|Teethies at last !|
|Little Lamb :)|
Wife : Hey! Why are you and riding that horse by sitting facing its tail!
Husband: Well you see, I am facing the right direction where I want to go. But this horse seems to be very adamant in going the wrong way!
Conclusion: Some people have an answer to every question even if they are wrong.
Posted by Mona at 8:01 PM
Over the last few decades, there opened a floodgate to a whole new brand of part time writers whose 'real' profession is either psychiatry, or yoga teaching gurudom (the most trumpeted amongst them being Deepak Chopra , Shiv Khera , Bikram Chaudhry and the likes) and their most favorite subject being tolerance and convergence issues .
" Be Yourself" is supposed to be the Mantra for quite a few years now , and it is supposed to be the easiest thing in the world. You will be termed the simplest or the least complicated person around if you 'be yourself' and things around you will get a lot more easier for you and others. 'period'
Easier spoken than done. If only being oneself was that simple! You bet its not! neither for you , nor for others, and believe me, it really really does complicate matters in the weirdest possible sense.
The paradox here is, that you will be the person, who is first 'liked' and then 'disliked' for the very same reason.
Not that it matters much to me, as to what people think about me, because I know that people are almost always being judgmental and interpretative about others : we tend to jump to conclusions to fast and too soon. The only problem that I face being myself is the loyalty issue.
People who are supposed to be your friends expect your undying loyalty towards them. So much so, that they even want you to compromise with your own values and principles when it comes to being loyal. Most of you will understand what I mean , since I guess everyone must have heard ' Hey! you are my friend, you are supposed to be on my side!' line. Even if you know that the so called friend is not being entirely truthful, or fair or whatever else.
And if you are not 'taking the side' then its as easy as 'off with her head' and you are labeled a betrayer for a life time.
My point here is not complaining about people. Its about how hard being oneself can get at times ; and I'm not the one to compromise on my values and principles. Not that I am rigid in my beliefs; its just that I try to be as truthful and fair as I possibly can , not allowing 'friends' to take undue advantage of others , thinking that they can safely get away with doing whatever they please in front of me, just because I am their friend , and that friendship , ' by definition' entails blind loyalty.
I have encountered the most (seemingly) 'straight forward ' people's dalliance when it comes to personal practice. I will, in brief, recount an example of one such personal experience that I had quite a few years ago with my next door neighbor :
The neighbor couple was quite friendly and helpful , and their small acts of kindness were always returned in kind . The neighbor was a retired army official who was entitled to get groceries at subsidized rates from the Army canteen , and would often help us, by getting us a few items at subsidized rates for us. In return, we allowed him to use our van to get his load of goods . If our overhead tank ran out of water, he would offer us some and when they ran out of milk for tea, when a guest arrived at their place, they could always get some from our place.
The families often got together over drinks and meals , and we celebrated our festivals together.
The elderly couple has a son, who was divorced and there were not so pleasant tales circulating about him , which is very often the case in our Indian culture, since the D word is such a taboo here : once you are divorced, you are automatically labeled as incompatible social out caste. So we always gave a benefit of doubt to the family regarding the gory tales and brushed them off as gossip...
Until the son got married again. Until the Oedipal situation came to light when the bride beating began. Until I realized that the Mother-in - law had started using me as a means to torture the daughter in law : once she 'invited' us to lunch to taste her 'wonderful 'dosas, and later came to our place chuckling, to tell me that actually it had been her daughter in law's wish to eat them, and she wanted to finish up the batter so that she could have none. The daughter in law, it seems , had expressed her wish to eat the dish, and since she "could not refuse her that in front of her son" she did make the batter for the pan cakes , but also saw to it that the daughter in law could have none, saying , " what could I do, the neighbors dropped in and finished them all".
And the stupid woman was having the last laugh sitting right on my sofa , and relating how she had used me!
I swore to myself, not to allow myself to be used in a similar manner, although I continued with my neighborly duties , albeit from a safe distance.
Then came a day, when there was a lot of screaming heard from the house and a human figure came flying out and landed on the road, all battered and bruised, with her clothes torn. It was the daughter in law. She got up and hurried away before anyone could reach her, and disappeared in the dark. She must have gone to the police, because later next day, we saw police men approach their house. The mother in law came out wailing, while all the men hid inside, and started recounting out loudly, how she had been mentally tortured by her ' mentally deranged' daughter in law who had 'manged to run away from the house' , 'tearing at her own clothes and hair, and boxing her own eyes' , 'swearing to teach a lesson' to the 'poor' old woman.
If it were only that, I wouldn't be recounting this tale to you here. The highlight is, that at this juncture she sent for me, and when I came out, she wanted me to 'bear witness' and 'tell the officers' how much torture she had been through.
The officer bade me to speak, so I recounted exactly what I had seen happening, much to the chagrin of the female.
The reason I spoke was that I did not want the poor girl to be locked into a mental hospital for nothing : the daughter in law had, in the recent past, already shown me a letter from the women's grievance cell, which was addressed to her mother in law, which had luckily landed in her hands and which she had (sensibly) read on the sly. The letter said : " as per your complaint against the torture inflicted upon you by your mentally deranged daughter in law, the cell has decided to consider your request for making arrangement for housing the said patient in ...
The old woman started hurling abuses at me, and cursed me for having 'betrayed a friend' etc. etc.
So to come back to the point, this happens with me often, although in much milder sense than what happened in the story above. People advise me to be more tactful, the definition of which I know is something like being able to get your point across without alienating people. Tactfulness comes easy, in a place where people maintain a distance and give each other enough personal place. In India you get 'stuck' because either you have 'friends' nose diving too much into your life, or none at all. There is no' in between' stage. And in this country with abundant human population, and where almost everyone these days seems to be involved in corrupt practices one way or another ( yes, even the most seemingly respectable ones) ,they say its difficult to survive peacefully in our social milieu , otherwise. And since the majority of people are like that you tend to almost always get dragged in. Its not just "if you can't beat them, join them" ; its " you just can't beat them , be damned!"
My mother often tells me that it is necessary to 'meet' people ( read that as " me coming out of my room to greet her friends , sit with them and gossip, even though later she and I might disapprove of what they were saying, in short, be a hypocrite") because we would need someone to "carry our dead bodies to our graves at our funerals" ( her words).
I would rather be without 'friends' and its My Choice.
Posted by Mona at 12:26 PM