Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dream Tenant

On October 3, 2011, I fictionalised myself because I thought it would help me make sense:

"The short, fat, smelly landlady had never had a stranger tenant. The girl went to work and came back, she paid her rent on time, she was always polite and spoke in an old accent the landlady had only heard in her childhood. Lately the girl had stopped going out. She still paid her rent on time, but sometimes the landlady could hear her crying in her room. In the middle of the day when all the other girls were out at work or at school. The landlady didn't know but the girl would cry at night too, but on the terrace where she wouldn't disturb her roommate. That strange foreign tenant in that room. Not really foreign, the girl was Indian but had never lived in India. Until now. Now she cried, she howled locked up in that room. She talked to herself sometimes. The landlady once thought she heard the girl say, "what is real?" between sobs, but she couldn't be sure. What kind of a person talks like that anyway, it made no sense.

The girl had first started asking that question 5 years ago. "What is real?" she had asked her mother, but her mother had not understood the question. "Amma, tell me what is real?" They were in America then, the girl had been a success - American degrees, an American job, a green card on the way. An American accent, an American attitude, American dollars in the American bank. But lately, it had all started seeming unreal. The popcorn at the theater had started tasting chalky, her mascara had stopped helping her once sparkly eyes pop. She'd started realising that every hot, young, new Hollywood starlet had fake lips and fake breasts. She'd tried so many things, but before long they'd run out. They weren't real. The female role models on TV weren't real, all the makeup she had bought wasn't real, her beautiful apartment that no one visited wasn't real. One day she realised that soon she was going to stop being real too.

What is real, what is real."