Friday, March 18, 2011

Stories we tell

Here is the meaning of the word gossip. I am referring to the act rather than the person. Today, it is the act that is pushing me to post this. Being born into my family means that I have inherited an intense love for talking non-stop. We’re all unstoppable when it comes to talking. How we have a meaningful and purpose-ridden conversation is beyond me on certain occasions; and yet, somehow, we manage.

But within family to talk about each other and others is justified in some sense. I don’t see why my mother will go to town about what I told her. The only other people she gossips with are her two sisters. Who, in turn, will gossip exclusively with their older sister. Ever since my uncle came back from Saudi Arabia in 2007, he’s been inducted back into the group! When my grandfather was alive he was the nucleus of this circle, sitting on his chair in the room laugh-coughing and adding his own two-bit worth of stinging sarcasm. After he passed away, my brother and I were inducted. Hopefully, if we last as a family, my children will enjoy the nonsense that comes with being related to us.

With friends, however, it’s a different story. I have an inherent paranoia about people. I know that I over-share on plenty of occasions, but I don’t trust people to treat personal information as sacrosanct. If you’re a friend, I will take the liberty of not filtering what I’m saying. Doing that only means one thing; I expect the same level of openness from you.

People talk. There’s nothing anyone can do about that. We love talking ¬– talking about other people, talking to other people, talking to complete strangers about everyone we know. This talking is how I met someone I know. To make my life even more wonderful, this person showed up at a time when my friend was going through a major crisis. So we bonded over this crisis and became friends, etc.

However, the next thing I know, he became some form of BFF. Calling, chatting, texting on a constant almost clingy boyfriend-ish level! Following which, he became BFFs with my friends. It was such a bizarre cycle. To say that it happened when we were unconscious and drugged would be denying the role all of us had in developing a relationship with him. At one point, I thought I had met someone who was going to be a friend for life. We talked a lot and he was there at a time when I needed someone who would just listen and not judge. However, things did go wrong. I need to figure out if I’m the villain or if he’s actually a burgeoning nut job!

With time, something about the “friendship” got a little unhealthy. I began to draw away from it. He comes up with – “I understand baby, you need your space. I understand you very well.” The hugging lasted a second longer than it should have. (I’m a hugger and it bothers me when hugs are treated with disrespect!) It was getting a bit much. This invasion then expanded into my group of friends. The problem is, he was there on most occasions on invitation and when he is in the room it’s impossible to make movie plans without including him. We’ve also taken him up on his invitation and hung out at his place when the bars and nightclubs have shut down.

Yeah, we were at fault big time.

The most painful process is putting a distance between you and someone who thinks you have a very close and profound relationship/friendship. I find myself at my most rude in such occasions. I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve offended because of my rudeness. However, my behavior has ensured that I am not surrounded by people who make me uncomfortable. It works out for me.

This tale gets even more sordid! The boy, lets call him U, offered to give me a writing gig at his work place. I was more than happy to consider it because it meant not being unemployed. U went and assumed that coming into his office meant express assent at working in his office full-time and after a meeting I was inducted into his organization without any recorded proof.

After this happened and a few other similar this’s happened, I was left with no other option but to deny all offers of employment from said U! I sent an email to the boss and said I won’t be able to take them up on the offer. U imagined that I had offended his sensibilities in some way or form and kept calling me. My not answering the phone meant him calling my friend and whining about my being unreachable. When I called them back his boss greets me with a – “Shruthi, we thought something bad happened.”

This was around the time I had an offer from another newspaper and I told U’s boss that I wouldn’t be able to help her out. I would try, but I was not making any promises.

After rejecting a few offers, something else came up. I emailed U’s boss and said, I’m working elsewhere, please don’t mind.

Of course, responding to emails is an alien practice in some cultures, so I have not heard from boss lady. Frankly speaking, I couldn’t care less at the moment. I know I’ve offended the hell out of some people, but I don’t have to run around rescuing people’s feelings for anything. U is crying foul about the fact that I had the gall to work in a so-called rival establishment. He is telling people I don’t talk to him and so on. Despite people telling him to take the hint, he pretends obliviousness.

Apparently it’s easier for him to whine about me than to actually call me a bitch to my face. This situation begs the perpetual question – why am I acquainted with these people again?

I don’t care any longer. I have a job that I’m excited about. I’m waiting for the excitement of a launch and regular work to kick in. So, I’m wishing that drama will leave me alone for a few minutes so I can put my feet up, but I need to remember that I have walked into many a shit pit of my own accord. And this time, I intend to disinfect myself good and proper. It’s okay if I suffer a few second-degree burns in the process!


  1. I can imagine how clingy such guys can get. They don't know where to draw the line between platonic friendship and a relationship.

  2. By the way, good luck with your job at the Magazine. :-)

  3. Runawaybride - I know, right?! I know that part of it is my fault by being friendly to him, etc. I don't care any longer. He can continue acting funny!