Bridget Jones. Ah! Memories! Source Poster girl of my generation. Inventor of useful vocabulary such as ‘emotional fuckwits’ used generously to bitch about silly boys who were mean to us or didn’t know we existed on the same planet as they are on. We idolized her. Laughed and lived with her. Pinged our friends at 2 in the night whining about how we’d die fat & alone only to be found three-weeks later half-eaten by our Alsatians. She was on a quest for self-improvement and we could identify with that even though we didn’t know where to begin from. Lose weight? Study for masters? Start working and then study? Realize I don’t want to study engineering after studying engineering for 3 years? Figure out what I actually want to do with my life only to be distracted 2 minutes later? Dump that loser boy who’s been making my life miserable for the past 6 months? The mind was a whirlwind of emotional turmoil and we were glad to find an ally in Bridget. The book used to be an extension of our confusion. 8 years later, as I look back, I wonder, what the hell was I thinking? -Why would I waste my weekends moaning about the lack of a love life when I could go out and learn a new language? -Why would I worry about being attacked by Alsatians in my home when I could save up and travel? With said Alsatians whom btw I have trained well enough. Seriously he’d go & get help if I am ever THAT lonely & depressed -Why would I let some ‘emotional fuckwit’ disrespect my emotions & get away with it? -Why on earth would I inflict self-harm? Ruin my health? Because I don’t have a boyfriend and hence no reason to take care of myself? -WHY ON EARTH WOULD I EVEN WANT TO BE ANYTHING LIKE BRIDGET JONES? Did we just buy into the idea that our 20s are always going to be a hot mess? With gazillion lifestyle pieces back then (and even now!) trying to convince us that yes your 20s suck. But hey it’s okay because your 30s are going to suck even more. I seriously wonder what was she thinking Why does she keep getting into such a mess? Why does she not have a single morsel of self-respect? Why does she allow herself to believe that it’s okay to stay in an emotionally toxic relationship till Mr. Right comes along and rescues her? Yes I know I know. I am sounding too much like a feminazi now. But seriously. I mean I have a boyfriend, a very sweet, kind-hearted man who I am very much in love with. But before we met I had been single for 4 years. When I turned 25 my family sat me down and tried to convince me that I am not getting any younger and soon I will find all nice, eligible bachelors ‘gone’ with no one to ‘settle down’ with and I would grow up to be a bitter, lonely single woman. The very concept of ‘single by choice’ does not apply to women past a certain age it seemed. I thought and thought and thought. Then I discovered krav maga. Before long I found myself howling in pain while a merciless instructor who yelled at me to get up and hit my partner.
Source: Then I discovered an NGO that worked with kids of migrant laborers in Bombay. And my favorite bookstores in the city. The pleasures of spending an entire afternoon in said bookstore reading or watching movies alone. I met like-minded people or ones very very different from me. I traveled, sometimes alone. I changed house 5 times. I learnt to cook elaborate meals. I grappled with a sense of existence. I tried to get my bearings in a world that was increasingly telling me that if I don’t look/dress/speak a certain way I was not worthy of respect and recognition. (To be honest I am still struggling. Not proud) And I realized I don’t have the time to wallow in self-pity over my relationship status. Some of the most fascinating, terrifying, amazing, powerful moments in the history of the human race are happening right now. Where does one get the time to sit and mope about the lack of a carbon-based lifeform to exchange saliva with? All of this aside, there are jobs to do, rents and bills to pay, errands and chores to take care of, brokers and vegetable sellers to haggle with, traffic, IRCTC website speed & power cuts to deal with, natural calamities, political upheavals, economic turbulences to study about and understand how they affect us on a personal level, friends to keep in touch with, someone or oneself to fall in love with, maids, bosses, cabbies, parents to argue with etc that get in the way! Of course it goes without saying that it is still a brilliantly funny book. The wit is intact, the humor dazzling, the writing full of biting satire when she’s not boring the hell out of you with her whining & complaining. Despite the cringing chick lit clichés, it is still a fun read. But she’s no longer the lovable neurotic I could identify with on a personal level because I don’t have the time to obsess over my weight, looks, love life or the lack thereof. Dear Bridget, Thank you for being an amazing companion growing up. Thank you for imparting nuggets of important worldly wisdom. Thank you for acknowledging that it is not easy being a single woman, no matter where you are. But thank you for also showing how not to live my life. For making my realize that I should value my health above everything else and not drink like a sailor and smoke like a chimney and then whine about my weight. God the amount of time you waste whining…it’s almost criminal. I want to reach inside the book & shake you and tell you ‘Girl there’s no such thing as your best years. THIS is your best year.’ Seriously woman, you have a job. You are intelligent, educated, witty. You are enormous fun when you’re not complaining about your life. Why do you put up with the ‘emotional fuckwittery’ or the passive aggressive shit (yes you impolite, incapable-of-making-a-conversation-like-a-normal-human-being Judgmental Judas Mark Darcy)? Age is just number with no bearing on your real life. Screw the society and stop fat-shaming yourself and do something about your health. Life of self-gratification is brilliant till your body hate you for putting it through this. Dear Bridget, maybe the problem isn’t the ‘emotional fuckwits’ you keep running into. Maybe it’s you and your boring, nagging, complaining insecure self. This time, I think I liked Cleaver more than you. Two minutes silence for my adolescence & undergrad years that just died in shame, guilt & confusion.