My Myers Briggs test indicates that I’m painfully introverted.
True. It also indicates a whole bunch of other uncomfortable nonsense about several other unmentionable traits. Bollocks. I’ll go with introvert. I’ll go only as far as that.
But. This post isn’t about my self-absorbed self-venerating and obviously captivating opinion about my self. Not entirely. It is about a beautiful girl I once knew. Who changed my life for whatever it’s worth.
As a rule, thanks mostly to my painful awkwardness in any given social [even quasi-social-professional] situation I tend to sweepingly dislike all advertising professionals. As a tribe. Blanket. No concessions. They are ALL self-idolising, opinionated, loud, pompous, stereotypically [this is where I start sputtering and frothing prettily] no-substance scum of the media industry in my tiny but defining model-for-the-WGS-84 world. In other words, nutshell-ed, they are my favourite THEY-THEM, universally, unconditionally and eminently blameable for all the world’s pissiness.
But this post isn’t even about them. It’s about this girl. And she happened to be an Accounts Executive at a leading advertising agency in India.
Things were terrible for me those days to put it mildly – shit flew around my head like frisky rain clouds on a mountainside. I was on one of those self-shattering inward rampages that tend to burst several billion rbcs and choke up a few arteries. To make matters worse, I found myself pushed into taking a brief for a corporate film – a crap spoof on a crap Bollywood film to make a song-and-dance about some pointless product. Now. There’s only one thing worse than taking a brief for a flimsy film from a crotchety client – taking the brief from the crotchety client’s cocky no-substance bollixy advertising account rep.
And that’s what I mentally set myself up for when I was forced to meet with JR. I was fashionably late for the meeting. So what if you’re the ass[substitute with client’s preferred genitalia]-for-the-taking in the whole scheme of things? So what if you’re being paid to show unconditional reverence apart from and in addition to excellence-in-service to the pimp and his sugar-mama? So what? So farkin’ what, haanh?! Attitude. A ho’s gotta have attitude.
So I walked in, all 5 feet 8 inches of well-studied at-tuh-tood covered in ice tip-to-toe.
And then she walked in, beautiful, graceful, charming, polite and shy – all 5 feet 9 inches of her. She brought along two cups of steaming hot coffee for us. And I was pacified. For good.
She showed up on time to watch auditions.
She shyly accepted humble lunch invitations at our office.
She picked me up and dropped me for meetings with the client.
She never once let on that she was hassled.
She was always polite.
We even discovered common friends from Calcutta, who were part of the happiest memories of my childhood.
She was like an oasis in the varmint-infested crap-festooned world I was living and breathing in. It was a pleasure to work with her. A reaffirmation of sorts – that you don’t need to be a raging bitch-on-speed to get past the world. You can be shy and honest and vulnerable, and yet not have people walk all over you.
Amid the fuming towers of my arid mental shitscape it was a sign – that things would be on the mend soon. The seductive imminence of ‘something good to come’.
We were one [I’d like to believe now] meeting short of a girlie night out on the town; a post work, vodka-drenched-bloodies tossing, gossip sharing I-like-you night out that often goes into the making of fond friends.
And then my colleague ASB texted me, on the 13th of Feb. Early in the morning. Not nearly one month since I had first met her.
“J R is dead” appended with an exclamation mark.
It stung. His crude words. His crass expression. The cheap exclamation mark. Nauseous. Fuck you ASB. Fuck you. You’re an incontrovertible arse. And you always will be. And it’s taken me one year to say this to you ASB. You’re an A R S E. Whole.
Dispassionate little newspaper article. Tripping over words.
Girl from advertising agency.
No.Car caught fire.
That day, something just gave up in my head. Bits and pieces folded up and left. One. By one. By one. The billion and some rbcs lay down and died. Arteries curled up and the rampage became a slow death march to a grave for all things hopeless.
Several happy endings flushed down to the bowels of deep dark nothing by something seemingly unrelated. Like the stone that launches an avalanche, the last straw that unbalances the cart, the final call for curtains-down. And I could go on, spurred by my own sickly sense of the tragic poignancy of being unravelled. Completely.
Depression can go no lower, can it? And it didn’t.
Sometimes, from the depth of deep down below, the memory of a smile and a Mother’s constant love can be all you need by way of faith. That all will be well.
That dignity too, can be practised like a martial art.
And some friendships, though they might never have been in here and now, can come back from beyond forever and save your soul. Gently.
For whatever little it’s worth… thank you.
You’re remembered. And you always will be.
You’re appreciated. And you always will be.
You’re beautiful. And you always will be.