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Posts Tagged ‘Me’

A friend was going through a very tough time recently. She put on a brave front and tried to keep it all inside until one day she could take it no more and burst  out with it to me. Clutching the phone so close to the ear that it hurt, I listened going increasingly numb with each passing second. She went on for what seemed like an eternity. I hadn’t uttered a single word through the entire conversation. Well, not really a conversation, more of a monologue. After unloading all that had been clogging her mind and eating into her life for so long, she hung up and I was left still clutching the phone tight to the ear, helplessly wondering if there was something I should have said to make her feel better. Something wise or witty. But well, as it was, I had not known what to say and she had hung up already. I felt stupid, lousy and totally not fit to be an agony aunt. A couple of days later she called back again.

“Hey…” she started, “I just hung up the other day. Didn’t even say bye…”

“Well, I didn’t even talk, for starters, so don’t you worry”

“Yeah, that’s what I called about. Thanks for listening Mi. Honestly. I’m so glad I spoke to you. I’m so glad ‘I’ spoke. For once I wasn’t listening to advice or being judged or getting scolded. I spoke. God knows after how long. Thanks for that. Really.”

I opened my mouth to say something, stopped, opened and closed the mouth two more times like a fish, and closed it shut again. Now was NOT the best time to tell her that I had actually been quiet and listened so much not because I was patient, understanding or sensitive but actually because I didn’t know what to say, how to console or what advice to give. Looks like my ignorance actually paid off and she felt much better after that monologue. Later rewinding that conversation, I understood that whatever she had said was absolutely true. Sometimes all you want is for people to listen to you. Just listen and not judge the situation, judge you, judge everybody around. I’ve felt the most relieved after long monologues with friends, after swearing, bitching and endlessly cribbing about how unfair things were, after dumping out all my angst in all possible ways, but mostly I’ve felt the best when they’ve just Listened. Listened and probably squeezed a hand or given a big hug or whispered a ‘it’s ok, this will pass’ over the phone. But what matters above everything else is that they listened. So maybe the next time someone comes to me with a problem, I’ll not be constructing soothing replies and tactical agony-aunt advice in my mind while pretending to listen to what they’re saying on the outside. Maybe I’ll just shut everything out and simply lend a ear. Because some things are best said when they’re left unsaid.

On a totally unrelated note, I realised that I’m so sentimentally attached to a lot of things in life that I’ve been using some stuff for years and years. Like, while combing today, I just realised that I’ve been using the same wide toothed pink comb for the *gasp* past eight years. I am not kidding. I’ve misplaced that comb many times, felt miserable thinking its lost but have always found it under the bed or below the medicine cabinet. It always comes back to me. And I don’t even feel like I’ve combed my hair if I don’t use THAT particular comb. How weird is that!  Ditto with Jemi, the stuffed pillow JP gifted me on a birthday couple of years ago.  I don’t sleep hugging stuffed toys or pillows (eeks!!), but if I don’t see Jemi propped majestically on the study table as soon as I wake up, as soon as I enter the room and as the last thing before I leave home in the morning, I end up feeling queasy all through the day, until I’ve seen Jemi in her usual place again. I get completely psyched out of I don’t find the particular pair of earphones I’ve been using for the past five years or if  that tattered bag I bought when I started college can’t be found when I look for it. It freaks me out that I’m so attached to these ‘things’. They’re not expensive, they’re not the best but somehow the memories attached to such stuff makes them all the more precious. I guess everybody has some stuff which brings back memories of fun times, of laughter and happiness, of friends and family, whenever they look at it. Maybe an old comb, a favorite dress, an autographed book or an old birthday card. And such things are treasured not for what they are but for what remind you of. Oh, and what do I say,talking and thinking up stuff like this, I freak myself out most of the time!! 😀

*Dedication Update*

This post is dedicated to Kavitha who I think is the only soul in the world who wants to read me and bugs me to death to write. Even if its nonsense. Thanks Kavi 🙂

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Phewwwwwwww!!!

I finally finished my final year MBA project in five days flat. Of course it was a hurriedly written, greatly sloppy, poorly formatted piece of work but what can one do to uplift the field of Financial Management and Analysis in five days? I did my best (which is not The Best anyday 😛 ). And Luck/God was definitely on my side. I started the project work somewhere around the time other people were submitting theirs. Usually it is others who lose hope on me but this time I had no hopes myself. For God’s sake I didn’t even have a title to work on yet. Then there was this last second rushing around for data collection, correlation, analysis, concocting bar diagrams and flow charts… But one thing I was sure about. I was not going to buy some poor sod’s project shelling out thousands of bucks and pass it off as my own as everyone around me was doing left, right and centre. Finally a week after the last submission date (yes, I’m always this punctual, especially with matters related to getting educated), the project was ready to meet its guide for his review and approval. But another small hitch was I had no clue who my project guide was supposed to be. So there was this notice board hunt to find out the guide’s name and then his number and then I had to walk up to a dozen bald men and ask, “Am I talking to Professor John?” till I finally hit upon my target – the project guide himself. Now came the actual task of getting my work approved. The professor, his head having been progressively balded with the acquisition of each of his numerous degrees and doctorates, peered at my work like a vulture waiting to swoop up on a half dead carcass. And as expected, shook his head like a grandfather clock pendulum swaying from one side to another.

“In order to analyse the financial activities of any enterprise you have to understand the difference between financial administration and financial management first and foremost. The principle aspect of administration stands as…”

All Professors are just the SAME. They can’t control the urge to launch into a lecture at the drop of a hat. But I was in no mood to get enlightened about the difference between administration and management now. All I wanted to know was whether he’d give his precious signature on the third sheet of the bound project report or not.

“Sir, The last date for submission is tomorrow (This was a blatant lie. The last date had gone by a week ago).If you can go through the project and please sign it…”

Asking him to go through the project was another terrible mistake. Now he was reading the whole thing word by word and started suggesting changes in each sentence.

“Replace the word ‘industry’ with ‘enterprise’ from the first page to the last. The introduction needs to be more precise and focussed. In the company profile page, the third sentence can be modified as…”

Still talking he turned to look at my face and I gave him my most pathetic show-me-some-mercy look. Thankfully he understood.

“Ok I’ll sign the work but make sure you do the rework before submission.”

These words were the sweetest music I had heard in a long time. Now Professor John looked like an angel straight from heaven in bald headed disguise. I almost fell at his feet thanking him, ran straight away to get the final copy printed and bound and managed to submit it successfully two weeks after the last date for submission.

My copy of the bound report now sits proudly on my table proclaiming that it is the ‘bonafide work of’………. Yes, it is my BONAFIDE work. Not bought, not copied, and not borrowed. Mine. It may not be the best, the most professional or researched in detail. But each word was written in it was mine. Each analysis, each interpretation and each chart was made by me. And every time I look at it my heart feels pride and my mind goes “Phewwwwwwwwww!!!!”

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 I can’t believe I’m travelling abroad in a week’s time. I mean till now, I’ve been a person who hasn’t seen outside the borders of Tamil Nadu and less than half a dozen places in all of India and suddenly I’m gonna be transported to 9 countries across Europe. I’m gonna see all those places which I’ve seen in movies and picture postcards. I’m thrilled, excited and intimidated all at the same time. And yeah, beware of a longgggg travelogue in a fortnight’s time. Till then, tchau!!!

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Split!!!

I think I have a split personality. No, wait, I think I AM a split personality. Not really. I think I have a multiple personality disorder. But whoever said having a multiple personality is a disorder? There! Four of my many personalities are already out in the four lines I’ve managed to write till now. It worries me that I’m not the same person with everyone I meet. With best friends and family, I’m a chatterbox who can’t stop talking or giggling at any cost. With strangers I’m the Ice Princess. With acquaintances I’m tongue tied and reserved to the extent of being called snobbish or arrogant. With people whom I don’t get along with, I’m just plain indifferent. I’m amazed at people who can start a conversation with anybody and everybody, even with people they’ve just met, and hold the fort talking and talking until the other person gets tired of the conversation. I can hardly get past the ‘hi’ stage if I’m talking to someone for the first time, even if the person happens to be genuinely nice to me. And if there are people around who I know can talk non stop, I’d rather stay quiet and choose to put a couple of words here and there when absolutely necessary. But another diametrically opposite alter ego seems to surface when I’m with people close to me. With them, it’s always a talk-laugh-giggle-fest.

Sample what happens when a close friend calls me up suddenly.

She : Hey!!! What’s up dog? What have you been doing?

Me : *giggle* *giggle* Heyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!

She : *giggle* So how’s the work going? How’s the studying going? And how’s the project going???

Me : *giggling for 5 minutes* Going on maaaannnn… I hardly have time for anything but work. (This part is not fictitious. It is TRUE. All of you, stop smirking 😐 ) Remember all those days from college when we never had weekdays and each day was an extended weekend?? It’s just the opposite now. I hardly have a proper weekend.

Now I kept talking and pouring out my woeful busy schedule till she couldn’t take my sob story anymore and interrupted to say that her neighbour’s dog has given birth to a litter.

Me : *giggling starts again* oooohhhhh!! How many?? What colour are they??? Must be cute na… You know when Tommy….. (I talk about how Tommy once broke the curfew to ummmm… befriend a mongrel and got pregnant and made a litter of babies and how we got her neutered and… )

She : Hey I’ve to get down here. My stop’s come. Will call you later.

Me : Oh! It’s already an hour. But we hardly ever spoke…

She : I hardly ever spoke. Not you.

Me : *giggle* Right! Byeeeee!!!

With friends I can laugh like a nut for the worst of the worst PJ’s, talk with gay abandon for hours together and find new topics to talk about every minute. But with acquaintances it’s a totally different story altogether. Now my definition of an acquaintance is someone with whom I can’t talk nonsense. And I can’t talk if I can’t talk nonsense. Now these are people with whom I’m supposed to be prim and proper, to whom I’m supposed to say all the right and politically correct things, the only problem being I don’t know what is right and politically correct most of the time. So I end up either saying all the wrong things or not talking at all.

For example, I was caught with a relative, an old lady who was related to me in some unknown distant ways. We were seated next to each other in a family function and the conversation was something like this:

Unknown Aunty : Aren’t you ABC’s chithappa’s elder sister’s brother’s daughter??

I had no clue who ABC, chithappa, his sister and her brother were.

Me : Ummm… I’m XYZ’s daughter.

UA : That’s what I also told. You’ve grown up so much. What are you doing now?

Me : Working Aunty.

She : Where?

I gave her the name in a mono sylaable.

She : Oh! my maternal grandmother’s brother’s son’s son is working there. The same company. Do you know him? His name is Arun.

I could’ve giggled at this point and told her there are hundreds of Aruns working in my company. Maybe I could have said something to break the ice. I could have enquired more about Arun. But “No” was the only word that came out of my mouth. After an awkward silence she began again.

UA : So how is everyone at home? Amma, Appa… Long time since I saw them… Should ask them to come home one day…

Now as usual I wanted to end it with a ‘Fine’ but it sounded too blunt. Wasn’t it polite and correct to enquire back about her family??

Me : Fine Aunty. What about you? How’s Uncle doing?

She looked frozen for a moment and after giving me a steely stare turned the other side to talk to the silk sari clad lady on the other side. Only later did I get to know that the ‘Uncle’ I had enquired so fondly about, had passed away almost two years back. 😦

So there! My ultimate dilemma is that I can’t socialize for the sake of socializing. I’d rather be alone than be in uncomfortable company. I come out as anti-social with all the people who expect me to be amiable and I come out as extremely amiable with all those people who know me inside out and don’t care whether I’m sociable or not. Most of my relatives know me as a tongue tied, reserved, shy girl, whereas most of my friends know me as a talkative, bold, extroverted person. Now all I’m left with, is an identity crisis. Who is the real Me?? Huh!!

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