Social woes alert! I went to a friend’s house for lunch a few days back. Met a few people I knew well, some who were just acquaintances and some total strangers I was meeting for the first time on the social scene that I am a part of. Since it was a winter lunch, I wanted to dress casually, nothing too formal. Nothing too uptight. Nothing too sexy (don’t want to be judged by strangers). But since it was a party, I had to dress up a little. Even as I was dressing up, I wondered….am I dressing up for myself? Or others? Or both? Well since I was already standing in front of the mirror, I looked up and wondered…. mirror mirror on the wall….who am I dressing up for, after all? Sure enough, the answer was… them. This led to a question in my mind…..why do we put up pretences? Why can’t we just be ourselves? I know my own self is pretty likeable. With this thought , I reached the party. Ready to meet and greet.
Anyways, once there, hubby and I met our friends, and started mingling…. I saw a friend who always meets me with “oooh darling…how are you?” I was just opening my mouth to say that I was okay, when she continued “ I missed you last time,” even though I know for sure that she didn’t.
Not once did she ask my hubby why I was MIA at the last get together, nor any other close friend. I replied with the customary, “oooh I missed being there.” Feeling a tad irritated at the pretence. Hers and mine.
Quickly excusing myself from the clutches of her fake nails, I headed to the bar to have a drink. A rather lonely looking lady was standing there- older in age than me; 55-60 years I guessed. Dressed in black knee high boots, net stockings, a short tight skirt that was fighting a losing battle of keeping her tummy tucked in, red sweater, hair so blond they would have put a bottle of peroxide to shame. My mind asked me …why? why? why? would anyone dress like that …? The entire outfit was mocking her kind face and experienced eyes. I saw her smiling at me. All I could say was…. “hello …you look lovely”. She took that as a cue and enthusiastically rattled off names of the stores she bought her various pieces of her outfit from. I made a mental note never to go there. The same question popped into my head again…why do we pretend? Why do we say things that are socially acceptable but not true?
I was still trying to figure this out, when I met another friend. Just this morning she had promised to send me her famous homemade gajar ka halwa. It’s my favourite sweet dish in Delhi winters since gajar or the carrots are a plush orange and very yummy here at that time of the year. I waited all day, dreaming of the halwa which had still not arrived by the time I left for this party. By now my stomach was in no mood for politeness, so I asked her about it. She cooed some lame apology and said it was kept ready to be sent to my place, but her driver didn’t turn up. A million solutions started to roll off my tongue. I decided to bite my tongue instead of the halwa, which in any case had not come. Just before leaving the house, I had got to know through a very reliable source (her maid to mine), that it wasn’t even prepared. Pop… the same question…why do we say things we don’t mean? I opened my mouth to tell her I knew the truth but instead the words that popped out were….‘no worries baby, I know, these drivers na…. too much they are”. Oh God, me too?
By the time hubby and I left the party this question had gripped me completely. What makes us say things we don’t mean? Why can’t we say the things we do? Why this charade? What are the consequences of saying exactly what we feel like to the face of the other person? I questioned Hubby Dearest about this. He said, “wifey, you will have no friends left…” I opened my mouth ready with a retort but realised if I say it I may also have no hubby left. So I lay my head against the head rest and said, “you are always right.”