To this day, I take what people say at face value (in spite of the many pitfalls I have faced over the years because of it), at least at first instance, before realization dawns that I have been (or am being) duped yet again. I have a side to me that wants to believe the best of the other person, give them a chance, at least the benefit of doubt, stupidly so, I must say. I automatically take what people tell me to be the truth and nothing but the truth, because being honest is my own default setting.
For example, it never occurs to me, not the first time anyway, that when you tell me you found something I wrote really awesome, that you could be lying and in fact would in reality be grinding your molars while typing that out, all the while thinking dark thoughts of ‘Who the hell gave her the license to write anyway?!’ It never occurs to me when someone tells me ever-so-sweetly, ‘You have a beautiful house!’ that they are actually checking out the cobwebs on the walls or the dust on top of the refrigerator and thinking unkind thoughts about my housekeeping capabilities, while simultaneously patting themselves on the back.
To give you an example of my lack of empathy with the ways of the world, if you had been sitting at my table as my guest, and I asked you if you wanted more of something (You should actually be grateful that I even asked you as I expect you to help yourself to what you need and not be mollycoddled. Anyways…), and you replied, “No, thank you,” I’d simply accept your word. You will not hear from me any of the usual, “Have more!” “What? You didn’t have a thing! Take some more” and such typical Indian platitudes because I believe you the first time you say you have had enough, or that you are full. That is why in our house we have a careful division in our work. I cook, but the L& M takes care of guests. Unlike me, he will not take that first ‘No’ for an answer and will pile you with more food and drink as a true Indian host is expected to do. Anyways, getting back…
Naturally at my age I have had loads experience, enough of them to have learnt my lesson for a lifetime, that there are catty people around, also the sarcastic, the mocking and the mean ones, who coat their bitter thoughts and words with a liberal dose of honey before presenting them in public. Yet, why do I still give human race a chance? I will tell you why, because I refuse to change to a a cynical, skeptical, morose someone to please anyone. I rather repeatedly fall and bruise myself than lose my essence and morph into one of those bitter people with their mouths all drooping in a downward curve and wary eyes that will not accept joy to enter it at any cost.
This conflict between me and the majority of the world as it is, has another side to it, which is actually what I HATE the most. Those, whose default setting it is to hide behind smokescreens and tell lies for no reason at all other than the fact that they think it is something smart to do, ASSUME while dealing with me that I am one of them. Now THAT offends me a LOT when they club me with their undesirable selves and ASSUME that I sail the same boat, think the same thoughts as them. Preposterous, the very idea.
There is a Mallu saying that in effect says, to someone afflicted with jaundice, everything looks yellow. Technically it doesn’t of course, but you get the drift of what I am conveying. It is like, Hey! What a great liar I am in this world full of lies and lying people, so obviously everyone else is a liar too. Look how well I hide behind a well constructed façade, so what others project must be a façade too. Flattery and praise are my weapons to get things done my way, so what others say must be the same too. I exaggerate a lot because how else will I prove I am right, so what’s being said by others must be exaggeration too. I am a hypocrite and don’t mean what I say, it is simply for effect, then it cannot be that there are others who mean what they say!
There you have it: A painting of ‘you’ created in the colors that the ‘I’ is painted.
It used to hurt, baffle and upset me a lot initially. Well, it does even to this day for that matter, to come across such people who are ever ready with their huge paint brush dipped in their own personal colors, to paint over your natural colors, just so they can feel better about their own selves. But at least in the present, I have the gumption to ask myself, What (the hell) else did you expect, you imbecile? and after that first twinge of terrible disappointment that they could not (and were not bothered enough to) see the ‘real’ you, be on my way.
You know what I think? It is a pity that humans don’t change colors according to the way they feel. It would have been so easy to declare effectively who you actually are and what you are feeling, as also knowing clearly in which category others fall. The world would have been a much better and simpler place to live in for people like me.
Tell me about it! But, I have given up on that idea ever coming true. So now, I just disengage! I’m so much happier now that I cease to care much!
I too accept at face value when people say they’ve eaten enough!! 😀
That’s what I like about internet, the way you come across people who are kindred souls. 😀
Random Musings by Swati said:
Hi Shail, I am a straightforward person who says what’s in her heart. If it’s good it’s good and if it’s not then no amount of persuasion can change my mind. When I got married that my marital family though claimed to be straightforward are the living example of (for the want of better word) double standard.
Early in my married life I came to know that if they are praising for delicious food it is not because they genuinely liked it but only because they wanted me to improve. So when you said praising about your house and silently counting cobwebs and patting their backs I could relate to the situation.
good post enjoyed reading it. Missing you on my blog though 🙂
You know, instead of praise, giving you the right input would have been a little more helpful,I agree. But maybe they mean not to dishearten you? Well even I hate to be falsely praised and would prefer some honest feedback any day.
simple girl said:
That is an interesting post shail.. even I too do not like false praises and my om has the ability to point out problems in the face.. However i feel this straight forwardness at times is a bit rude because people have different standards and most of them cannot handle blatant criticism of there choices and causes lot of misunderstandings.. so I tend to adopt the middle path.. if I do not like something I shut up and when I like it I go ahead and express it..
simple girl said:
‘my om’ – sorry about the typos- it will be my mom ..
Indian Homemaker said:
Can relate to the way you believe what you are told, I am the same.
I follow Roshni’s path and disengage or to put it more bluntly just ignore them. Had a tough time initially, but at least more at peace now 🙂
I have learnt the ignore lesson too, a lot more than earlier times 🙂
Laxmi Chundi Addanki said:
You seriously write for me – if I cut paste this and send it to my dear ones – they’ll just think I blogged about what I say all the time. This is just mind boggling – I though you remind me of mommy dearest – I think I morphed into her without my knowledge 😀 Now you started reminding me of myself 😉
I am exactly the same way. I am just so gullible and believe what people tell me. Why would they lie? I am happier that way. I am hard enough on myself to even contemplate others being mean. I just delete those comments from my brain and go on.
I know what you mean!
I have become the kind of person who doesn’t care what others have to tell about me or things related to me. I just hear and let it go and not think anything of it. Unless the person making the comments is someone I think of highly, whose opinions I value. So if someone says that my house is really well kept, it would mean nothing to me, same when they say ‘oh the fridge should’ve been in that place instead of this’. I am like you when it comes to offering or consuming food. I take it that you’re full if you say so. It bothers my parents that I’m not playing a good host. And if I say I’m full or don’t want something I mean it too. i definitely do not hesitate to ask for a second helping if I feel like. Yes it would’ve been so much simpler if people would just show what they are, instead of pretending.
I am very bad at being the good host by Indian standards 😛
wah! what a lovely mode!
to be able to identify people through their colour code
then we will be able to tell apart the yucky toad
or the crawling nematode
from the more rarer golden lode.
looks like there are a lot of ‘pavam’ people in this world after all. 🙂
Now look what you did.I had to go googling to find what a nematode is 😛
Yeah. Don’t go by their blogs, they could well be pavams in reality :D.
And Shail picks up a topic I keep turning over day in and day out. I wonder why I never really understood the sheer need to lie. To please someone that’s even more ridiculous an idea. Yes if someone told me were were doing it to save someone’s life I would have still be okay. But pretence only because you believe it is the need of social etiqutte is not only dumb but also highly deceiving. And especially for someone who does take people at face value. In my life I have had innumerable such incidents , I tried to change, I attempted to modify my attitude but I began to feel like anyone with a big size foot would in a small size shoe. Yes highly uncomfortable and painful. And so I returned to my weird self (because normal is the other kind remember?) happy to say it out loud, “I am not okay” and to happily accept if someone said “we’re okay!”
Deepti Thomas said:
I try not to know someone beyond a point Shail. For me , I have been through situation like yours and dont want me to be hurt.. We see the world as a reflection of us.. if we are pure within that is how we mirror us in others as a mask and not see their actual colors.. I am glad you dont give up, but learn to protect your soul..For you alone are its true keeper..and sweetheart.. your captcha makes it difficult for me to comment often..i comment and after failing to enter the contorted words correctly I get locked out of ur page..Hope that doesnt keep your readers away..Loads of Love 😀
Deepti Thomas said:
why did I find no captcha right now?Did you remove it?
Captcha in MY blog? The one who champions AGAINST captcha?!! You must be kidding! Besides, I am on WordPress.
It seems that the blogging community is made of likeminded people. 🙂
My Mom is like you.. So is my MIL.. Am cynical by nature.. So life I do take with a grain of salt.. For life all of us indeed view through our coloured glasses called prejudice..
Oh I do occasionally get duped by the words people speak which I believe on face value I .though, I mostly am able to forget such things easily and say to myself” what a fool I was to believe them”. But then , there are times when someone around believed and tried to convince me that the other person might just be being nice and not meaning their words ,only to be proved wrong later,it once again restores my faith in simple straight speaking.
I have paid advance to unknown carpenter to do certain work who showed up the next day (everyone in the house thought otherwise), I like to trust people . I feel that dishonest and hipocratic talk give away easily.
Usha Pisharody said:
Aha. Beautifully articulated, the collective angst of many of us here. It’s the double standards and hypocrisy, and the assumptions people make; or should it be how presumptuous they are to even consider you might be different?
And knowing how many of them there are out there, being oneself, for oneself, is the only thing you can do. And how? You write that so beautifully!
“I’d rather repeatedly fall and bruise myself than lose my essence and morph into one of those bitter people with their mouths all drooping in a downward curve and wary eyes that will not accept joy to enter it at any cost.” Atta gurl!
OMG, someone’s commented here that she could cut-paste your post and it could be her story (or something to that effect). I second that. Just the other day I was cribbing to a friend that if people just said what they wanted, life would be so much simpler. I hate people who talk in riddles…who say one thing and mean the other and expect you to understand what they are saying…or not saying….Ugh!! Enough to tear my hair out!
Having said that, I admit that, over the years, I have learnt to put on a smiley face and spout things that people want to hear, whether I mean it or not. In this respect I admire and envy you that you’ve remained true to your self. Hats off…