3. Eat, Pray, Love
While growing up in an extended family, about 12 people used to eat together every day. Three full meals and two snacks were mandatory, as were fruits, glasses of milk and tumblers of sherbet.
Now I eat alone on most days. Just like an increasing number of single people do. Relatives often ask me how I manage not to feel upset at mealtimes. I find it an unusual question. For sure, salubrious company adds to a satisfying meal, but sometimes one can be alone in company too.
The truth is that I actually enjoy my own company. I like setting a table for myself, complete with table mats, napkins, flowers and candles. I enjoy pouring a glass of juice in a wine glass and swaying to music before dinner. I also enjoy cooking for myself. I have a huge interest in the flavours and textures of food as well as its presentation – food must look as good as it tastes. Once, I placed a mirror on the place-mat opposite mine – I was dining with myself! Every time I smiled, I in the mirror smiled too! It was a delicious week.
Psychologists speak eloquently about the direct co-relation of food with happiness. Women know intuitively about nurture and healthy eating. Yet, we slide into the downward spiral time and again. How then does one guard against the “beast” within?
When I made peace with my shadow self, my dark side, I absolved the people I believed had damaged me. The day I accepted all that was and is dark in me, the sludge began to slide. As I began shedding grudges, slights, resentments, anxieties and fears, I felt my body melting, as if freeing itself of its own self.
I changed many things in my life including thought patterns, eating habits and ways of emoting. The following Diwali night, an erstwhile Royal, known for her stunning visage and stylish dressing, invited me over for a celebratory dinner along with three of her single friends. There we were: five strong and independent women: an architect, a senior journalist, a fashionista, an educator and a business consultant, all dressed in beautiful saris, looking like goddesses, praying to a sword in Rajasthani style sans a male priest.
As the hostess anointed the shastra (weapons) and we each followed suit, it seemed as though life were telling me to respect my own strength. It was an empowering evening, filled with wholesome food and illuminating conversation. At dinner – the delicious meal was served on silver thalis– we ate freely. Not one of us spoke about weight or men we love/had loved. And it didn’t matter at all to us that we were single and happy and do not fit into a size anywhere near zero.
It was as if we had unloosened the girdle of self and societal pressure.
Read Volume 2, here.
Read Volume 4, here.
About the author: Born with a silver spoon, golden girl Venus is a bright and witty fifty-something, whose persona matches that of her archetype. A wordsmith by profession, she believes in saying it as it is. Cougar mommy, woman of the world, she is part diva, part agony aunt, who believes that her vulnerability is her strength. Her life’s mantra: Find beauty, purpose shall follow.