Monday, January 20, 2014


It is one thing if people don't find you good enough to acknowledge. I find absolutely nothing wrong about it..But I am sure, everyone of us has received at least one of those compliments which don't fall either under 'compliments' or 'criticism' - you scratch your head wondering if the person just said something nice about you, or put you down in the meanest, most conniving manner. More often than not, the latter would be true in these cases and the one innocent being at the receiving end is left feeling awful. I had my share of these well crafted atrocities and I very clearly remember some of them.- Like they say, the thing you remember about people is the way they make you feel.

Not too long ago, I had a visitor at our place. The couple came from India and wanted to stay with us for a few days. We happily obliged. One night, when I was making dinner for all of us, the lady casually walked to the living room, held out a bunch of our photographs and started flipping through them. She paused at one picture, looked at me with a half smile and asked "who is the lady in this picture?" - It was a picture of me, taken a few years earlier. I didn't look alarmingly different from the picture by any stretch of imagination and even people who'd see me for the first time would recognize it as my pic. The only difference, I would say, was a few postpartum pounds piled on my cheeks and midriff. I looked back at her and said "It is me" - Now the crafty smile in question broke  clear and she added "The picture looks very pretty - I could not recognize it as yours"

After that, I let out an awkward smile and got to doing what I was doing. The woman who just, indirectly told me I looked ugly in my present 'heavy' frame was not a teenager, she was not even someone in her 30s - she was my mother's age, pushing into her sixties and she had known me long enough to know how I looked before having the kid. If she were any younger, the sassy part of me would have asked to look at the pic once more and said "Oh, sorry, this is not me, this is 'Kareena Kapoor" and watched for her reaction.

If I say, that 'compliment' didn't effect me, I would be lying. It did effect me - It did not effect my confidence and my self image nor did it push me into an inferiority complex about how ugly I look, but it did make me ponder why people go out of their way, create a situation and then make the painstaking effort of putting somebody down. I hear many more such things in my day to day life - aimed at me, and the people around me. Why do we say such things? Why do we have to say something mean if what we see is not what we like? There was another instance, that took place, and there was another kind of 'praise' paid in my tribute - I went to a social gathering once and a gentleman tried to introduce me to his guests. "She is a singer" he started off..."She mastered Hindustani school of music and is now into mastering Carnatic" - I paused for a couple of seconds to really understand the satire behind the statement and asked "So are you complimenting me or mocking me?" That had taken him aback - Anyone who knows how hard it is to master a classical form of music would agree with me on the exaggeration of that statement. And I was a novice - a fact which was very well known to that person :-D

In an other instance, when I chose to wear a saree for a cousin's wedding, a lady walked to me with an expression that looked like she was in the middle of an intense poker game and exclaimed "you look different in a saree" - I was a lanky teenager then, and to date, I keep guessing if she meant to say I looked awkward and the saree didn't suit me.

I have many downfalls..but my biggest strength is my thick skin. I can cruise through the lousiest of insults like they are not aimed at me. But on a day to day basis, I see people who get immensely effected by the bad vibes and words others aim at them. There is absolutely no need to walk to someone and point out their shortcomings and weak points, especially when it doesn't help them in anyway to improve upon them - I particularly despise remarks that aim at the 'physical looks' of a person.  No man or woman chooses the color of their skin, the strikingness of their features, their height, their metabolism,  the luster of their hair or how tired they plan to look on any given day. Every one has a baggage to carry and losing weight or straightening their hair might not be on the top of their priority list. Negative remarks can really pull people down and the only thing that could get more spiteful than those negative comments are the negative comments disguised as positive ones. It would be wonderful if people can sift their thoughts and give out only the positive ones :)


  1. I saw a poster some time back which said, "Life is so much better now that I don't give a f***'"!! I believe it! I really could not care less what other people think of my outward appearance!
    I guess the gentleman may not have been very knowledgeable about classical music so he may well have been genuine. The other two sound very catty, I agree! :D

  2. Yee haw...look who is here - thank you so much for stopping by Roshin, and taking time to comment :-) XX - BTW, I belong in the 'I don't give a %#$!" league - my ponder was about all such stuff I see more often than I expect to...BTW, the gentleman is an accomplished singer - I have people walk to me and say I am a great artist - these are the ones that cannot draw a straight line - The world is relative. This guy has a very condescending humor in general - I only hope he mistakes it for a 'sense of humor' :-))