Sometimes, I could just cry. My proverbial heart ping-pongs between the need to be fertilized versus my yearnings for freedom. It is a tough line to straddle. I think–
Wait! I am getting ahead of myself. Let me start from the very beginning. A very good place to start.
From birth till present.
I am Oocy, the oocyte. There were millions of us. My sisters, all from the same gene pool. They had crammed us in an infant-sized pelvic area, but we were happy. When we resided in the uterus of our body’s mother, as a foetus, there were –the horror, even more of us. Somewhere in the ballpark figure of six million. Yeah, six million. In one tiny sac smaller than the pinkie fingernail. Do the maths, folks.
By the time the body’s mama popped us out, our numbers had dropped to a manageable one million. Still a lot, but we could stand at an arm’s distance. Each month we bade goodbye to about 10,000 of my sisters. I would cry each month when they turned into wisps. But, over time, I learnt to control my emotions. As Hughes opined, Life is for the living.
But each day was a lottery. Who would draw the short straw?
Then, we, our body and I, hit puberty. Oh gosh. What a mess that was. Elevated hormones with mood swings, bleeding, and hair. Oh, God! The hair was the worst. Used to the baby smoothness of our body, the hair bothered me the most. The whole experience was …hairy.
Every month, to keep our morale high, the supreme all-knowing body would crown one of us as the queen. The said monarch would be declared mature and would sashay around the innards in a beautiful sash. It was satiny red with the words, Matured Egg-Queen. She ruled the roost for one month. The oocytes clamoured for the honour. Each month was torture for some until the ovary godmothers decided the worthy successor.
Then, things began to change. They got worse. The intolerable bits of puberty didn’t feel so awful anymore. The bleeding, the mood swings, the sweat, even the hair. Even the hair was the lesser of the evils when it came to it.
Our body got sexually active. It was the stuff nightmares were made of.
One weekend, the girls and I were chilling out over cheese toast and tomato soup. We heard our container emit weird oooh noises. Our body was enjoying itself with another one, making gross moaning sounds. We weren’t too perturbed as we had experienced it earlier.
Been there. Heard that!
“I can’t wait. Are you sure you are okay with it?” asked the now-familiar deep-voice.
“Yes. Be gentle, Jay,” our body replied.
Cannot wait for what? What is she not sure of? Weird.
The acquiesce was followed by a lot of exertive fumbling. And then, deep-voice inserted a straw in our place of residence!
“Stalker in the house!” I screamed.
All the oocytes discarded their dinner and gathered around me. Watching the straw come and go. It was fascinating.
What is happening?
The bodies moaned. Apparently, happy. It was a mystery to us.
Without warning, we were hit by a shower of white mist. No, it was a collection of tightly-packed white fugitives. Gross, disgusting microbes attacked us!
First the straw, and now these hooligans. What a night!
The attackers were revolting. Their body odour made me gag. They strolled over and tried to chat us up.
“Hello, my lovelies! Where is your queen?” asked one of the burly ones, his tail swishing.
“As if I am going tell you,” replied I.
“Hey there, Ms. Touch-Me-Not, stop being so grouchy. We only want to say hello to the czarina. Nothing else. We want to kiss her hand in obeisance.”
“Bad news, boys. None of us have been crowned this month. Yet. This has been a wasted journey for you.”
“Oh, don’t worry your pretty little head over it, girl.”
I rolled my eyes at that comment and shrank in horror on hearing the succeeding one.
“We will hang around for another three days,” the burly sperm said with bonhomie.
The loathsome bunch started to explore their surroundings. Some of them were whistling a tune. They carried on as if their invasion of our privacy was nothing but a walk in the park. Their cheer was abominable.
Hideous, horrid things.
The unwelcome stay eventually came to an end, and we relaxed after they were vanquished. The body crowned one of our oocytes as the next queen. She was insufferable for a month. Always moaning about not fulfilling her purpose and dying for naught. That, too, passed.
For a brief period, precious silence reigned, and our body was busy doing whatever bodies do –except that!
The next time, when the groans started, we were prepared. First comes the straw and then the invasion. This time, though, only the first part came true. The straw poked around us, and the bodies moaned and groaned and doing their thing. But there was no assault of the spermatozoa. The straw pumped inside out with a covering on its bulbous head. We watched with fascination. When it shuddered, the white fluid released was contained by the transparent cover.
We peered at the sheath and saw the hooligans hollering behind it, screaming and pummelling the translucent tube with their fists.
“Let us out!” they yelled.
I strode up to one of them. I felt safe due to their imprisonment, making me reckless.
“Nyah. Nyah. Boys, I hope you are enjoying your incarceration!”
“We will get you the next time!” said the new burly sperm.
“Ooh, I am so scared,” I said in mock horror.
They glared at me, tails swirling with furious intent.
“Containment suits you guys. See ya later, tail-a-gator!” I yelled.
My sisters found the whole exchange funny. Everyone did except for the new reigning Queen Egg, who was miffed. She was single and wanted to mingle. She frowned the entire time, swinging between dejection and rage.
“You don’t understand, Oocy. It is my responsibility to socialize with the sperm. By making fun of them, you are acting like a bad hostess. I must protest this travesty. When the moaning started, I changed into my best Sunday dress for this outing,” she pouted.
The sisterhood collectively stared at her.
Bonkers! I can’t believe she was one of us.
The queen egg’s preening was in vain, as the white demons were held back – across a barrier. As the straw withdrew, her face fell. She shrugged and went into her cocoon to sulk, shaking her head.
Whenever our body gave the annoying giggle, we knew what was coming next for us! The cameo appearances of the straw with the very unwelcome but restricted appearance of the God-awful rioters.
We fell into a normal routine. While each month, the reigning Queen Egg would lay down her life in abject loneliness and disappointment, the rest of us rejoiced. We enjoyed our freedom and space.
Little did we know, the deep-voiced body was going to unleash its demons on us very soon. And, repeatedly.
“It is the right time as per the ovulation chart,” said our body.
“Wonderful. I am more than ready,” replied the deep-voiced body.
The bodies started writhing in unison, and we were treated to a glimpse of the strawman.
Something is weird about this particular episode. Haw! The strawman is naked! He is not wearing his clothes!
I signalled to my sisters. They confirmed my suspicions. The strawman was, indeed, naked. We waited with bated breath for the thugs to appear. And they did. It was as expected, bad.
Several millions of them ascended (or was it descended?) on our premises. They were cheerful, murderously, so. A few of them were humming, boisterous idiots. But the joke was on them! Our ovary godmother had not declared the winner! She indicated a delay of a couple of days, despite the ideal conditions.
One of the sperms strutted over. He took off his aviators. He winked at me and said.
“There is a big sale in my bedroom right now. Clothes are 100% off.” He leaned closed, his body odour cloying. “If you get my drift.”
I stepped away from him. “Sales are for the damaged good. I can afford to buy off the rack.” I turned my head to the left. “If you catch my drift.”
“Why so miffed, darling?” He stepped into my personal space.
“Is he bothering you, ma’am?” sperm #2 asked, interrupting us.
I looked up in annoyance, but my eyes jutted out. If I had eyes, of course. And, if I had eyes, they would have been googly-ed by now. He was the Adonis of the sperm world.
“No. No, he was leaving.”
Adonis turned towards Jerk. “We got to behave ourselves, dude. Show respect to receive it.”
He turned towards me. “Ma’am, is it possible to have an audience with the queen egg? We all have a message we would wish to deliver to her.”
I was drooling, and my mouth hung open. “There is a delay in the announcement. It may take a couple of days.”
“Thank you for the information, ma’am. I appreciate it. We will wait to see if she can grant us an opportunity.”
“Sure. Hang around or not, who cares?”
Please stay, my hunk of pleasure.
The stay of the hoodlums (minus one) was not unwelcome this time. I was happy to bask in the adoring company of Adonis. Our love was short-lived, though. After 71 hours, 38 minutes, and 43 seconds, we bid farewell to each other as they oozed out.
Well, another time, another place. Nah, it has to be the same place.
Our body was planning something nefarious. Every week, if not more, the unwanted sperms made their presence felt. As always, they overstayed their itty-bitty welcome. Each time, an offspring of the original Adonis would entertain me, and much too soon, we would be apart.
One time, the wretched louts accosted our matured egg in the tubes. They surrounded her, their tails wagging. Left-right. Left-right. They invaded her personal space. I peered over the crowd, expecting to find her feeling threatened. But, the empress was smiling. Tickled pink by her preening fans. She was very accommodating towards them. She didn’t even mind them touching her. It played out like a swayambar of sperms. She garlanded one of them, and they started a new life.
We had been zygote-d. The queen bee’s preening was insufferable. She boasted about her fertility prowess and how she had done it. Whatever it was. Her continuous bragging annoyed the rest of us, but there was no escaping her.
An invasion of a different kind had taken place within our ranks. The uterus had a blast, and a blastocyst attached to it. And, our body formed a foreign body, a baby.
For a long time, what felt eons, we stayed in limbo. We neither lost new sisters nor did the ovary godmothers assign a new empress. It was dull-ville.
The body was too busy fussing over its new guest to pay any attention to us. We just languished, restless, and trapped.
The strawman and his henchmen often made guest appearances. And every single time, they would waddle over and demand to meet the queen.
“Too late, boys, she is already taken,” said I.
Even the charming grandchildren of Adonis couldn’t elevate my moods. My sister’s and my feelings of abandonment had crossed all barriers.
When weeks after the invader was propelled out, our body began its slow ascent towards recovery. In a piecemeal manner, things reverted to what they were.
The oocyte crowned matriarch sulked. She said she was a guinea pig, with any chance of her ‘fulfilling her destiny’, marred from the start. But the prospective czarinas brought with them a burgeoning sense of optimism. One of them had prevailed, and each, on her coronation, felt she would be the next ONE.
The return of the ghastly seminal scum scared us as we were back to the queen production. But it was far and between. Mostly, the strawman behaved and wore its appropriate cover before entering our house.
Over time, one of the sperms married another of our oocyte-turned-egg sisters, and once again, a baby was conceived. We skirted depression when that happened. We limped back to reality, bit by bit.
Though, things had now calmed down. Our body was winding up. The number of my sisters was dwindling faster than you could say: sperms suck. The air around us started getting drier.
Tick-tock went the body clock.
My life had been a rollercoaster ride. I watched from the wings as many of my sisters parted ways with us, some of them churning out babies. I never had the pleasure of being crowned the queen, nor did I clamour for it. I had a good run, and I was glad to be part of our body in its journey. The only regret was the odious semen and their cheesy pick-up lines. They needed to learn some good ones. Of course, some of them were not too bad, almost skirting the levels of tolerance.
And that was how we reached my opening line. At times, I wondered about the gamut of emotions I may have experienced if I had matured and conceived. How different would it have been? But we don’t always have a choice or the right to question, do we? And, I quote Lord Tennyson.
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.
And, while we–
Oh. The nasty one-tracked semen are back. So lost in my poetry recitation was I, I totally missed the cues. Groans: check, naked strawman: double-check.
One of them scampered over.
“Let’s flip a coin. Head’s your mine, tail’s I’m yours,” said he, swishing his tail.
Sometimes, I could just cry.
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