Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Being Gracious

M declared sanctimoniously the other day as I was propping my fragile jaw carefully on a thoughtless palm while slumping over a table in vapid despair, “what do you expect H? Even if someone wants to express their appreciation to you, you brandish this red flag at them. You suspect their motives for being complimentary or even just nice. You’ve this particular combatant machete-flailing stance in the face of a compliment that is a bit… um… discouraging. No. Intimidating.”

“But…” I started, having settled in a complicated posture.

She cut in ruthlessly, “… No. Shut up. You are.”

I wanted to say, and I know it’s true [don’t ask, I just know], “…it’s because I have broad shoulders.” But this sort of argument doesn’t wash with M [it hasn’t in the past]. She isn’t impressed by the physicality of things; herself being all of 5 feet plus differential bits of an inch, she believes it’s all in the language of your body, and not the body itself.

M shut her eyes to think. M’s the sort of person who delivers her verdict on situations very swiftly and clinically. She doesn’t pause too much on the before-and-aftermath of it, because the idea, as she firmly believes, is to work out a solution.

It is this solution I was waiting for. Not daring to breathe or move for fear of toppling in a broken heap on the floor and breaking her train of thought, I sat contorted atop a freshly upholstered zebra striped chair in the flame licked cavernous mouth of our favourite sharabghar in a painful slump of stillness.

Minutes passed, she showed no sign of opining voluntarily, or opening her eyes.

I was just about to straighten my spine when M finally opened her eyes.

She looked around and quickly spotted a waiter. I sat unmoving in tense anticipation. The waiter slopped over slowly. She placed the order.

I waited.

She traced the blacks of the zebra stripes with her fingers.

The waiter slopped back with our bloodies. M took a long sip.

Finally I sat up.

“Dammit M, I can’t slouch anymore.” I cried.

“That’s a good thing H. It doesn’t become you. This bloody isn’t as good as before the renovation, don’t you think?”

*** [To denote the time lapse between horror and comprehension and all the emotions in between.]

M is losing her memory and fast become a senile old bat.

I on the other hand am becoming a fanciful old bat with an experiential overspill, because this exchange didn’t really happen. I cooked it up. Most of it. Though not about the ghastly renovation. It’s true. Bloody Marys aren’t ever going to be the same again on zebra stripes. Faux antler horn headrests had so much more character.

The thing is, M did give me a solution. M said, “H, stop being a tight arse.”

But I could be wrong. Because it was actually G’s best friend S who said this to me, two years ago. Which I thought was very kind and generous of him especially since it was entirely unasked.

I mayn’t be able to accept appreciation, but I’m always willing to hand it out on a golden platter. Thank you, S-of-the-well-lubed-arse. I might follow your advice some day.

Meanwhile, please don’t get intimidated by my broad shoulders. Go on, be nice to me. I can take it square in the jaw.

10 comments:

B Ditty said...

I know another person (surprisingly Indian) that does not take compliments very well. I thought about the reason she does not and came to the realization that she is just very smart, and thinks a lot. If you think about anything too much you are bound to find faults with it. But, the world needs thinkers, so it's a good thing.

NanNan said...

So my tight arsed fanciful old bat of a dawtah,, darst I tell you how much I savour your gourmet offerings--- now put down that machete--- and bring your fat arsed mathah another bloody Mary!

H said...

Ben, damn these fussy Indian chickas. I think I'm going in for metamorphosis. what do you think? Lizard or spider?

NanSterrrrrrrrr, See I took that rather well. I'm beaming [no no no, 'tisn't a nervous twitch, it's a smile].

Well, here it is! with an extra squeeze of lime. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

Hi H,

So I found your blog and have been reading it faithfully for the past few months. Particularly the ones about M (I wonder if that's a form of piling on too?)

I think your writing is fabulous. I like the way you play with language. Good Luck, S

H said...

Hi S. You’re being nice to me! The good thing about a comment is that I can say confidently that I’m composed and taking it very well.

But, here. A bloody – our official welcome. Interesting that you should mention M, though. Today’s a special day for her. 5 years since she started her collective, post-Godhra.

Thanks for reading. And if you write, do share your writing.

Anonymous said...

I remember...

Lizza said...

I just love it when friends tell us to loosen up.

I'd like to read more of what right-and-left-brain of H are cooking up. So good to see posts again from you, you sweet old bat.

Anjali Sinha said...

H. H. H.

loosen up. nah. but ya the elder sis. bit. definitely. loosen up.

H said...

Lizza, If you can call S-of-the-well-lubed-arse a friend.

Oh But RboH and LboH have been a bit sedate these days. With all the leaks they've sprung...

Anj, shush! Hahahahaha. But thanks for the vote of confidence sweetie.

Anjali Sinha said...

hehehe hugggg