I had been meaning to rant about an incident that happened at work on Friday, but had I written it earlier, it just be a series of f*** off, f*** off,f*** off,f*** off,f*** off….you get the drift. Usual Friday morning, I was having a casual conversation with the very nice lady to sits next to me, when a third lady comes in and starts talking pitching in her inputs about the topic. So far, so good. The third lady (we’ll just be calling her colleague from now) reappers at about desk about twenty minutes later, and here’s the conversation we have.
Colleague: Can I ask you a personal question? How old are you?
Colleague: So you’ve been married for about two years? If you want to have children, you should start being serious about it from now itself. Don’t make it late.
Me (smiling politely): We have decided we don’t want to have children, so it’s all good. From this point on begins the bonkers part of the conversation.
Colleague: Main to tumhe batane aayi thi ki abhise try karo, yahan to kucch alag hi mamla hain, Fine it’s not yet two years since you got married, but you’ll change you’re mind.
Me (still smiling politely): No I won’t.
Colleague: Pehle sabhi aisehi bolte hain, but everything changes when you see that little thing in your hands.
Me: I’m sure it’s a lovely experience. Just something I have decided to forego.
Colleague: You will regret when you are 35.
Me: I can’t base my decision on what I may or may not feel after 7-8 years.
Colleague: You’re life will be incomplete. You don’t know what you’re missing.
Me; No it won’t. It’s a choice I have made based on what my husband and I want our life to be in the future.
Colleague: Ek toh hona hi chahiye.
Colleague: I just don’t get it. How can you not want to have a child? I think you haven’t given it enough thought.
Me: Actually we have. New in marriage, and honeymoon phase doesn’t apply to us. We’ve been together since we were both 18. So there’s nothing we don’t know about each other. This is what we had discussed even before we got married.
Colleague: Now I think you have thought too much about it. You have created a barrier around you. You’re trying to make a point.
Me: In front of whom?
Colleague: You are so negative. I am just saying be open.
Me: Sure. I am not saying I may not feel like having a child when I am 40. But my current decisions are based on what I “currently” feel.
Colleague: I just don’t get it.
Me: You don’t have to. I agree it’s an unusual choice. But I don’t see the point of having a child because my colleagues, my neigbours, my friends, or society at large think I should. I haven’t taken a single decision unless I have wanted to do it myself. There’s no way I am having a child, unless I want to. It’s unfair to the parents, and to the child.
Colleague: See ye sab sirf bolne ki batein hoti hain. You are just trying to prove something.
Me (trying very hard to smile politely, but on the verge of losing it): I take all my decisions based on what “I” feel and think.
At this point, the colleague backed off a bit. But she is so loud, that half the floor probably heard by decision and my argument. I was already behind schedule for somehting I absolutely needed to get done, so I tried hard to concerntrate on the job at hand. But that was not to be.She was back at my desk after an hour.
She asked me if I was hurt. I, still trying to be polite, said it was alright, and that I was used to getting those kind of questions. But she simply launched into another set of attack and accusations. It was the same thing all over again. I can’t even bother to type out the dialogues. She was not ready to take any hint. It didn’t look she had any intention of leaving my dek. She kept saying that she was going to come and tell me every day till I was convinced. She went on and on about how you can’t plan everything, and how you can’t do anything if you conceive. I realized by this point in the conversation that the woman was actually unaware of something called as birth control. She just believed that out “x” number of times that you have sex, you just conceive some “y” times more or less. I didn’t correct her ignorance, lest she start giving me sex advice just as loudly. She said I was going against the nature. I was very unnatural.
I wanted to scream and ask, “which part of our life as today do you think is natural?” Wearing clothes, driving cars, using electricity, mobiles, laptops, heck the very industry that pays us…none of it is natural. If deciding to not have a child is unnatural, so is deciding to stop after 1, 2, or three children. If all we cared about was living a natural life as staying true to our identity as animals, we would all have a dozen kids by now. Because then, every time you have sex, you might have conceived.” But I kept all that to myself. I clearly wasn’t dealing with a logical, rational being here. I was confronted by a baby-fanatic. The kind of mother who thinks that diapers smell heavenly. What can you do in such situations but try and get away?
I realized my mistake when another colleague who had overheard the entire conversation spoke to me. She asked me why I had bothered to explain,reason, and justify. Why had I just not said I didn’t want to talk about it. But my problem is, I just don’t know how to evade or give vague answers when i am asked a direct question. I tend to treat everyone equally in terms of what I might want to share with them. That evidently is not the right approach. You should either be very skillful in developing the kind of persona that nobody wants to mess around with, or at least be good and responding to people selectively based on their IQ and EQ.
I have realized that for all my “I-give-a-damn” talk, deep down I am a peace-loving person who would rather have a peaceful environment around. But it’s exactly these kind of people who attract absolute morons. I have become more and more sure that I am a weirdo magnet. I always end up finding these namunas. Or they find me. I invariably have plenty of such tales, that grace any party and make me a fun person to have around, with this kind of repertoire. But I honestly can pass. I don’t, absolutely don’t need such random people taking the liberty to give unsolicited advice about what is entirely a personal decision of a couple. I can’t tell if such people are stupid, indecent. illogical, or just plain rude.