Sunday, September 02, 2007

Missing him

I get irritated by those people who are at a loss as to what to do when their significant others are not around; whose lives seem to collapse and who have no clue as to how to entertain themselves alone. It particularly annoys me when these people are usually such capable, intelligent and independent people in their working lives.

However, this week I got a taste of how easy it is to become such a person.

M's been working some very long hours and it's likely to continue for most if not all of September. We've barely seen each other and I was looking forward to this weekend - the chance to catch up with him, to spend some quality time together, to simply be around him and have him close to me. So I was disappointed to discover he had to work all weekend too. My gut reaction was, "Oh, I'm going to miss you" and "What am I going to do?" And I felt rather sorry for myself.

When I was single, I used to make long lists of all the things I wanted to do over the weekend - the art shows I wanted to catch, the movies I wanted to see, the restaurants and cafes I wanted to try, the concerts or plays I wanted to check out. Deep down I missed having a significant other in my life, but I made the most of my life in the capital city and lived it to its fullest. Since I've met M, my life is even busier and more stimulating and all that has changed is that the feeling of existential loneliness has disappeared.

I so much relish having M in my life now that I panic a little when he's not around to have fun with. I forget that before him I also had a great life. Nothing can compare to doing things with the person you love, but life doesn't have to stop just because he's not around!

So on Saturday, I opened up my Time Out, got out my pen, started circling the things I wanted to do, and headed into town on my own.

I browsed books of paintings by Peter Doig and Balthus in Koenig Books on Charing Cross Road; I laughed out loud at the quirky yet biting Julie Delphy romantic comedy Two Days In Paris at the Odeon Covent Garden; and I saw some really great art by 45 young contemporary painters from different regions of India at the Emerging India show at the Royal College of Art.

The latter was invariably a mixed show as modern Indian art is as diverse and as varied as its artists. Though it is convenient to talk of a "contemporary Indian art movement", critics shouldn't fall into the trap of judging such art against a single yardstick. As this show demonstrated, contemporary Indian art cuts across a wide range of styles, influences, techniques, frameworks and meanings.

As a Bengali, I was particularly fascinated, though not surprised, by the abundance of art still pouring out of Santiniketan and Kolkata, especially Chandrima Bhattacharyya, Gautam Mukherjii, Uday Mondal, and Somenath Maity (above) whose paintings bring alive the urban sprawl of Kolkata and who says, "In a big city, I feel the vibration of an abstraction, and the colors red, blue, brown, black and olive green come alive in a meaningful way".

Apart from Somenath Maity, my favourite artists from the show were M Pravat (above) and the dynamic, invigorating Murali Cheeroth (top and below).

In all I had a great time. And the icing on the cake? Meeting M in the evening for rock oysters, langoustines and crab at the very camp Randall & Aubin on Brewer Street and desserts of millefeuille and plum tart from Paul on Old Compton Street.

And today it is Sunday and M's at work again, but I'm staying in this time to settle into the sofa with a good novel or two, the weekend FT and a stack of recipe books to plan out this week's meals. I've already been out grocery shopping as later this afternoon I will start making a slow-cook spicy lamb curry for tonight's dinner along with a vegetable upma made from semolina. Recipes for these no doubt will follow tomorrow.


Olivia said...

As inexperienced as I am, I know what you mean about that dependence, and it is only natural.

I only dated someone for a couple of months this summer, but I got so used to the daily phonecall and seeing him all the time, that when he went away I had to break that habit and it was soooo hard because it was more intense than the others. (This is the sinking feeling/floaty sensation I was referring to in my last post).

Olivia said...

Oops, knew I forgot something.

That second picture by Pravat is interesting. Is it mixed media? The background looks photographic whilst the figures are almost surreal.

Little Nutbrown Hare said...

AB was away for three days this week. I'm quite good at being alone nowadays since he travels up to five or six times a year, sometimes he's away for two weeks straight. I read, have some nice food, clean the house, visit the shops he doesnt like to go to, and time seems to pass very quickly. On a different note, I tried out Haozhan, I like the aubergine and tofu claypot and the fried hor fun was nice too.

Southways said...

Hey the plays I saw the fringe were all great. The ones I would highly recommend were:

The Walworth Farce (Druid)

Ravenhill For Breakfast (Paines Plough)

Long Time Dead (Paines Plough/Drum Theatre)

We also saw the following, but they were not that brilliant:

Truth In Translation (The Colonnades Theatre Lab)

What If? (Tale on Fire)

Planethalder said...

Hi Olivia - the Pravat is oil on canvas. It's photo-realistic.

I've been following your loss on your blog - it's a very difficult time isn't it. I really felt your description of a sinking/floating sensation - not with M as we're married and haven't split up but with relationships past...

Hi Tommy - glad you enjoyed Haozhan. I haven't had the aubergine and tofu hotpot so I must try it.

It's true - M would never have wanted to see Two Days In Paris so I had my chance while he was working! Though he did want to see the Indian art exhibition.

Thanks Southways for the list. I was very curious. Now I can look out for some of them here in London.

Bombay Beauty said...

I'm sorry I missed this. For many reasons, I am also at the "circling in Time Out phase" and I understand your feelings -- the need to keep busy yet the hesitancy in doing so, not wanting to go back to the coping mechanisms of being single -- which in your case you're not. Cheers, BB

Olivia said...

I guess with frequency it gets easier? I worked really really hard to get over this one. Have my moments of course, but when I was dumped two years ago, it took me about 6 months to recover. Plus this was not a dumping it was just a farewell which is hard but not hurtful.

Planethalder said...

Hi BB - Welcome! And thanks for your comments.

Olivia - You would hope that it gets easier with frequency wouldn't you...