Last night, I was watching Sex and the City: The Movie (2008), well, for the 42nd time, and of course I drew a parallel. When Carrie Bradshaw’s Vogue Editor talked about “The last single girl” photo shoot featuring Carrie in various designer wedding dresses, me, while sipping my cheap beer (month end plus just quit my cushy job) exclaimed to myself, “Mm hmm, I know exactly what you mean, girl.” Only difference being, she was a 40-year-old bride, and I am 28. But hello? That’s New York and this is Bombay. It’s only fair.
Now if there’s anything that’s exactly like SATC in my life it’s the fact that I lucked out in my girlfriends department. I’ve my own set of Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte, even though they’re physically not here with me in Manhattan aka Mumbai.
I paused the movie after Mr. Big bailed out on Carrie on their wedding day, and Facetimed Namrata in Singapore almost immediately. Namrata aka Nammy is my leaner, taller alter ego and we bonded on the first week of college based on our mutual love for bitchiness, boys and fashion. Which also makes me wonder, if I cared so much about fashion, why did I ever opt for those hideous green contact lenses and red hair? And why did Nammy opt for that equally hideous blonde hair? She thought she’s Beyonce but really, she was Binita from Kashba. Whatever. We were 18 and foolish. Cut us some slack.
It has been more than 10 years since we are best friends and we know each other’s dirtiest, filthiest, most obnoxious secrets. It’s almost as if, I feel like slapping her and kissing her all at the same time, you know? I can’t really explain but that’s exactly how it is.
“I was just watching the Sex and the City movie and realised I’m obviously Carrie duh. It’s totally my life – except it’s just city, no sex,” I grunted on Facetime.
Hair tied up in a top knot and face mastered to be like a one-tone bitch over the years, Nammy squinted her eyes and smirked.
“I’m serious. Are you even listening to me? I am the last single girl, just like Carrie,” I demanded, half drunk from the cheap liquor.
“No, you’re not,” said Nammy, while exhaling smoke in circles, sitting beside her plush pool.
“You’re married for five years and sitting in a skimpy slutty bikini below your building. What the hell do you know?” I spat out while taking a gulp.
“Ush, for god’s sake,” she rolled her eyes. She’s probably the only person who still calls me Ush, a shorter version of Ushnota, a name my poet/writer/director/creative extraordinaire dad had ever so lovingly given me. It has a lovely meaning – warmth; but over the years it took a backseat once I left Kolkata almost a decade back and the non-Bengali tongues found my nickname June a far better fit. Even though some of them time and again keeps reminding me how beautiful the name Ushnota really is. And hey, I agree. But at 28, I can safely say, if you call me Ushnota or any other weird Ush/Ushno/Ushy variations, you belong from a time in my life where I used to have questionable fashion choices and the Sony walkman was my best friend in the whole wide world (read: school).
“I’m turning 29 next month. Where did my 20s go? Where is my Mr. Big?” I pouted, and immediately corrected myself. “Dickwad Big fucking left her at the alter though. Should I really aim for that?” (Note: I turn into a foul-mouthed pirate when I’m tipsy)
“Of course you should. Did you see the apartment he bought and the walk-in closet he built for Carrie?” Namrata said, reminding me of priorities. See, this is why I need this girl in my life.
“Yeah, Big was like, ‘I got it’ and just bought that real estate heaven in Manhattan. ‘I got it’, like he’s buying her a Starbucks coffee. Now, I’m not aiming for Malabar Hill, but can my Mr. Big at least do that for me in Juhu? Is it even too much to ask for?” I swayed dangerously while taking a big swig.
“Why settle in Mumbai? Come to Singapore,” said Nammy, while staring at her freshly manicured nails. Her favourite thing to tell me these days is, ‘Come to Singapore.’
“I’m quitting my job” – “Come to Singapore.”
“Dude I’m PMS-ing so bad. Ugh I think I’m gonna die or something” – “Come to Singapore.”
“Nammy, I finally watched Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman. So fucking ama…” – “Come to Singapore.”
“I feel so bad for Syria.” – “Arre come to Singapore na.”
I totally ignored her. “Carrie has encouraged me to update my blog after some 520 years. I’m so pumped up all of a sudden,” I said instead, feeling invincible like The Hulk.
“You totally should. You should’ve never stopped writing for yourself, in the first place. Like they say, date a writer and you shall never die,” said Nammy, who suddenly looked as wise as Dalai Lama in my drunken haze.
“So true yaaaa,” I drawled – length of drawl being inversely proportional to my sobriety. “Okay bye, I’ll get back to the movie. I’ll call you later bruh,” I said and hung up.
It was a typical humid May night in Mumbai. I decreased the AC temperature and stuffed my face with some good ol’ KFC chicken. Forget men. I have chicken and beer forever, thank you very much. I resumed watching the movie.
I watched the girls sunbathing in Mexico as Carrie nursed her broken heart. And here, on a month end, I can’t even manage to go to Mahabaleshwar. What is this unfair life, I thought to myself and bellowed.
Right when ‘Auld lang syne’ started playing and Carrie went to meet Miranda all the way in downtown Manhattan on New Year’s Eve, I grew increasingly emo (read: drunk AF). So, I picked up the phone and did the most logical thing. I Facetimed Nilovna aka Nilo in Florida. Meet BFF No. 2. We’ve been friends since we were 3-years-old and let’s just say, there’s no point pretending in front of her. She can read my mind like a Harry Potter book – meaning, as fast as possible. I must mention here, I am an amazing drunk caller. I only drunk call my best friends, my dad or my dada. Like, I may take the most atrocious, most embarrassing decisions in life, but I’m extremely proud of my drunk calling skills because I never call an ex. “None of them are worth my drunk call,” I had once told Nammy proudly, while nursing a rather bad hangover and meant every word of it.
“I’m dying alone,” I made a puppy face and told Nilo, moment she answered my Facetime.
It was morning in USA and she was in her lab coat busy with her precious soil samples. She’s the cutest looking PhD nerd that I know of, and hey, no biases whatsoever here.
“Bullshit. Look at yourself. You’re so pretty,” said Nilo, in her true mejo-pishi style, balancing a stack of files in her hand.
I quickly checked myself out in the mirror beside me. My kajal was smudged and I was wearing an oversized grey tee-shirt, that, let’s be honest, has not been washed over a week. I swear I could even spot chicken crumbs beside my lip.
“You’re so sweet. You find me good looking even when I’m looking like a cocaine addict from Malad. Like the ones who need to shift to Malad from Bandra to support their habit, you know?” I sniffed and blew my nose.
“Keep drinking the beer and chill babe,” said Nilo, while lovingly looking at her soil samples.
“I want someone to look at me the way you look at your soil,” I said while gurgling the beer in my mouth.
“You don’t mean that. My life starts and ends in the lab. My advisor is such a bitch. Achha, why us? Why are we the only unmarried ones left?” she asked, finally looking at me, through her hot nerd glasses.
“I don’t know, Nilo. I was just watching SATC now and it reminded me of you. I am the last single girl, just like Carrie Bradshaw,” I said while staring into nothingness. Two tall beer bottles have been finished. I was almost attaining nirvana and clarity.
“And who am I?”
“Charlotte, of course. With a sprinkling of Miranda. You’re so smart and successful and I’m so proud of all your achievements,” pat came my well-articulated reply. Drunk me is nice. Drunk me is fun AND nice.
“What will I do without you?” she said, while checking out behind her shoulders if anyone’s looking.
“Girl, we got this. If not Vivianne Westwood, it’ll be Sabyasachi’s bridal couture. Have you seen his new Spring Udaipur collection?”
“Like obvi. I’ve found the perfect lehenga for you. It has two options too – one in green and one in maroon. Check Insta DM.”
“I love you.”
“I love you too.”
As I hung up, I had this big silly grin on my face. See, that’s the thing about girlfriends. They always say the right things at the right time. I have no P of Plan in place. There’s no Mr. Big. Heck, there’s not even a Mr. Too-tiny-for-me-to-notice. But we know it’s going to be a Sabyasachi lehenga and there will be this house in Juhu. And for now, that’s all I needed to hear.
As the wise old Carrie aka my pop culture alter ego rightly said once, “Maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just people to have fun with.” Nailed. Raising my beer bottle like a pirate, on that one, girl!