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Have you known people who like to take control of every little thing you do? I know a couple of them and the experience has left me baffled. That is especially so because I myself rarely, naah, make that NEVER EVER, tell others what they should or shouldn’t. Not even do I do that to my own children, now that they are all grown up and adults in their own right, or to the L & M, who was already an adult when we first met.

Sometimes when about to buy something that has caught your eye, like an outfit whose color or cut appeals to you, in steps someone or other who is with you and snatches it away saying, “No, not that one!” Not the right color, they tell you, with a frown. Or it is too tight, they say with a quick accusing look at your boobs. Next it could be your ample behind that gets the same treatment, with a curt ‘too short’ thrown in. Some others have better manners and won’t do the snatching or the obvious staring, but will insinuate them all the same with gentle insistence (don’t ever be misled by the gentle, control comes wrapped in gentleness too) that you NOT buy. Never mind that it’s YOUR favorite color or you don’t mind wearing tight-fitting or short clothes.

Another kind think they are your bankers. they need to control what and how much you spend as if it all comes from their kitty. Imagine you are about to buy something, say a gift for a family member of yours, and suddenly there is this someone in the group you are with who waves her hand, “No, don’t. Where’s the need? No need to waste money.” It is not given as a suggestion, a do-you-really-need-to sort of query, but an order in the same manner as used by authoritative parents on young children. Of course, when it is a parent saying it is understandable, because they have to dole out the money. Where is the logic (and the good manners) in it all when it is YOUR money you want to spend on YOUR loved ones?

How do they do it?

I myself have accompanied scores of friends on shopping trips. Never have I felt the need to control their expenditure or the things they buy. The colors they like, how tight or loose they wear their clothes, and not only that, what they want to eat at restaurants, how much money they should carry in their purse, what they should do with the balance and a score of other things, I leave it all to them. their’s to save or lose and to learn from their mistakes. Suggestions may be made, but that is all.

It amazes me that some people assume they have the right to boss. They don’t seem to have any qualms about being authoritative with friends and acquaintances (and sometimes just met strangers too!). Whether it be homes, outings or trips, at the movies or restaurants, goddamn anywhere, they take control and leave the other person feeling frustrated (for either having to keep quiet or having to counter). Please don’t tell me it is a manifestation of their limitless affection for you. We in India have the tendency, wrongly so, to equate control with love and concern. Nothing could be further from the truth.

©Shail Mohan 2016