I recently (read as several months ago) caught up with a classmate of mine in school, having literally bumped into her on a shopping spree.
She shouted over the din “You look positively radiant! Huge change since we last met.”
Out of sheer habit, I couldn’t help processing her compliment. Here I was laden with two big cloth shopping bags (er…not too much of a plastic fan), my purse, umbrella and perspiring enough to solve Bangalore’s water problem. And I looked radiant! Good for me :-)! The next part of the statement mentally teleported me to those times when I was an (un)certified geek (and perhaps still am)! Aaaaarrrrggggh !! Why can’t women pay a straight compliment???
It’s strange how people get stuck on one particular image of yours. And not all are positive……and real.
A classmate of mine had THE looks. I felt that she was smart, intelligent, articulate and what not. I was a huge admirer hers. When I ran into her at a musical show, she came across as a very selfish person. Charming but look-I-simply-don't-have-time-for-conversation-with-lowly-types-like-you type. Was it because she was an epitome of what I wanted to be? What was I thinking back then? Hmmmm......time really does provide you some much-needed perspective.
On a personal front, here’s one: I used to run into a girl who traveled on the same bus as mine. She never used to talk to anyone and was generally unresponsive to anything. All she did was stare outside the window (if seated near one), and not make eye-contact with anyone. Several years later, through a very curious twist, I came to know that she had a stutter and thus, a huge confidence issue. If I had stuck to that image of that cold forbidding girl, I would have lost a good friend.
When I am in my blue moods, I remember only the negatives associated with people. However, when I am positive enough (which is more these days :D), I am benevolent enough to ignore a person’s bitchiness, or not dwell upon it. But to ignore downright a person’s bad behaviour/ pointed insults/ indirect barbs, and to repeatedly forgive anyone……well…..simply put, it takes a great deal of effort. And why would I do that unless the person’s close enough? I’d rather keep a safe and comfortable distance.
Till date, I’ve been in touch with people for their honesty, intelligence and knowledge. And the fact that they tolerate me is an added bonus :-D. The thought of interacting with any one because they could be used in the future…..like………like shares is something I’ve observed in most people, but (thankfully?) not emulated. There have been times when I feel like I should be more street-smart, more like all those (clever?) people around me, do some ‘useful networking’, and lead a generally fruitful life. Right now it’s just a wish borne out of frustration when I allow people to walk all over me!
Perhaps in another ten years or so, or when I get really jaded, whichever happens sooner, I shall change…..for the better…......or worse ;-)! Till then, you are stuck with me ;-)!