Monthly Archives: June 2011
Subtlety always eluded him. And while she pondered over the mundane, gritty details, he was content with the larger picture. The larger picture, where it was easy to gloss over the finer, subtle intricacies or the clinical approach, where every word had a singular meaning. She couldn’t decide which was worse.
It was almost, always an issue of semantics between them. She meant something, which he misinterpreted, vice-versa. She wanted to highlight a subtle difference; he didn’t care much for it. He was upset she didn’t care for his lack of concern; she chose not to bother.
But there was also an unspoken understanding between them. Most days they agreed to overlook these minor chinks in the relationship. Other days, they gave each other the silent treatment, each hoping that the other would crack sooner.
It was not a game of one-upmanship. They just failed to see eye-to-eye on most things, a fact, which they further disagreed on.
I saw her almost every other Saturday. And the relationship was purely transactional. I had heard about her from a cousin and met her with great skepticism. But she was warm and friendly. And over the weeks, it got easier to talk to her.
Occasionally, there was the odd SOS call. Gradually she also began to recognize my number. A piece of my heart warmed up when she took my name before I had had a chance to identify myself on the phone one afternoon. This weekend she said she’d see me at home if I could make it.
She was warmer than I remembered. More chatty, she lingered on to make small talk. She asked me my age and if I was considering marriage. She didn’t quite wait for my answer. She just advised that I should be. She explained her reasons and I seemed to agree with her. There was little I could contradict her with and I realized I didn’t even want to. I nodded meekly and left.
I informed the mother about this conversation a few hours later and she only said, “I’ve been trying to explain those very same things to you for so long. But if you’d rather hear it from someone else, so be it!”
Those words had come from a friend, an ally and a doctor. She had no hidden agendas. Therefore, it was easier to believe her.
My mother always rues the fact that I don’t pay enough attention to my appearance. She hopes that someday I’ll run a comb through my hair every few hours, wear ironed clothes more often and get rid of all my baggy clothes.
Therefore, it was quite a surprise for the parents when I started lamenting about the lack of suitable footwear in my closet one morning. I was hoping to meet the best friend later in the day and the grandparents before that. The elation of meeting the best friend after six months did not quite match the selection in the shoe closet; hence, the agony.
The father watched me grumble and rant and pout and just shook his head with amusement, convinced that I had lost my marbles. The mother tried to reason out me with, very rationally. “It’s her. How does it matter what footwear you’re wearing. She’s seen you through your worst and your best. Why bother pretending in front of her now!” I wasn’t about to give in just yet. “All that’s fine. But I still don’t have the matching footwear for this kurta.”
She tried to reason out further. “Will a fancier shoe make your conversation more enriching? When she reaches out to hug you, you think she’ll care what color shoes you’re wearing?” I had no comeback in response to that. And the discussion ended there. But I did succeed in getting my hands on (rather my feet into) a pair of heels I had been eyeing for a while.
That was seven years ago. I’d like to believe that I’m a bit more sensible today, although the folks might disagree.
But those lines used by the mother will stick with me forever. “She’s seen you through your worst and your best. Why bother pretending in front of her now!”
Thank you S, for never tolerating that pretense in the place.
He was a distant friend’s husband. Suave, well-groomed and charming at first sight. He was courteous enough to get me a drink but not condescending to assume what it would be.
After the perfunctory exchange of small talk, we got around to talking of the meatier things. Books, movies, passions, hobbies, etc., which led us to the topic of his work. I asked him if he enjoyed what he was doing. He seemed quite content. “It brings in the money and maybe that is reason enough to enjoy it,” he said.
He asked me how I kept myself “busy”. His words. I said I wrote/edited web content and that the writing bit kept me sane. His face broke into a big smile. “I’m so glad that you found your niche. Few women can do that. I’m impressed with the stuff that you’re doing because most women don’t.” I had related to him nothing extraordinary, just what my work life entailed but he sounded immensely impressed. And all of a sudden that charm had turned into condescension.
Well mister, most women don’t because men like you also want/tolerate trophy wives at home while complimenting other women.
While I loved what he said and it gave me quite a high, it wasn’t the best thing to hear.