Wallpaper

10 Dec

I had to attend another one of those fancy lunches with the rich and influential cousins, today. All through my growing up, I used to be immensely uncomfortable in most social situations; I used to be a quiet lamb, hardly spoke and was even a bit terrified of an uncle or two, fearing that they may discover my discomfort in social gatherings and judge me on the basis of it. I’m sure they did both!
Today, I thought I would feel and behave a bit differently, going by the progress I’ve made in becoming more social at college, opening up to strangers and so on; but instead, I felt exactly the way I had through my childhood. Completely out-of-place and thus, very guarded about anything I said or did. Rehearsing each line I uttered before saying it out loud. And after uttering even the smallest sentence, hearing the sound of my own voice, disapproving of what I said (on the grounds of diction, vocabulary and any other basis I could find) and slinking further into the background. I was all the more anguished at the fact that no one noticed or complemented me on my weight-loss :S
Lunch was at an extremely fancy Italian place. We may have been the only Indians in the entire restaurant, at a time. My order turned out to be horrible, so I consider this lunch an opportunity (to enjoy some exquisite Italian preparations) wasted. And as I saw plates and plates of appetising preparations pass our table, while struggling through my own order, I felt like driving a knife through my foot (My toe was hurting the entire day, so I thought I’d kill 2 birds with a stone.)
The only respite came when one of my Sister-in-Law’s, who is a complete angel and possibly the most saintly person I’ve ever known, was asking me about college life and all. I didn’t really tell her my plans in detail, but slipped that I was disinclined to continue in my field, in spite of doing well.
Now I meet this lady twice in a year (since starting college) and I was extremely surprised with her response. “Well of course. Those were your terms from the beginning itself.” I was so delighted to know that she remembered how I’d felt about Technical education before I even started it, because I’m positive that the rest of the family (apart from my parents or anyone else who was heavily involved back then in the decision making) would’ve forgotten by now and would assume that I’m settled and happy. I immediately proclaimed her a witness who remembered that little detail, should I need someone to stand by me later. She went on to say that she had admired how convinced I was back then of my intentions of not pursuing a career in Engineering (even though I did not immediately implement it) and opined that all generations beginning with hers (she’s a decade and a half ahead of me) were fortunate in that we had many more options, and that we should be able to take full advantage of it, and not condemn ourselves to the “most viable option” that would make the quickest buck.
I really hope that one of these days, I manage to open up before the entire clan, and let them know that I’m a real human being with firm independent and rational thought, and not a life-like mannequin, that likes to blend comfortably in the background. Maybe we’ll have a get-together over dinner and someone will ask me my plans after college, and I’ll scandalise them all with my intentions. Or someone will start a conversation about politics, and I’ll vehemently begin condemning the BJP in a family of ardent supporters.

Dramatic, I know. But that’s my ideology. If you cannot impress them, stun them!

PS: I actually wrote a post on similar lines with the same title under my real name, about 2 years back. It was quite poignant (Yes, I know I should be more humble, but well…) and I really wish I could share it but, well, I cannot.
If you do somehow come across it, though, don’t spill the beans on me!

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3 Responses to “Wallpaper”

  1. Rambunctious WhipperSnapper December 10, 2008 at 11:26 pm #

    Seriously, you care too much about what your “family” thinks ….

    Extended families are to be accorded the same treatment given to TR Knight is given on grey’s anatomy since season 3 ….. there are there to only be paid attention to when they do something extremely stupid that everyone can make fun off ….

  2. D December 11, 2008 at 11:29 am #

    So the poignant situation hasn’t changed in the last 2 years… That’s terrible!

  3. unsungpsalm December 11, 2008 at 11:31 am #

    *Ramby
    Oh, I do that latter bit as well. I adore family gossip. Mom is appalled at my affinity towards it!

    *D
    Not in this context alone. In other situations, I’m far better off than I was.
    But it somehow didn’t take, yesterday. Maybe it was the surroundings. Maybe I’d do better off at home or something…
    Time shall Tell.

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