also fished out a beach that was empty even during the tourist season. The result was predictable. I was the only tourist as far as the eye could see. The solitary waiter who played multiple roles of caretaker / cook / watchman / cleaner / hummer when the electricity goes off could never see me. I took to going into that dismal kitchen and helping myself to the fridge. He didn’t seem to mind and he never charged me extra for all those self help happiness plates of goan sausages. God bless his generous unhelpful heart.
On my birthday I had decided rather wilfully to keep my phone off. After having spent the first half of the day looking at the sea endlessly, I wandered off in search of the waiter. I hunted him down and told him it was my birthday while staring at him with my sad, brave eyes. What a drama queen! He muttered something and continued cleaning the kitchen sink.
I stomped off telling myself this is what I am, all alone in this world and it’s fine, fine, FINE. I even sang Happy Birthday to myself a bit loudly, the waiter didn’t notice. That evening, I helped myself to another plate of sausages. The sea was waiting for me. What a steady, beautiful, trustworthy friend it was. I sat in front of that humbling blackness and confided in great detail about everything I wanted in my life. It listened patiently and didn’t complain about my greed.
The next day I caught my bus back to the real world. I had told the sea about all that I had wished for and they were all going to come true. Happy Birthday To Me.
Dancing Divorcee is a weekly happy, sad, funny, obnoxious blog on the misadventure called divorce. It will appear every Thursday. Arathi Menon is a dancing divorcee who also blogs, writes, tweets and repairs brands.