I am increasingly finding that however much I may believe in something, there is tremendous amount of discomfort that I cannot quite fathom. It has to do with other people’s perceptions. I feel I am on the defensive.
A few months ago, we were having an interesting conversation – this group of enlightened people and I, the not-so-enlightened one. A gentleman some of them knew joined us. He was a Kashmiri Pandit. Pleasant, intelligent, dignified. Since the rest had to leave, the two of us were left to continue. Later he asked me if I’d like to go to the lounge for coffee. Matter-of-fact. Nothing to it. But, I have a history, remember? So, I decided to tell him what I had written about KPs, and he might not like what I said. I could see a smile playing around his mouth. He said, “It’s just coffee I am asking you out for!”
I felt quite stupid.
That does not stop me. I must unburden myself. I must announce that this is what I am…it is getting to be a constant problem.
If I were to go by what I have written, I will have to cancel out all possibilities, for coffee or otherwise. Pandits, Jews, Catholics, most of the Westerners, NRIs, rabid Hindus, rabid Muslims, moderate Hindus who are ‘tolerant’, moderate Muslims who want to sit on the fence, men in general because they think I am too upfront…macho men because I am not docile, liberal men because I am not ‘free’ enough, nice guys who squirm because I see through their facade; bad guys because instead of getting me angry they make me feel pity for them; gay men because I don’t go along with their belief that the world is homophobic and I ask them to go slow on the eye-shadow, older men who mistake my enthusiasm and wickedness for immaturity, and younger men who think that I have an attitude problem.
Women too…feminists who have a standardised bookish knowledge of feminism think that I have to fight everything to prove I belong to this sistah-hood, women who think you can be intelligent only if you look and feel like a rag, really elite women who believe that I don’t flash it well enough, homemakers who feel that anything that comes in their territory – even by invitation – is a threat, fun women who find me too propah, gay women who think I am too bloody straight, straight women who wonder…
My only hope seems to be Eskimos. Besides, I like the idea of rubbing cold noses.
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"zindagi yoon hui basar tanha
qaafila saath aur safar tanha"
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