Back in college, a few years ago something happened with me. We were out one night, eight or nine of us, at a friend’s house, it was his birthday. The usual inebriation apart, in a state of senselessness a boy made a shrewish comment at me – what if you get a girl as bad as her, and he laughed. It took me time to comprehend how I was bad – was I bad because I did not care for the social differentiation of acceptable experimental habits was I bad because I did not fit the usually body cloth hair decorative casing of a confident girl – how can she be so comfortable with the herself that everyone sees?
I was hurt and with tears in my eyes and no shoes on my feet I stormed out of the house. The rest of the night was spent in apologies, more tears and me trying to leave the house with whatever little dignity I could salvage.
Thinking about that night usually brings along with it a set of memories I wish was void. But then again, it really does not matter. Like all other things there is a only one way it works for you, retrospection that is – you always a choice even while connecting the dots backwards.
Retrospection the way usually it is done by most has an inherent user bias which is objectively fair – it is your story after all. Hence reflection tells me now in a very discerning voice – the person before the comments.
I am not going to speak against this certain person here, I have been raised rather kindly to do better than to black paint someone else – it is a rather unfruitful exercise.
But what reflection does tell me is that the vague algorithms people often employ to be interested in someone are on a default design of strict filtering with baseless hearsay gossip as the prime parameters. Location plays a vital role too, the more you are around people every day who know very little about you; the more the broth will be boiled by the many cooks. But then again that is how it has always been – familiarity breeds contempt et all so again it really does not count.
What does count though is the way idle talk affects ones behaviour. What does matter is the way the notions of those around you weigh down your own mechanism of judgement. It is an exceptional survival tactic- what works for most should be safe for me but now we know better, now we know that if 600 people say 7 * 7 = 61 then their basis is visibly different than ours.
But when one goes on exploring unknown lands where there are no notions of the society to help you think except perhaps the dreamy sequences of the media bullshit that you have grown up on one is usually more confident, more of oneself, more of any one that one wishes to be. Why is it that we are more comfortable talking to strangers – being ourselves, being nice and being different? Why is it that the same guy is a different man to a girl from far-away and why is that the man from a far-away land intrigues me more than, well really, okay sometimes, he does intrigue me more than the boy-next-door?
Genetics and Psychology offer disturbing answers. Prudence tells me it is all in your head. Relativity decides my happiness and the grass is somehow always greener on the other side. Just the same duality does not escape me too, I am your girl next door and I am also someone’s beautiful stranger.
Originally posted here.