Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Picture 1: A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval. - Mark Twain
“A Grande, Quad, Non-fat, no-Sugar, No-Whip, Mocha please” said Tara Kapoor.
“No-sugar, really? Who is the new guy who convinced you to give up on sugar?”
Tara turned around to see Preeti Singh, her best friend. And not just any best friend, but an if-you-were-a-boy-I-would-have-married-you kind of best friend.
“So, do I have to ask you again? Who is this new boy?”
“How do you always know?” said Tara trying to avoid making eye contact with her friend.
“Because I know you and the fact that you have a huge sweet tooth. But, I also know that this Tara was last seen in 11th class.”
“It is true. I could never say no to sweets or desserts.” Thought Tara to herself. “But people change right? They have to change or to use a better word, ‘adapt’ - Theory of Natural Selection. I must not be the only one adapting. But are the reasons to adapt same for everyone?”
Slowly, Tara found herself walking down the memory lane. The memories were vivid, maybe because she frequently visited them. Tara was in 12th standard when it started. She was a shy kid, there was no denying that. She kept to herself and her selected friends and Preeti was one of them. Tara didn’t mind a small social circle. “There is plenty of time to make friends, but I need to focus on my studies right now.” She had said this to herself perhaps as a defense mechanism because otherwise the following events would be hard to explain.
It was a normal lunch break on a Tuesday afternoon. People were eating each other’s lunches; some had gone to meet their friends from other sections. A group of boys had gone down to play football while some stayed back. Tara had just returned from the washroom where she got caught in what she called “a stupid boy fight” about who is better – Manchester United or Chelsea. She tried to avoid the crowd and go straight to her desk but Arjun caught her arm.
“Tara, tell them you like ManU, it is obviously the best. Tell them that even you are fan and come to our side.” Shouted Arjun
Tara didn’t know what to do. She was hearing these names for the first time but her instinct told her to just say ‘yes’ and get out of the situation.
“Yes, yes, I like ManU”
The next thing she knew Arjun had hugged her. He told Tara to take her belongings and come sit with their ‘gang’. Tara was so taken aback with her things being lifted, her seat being changed that she couldn’t say anything. But there was a feeling. A feeling of being included, of being wanted, of being loved maybe. The feeling was so powerful that from the next day Tara liked everything that Arjun liked. She was annoyed with the same people as Arjun was with. She read the same books, watched the same movies, listened to the same songs. Don’t be confused, she was not in love with him. She was in love with the idea of being loved by someone else.
“Should we order? Do you want anything to eat?” said Preeti breaking Tara’s chain of thoughts.
“No, I’m good.” Tara replied. “Aren’t you going to ask about this boy?”
“Okay, so tell me about this boy. The last time I met you was 2 years ago when you were dating Amit from Delhi, right? The one who was a struggling actor?” asked Preeti as she broke into a laugh. “Remember you had turned vegan for him? And how you had suddenly become more quiet and spiritual because that is the kind he liked? I wonder what would happen if those who really know you had seen you at that time.”
“You know I don’t care about what others are going to think of me. You also know the reason Preeti, everyone else is simply not ready to accept this behaviour. And the hypocrisy! Everyone wants to be loved, everyone is constantly changing themselves to fit in, yet, they are not consciously aware of it.” Thought Tara out loud.
Preeti knew what Tara was talking about. She had been there with her in all the Psychology classes talking about the need for belongingness and the lengths to which people can go to satisfy this need.
“Okay, okay so about this boy…” Preeti quickly changed the topic.
Tara stood in front of her bathroom mirror. She had to start getting ready to meet Raj Gupta. This was the boy. And not just any boy, but the I-knew-we-were-meant-to-be-together-from-the-first-time-we-met kind of boy. She had met him in an art gallery in Mumbai. He was the stereotypical businessman. He spoke less, had a broody aura, liked his coffee black, and wore formals basically everywhere he went.
Tara had done all her research before meeting him the second time and “and, the second time was perfect. Oh, how he was so surprised to find such commonalities.” Tara thought to herself and smiled. They had spent the entire evening together talking about Picasso and contemporary art and Beatles, everything that Tara was indifferent towards till a few days ago. Raj was so impressed, he had thought it was destiny and had immediately asked her out on another date.
“Had this happened, if I were not exactly like he wanted? Absolutely not.” Thought Tara as she took a final look at herself in the mirror. She wasn’t going to doubt her actions today. It had been a long time since she met a person who had eyes only for her, who cared for her in a way that that told her everything was going to be alright. She craved for it.
“I am ready."
"I have my approval and that’s all I need today.” Said Tara out loud as she let go of herself. Once again.