Of logic gone bonkers

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?

Me: 28.

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.

Me: hmmm

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.

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37 comments

  1. “but everything changes when you see that little thing in your hands”. Hahaha… I see double meaning here!!
    On a different note, seriously, where do you find such and so many inappropriate people. This one really crossed all limits… I too asked the same question while reading this, why did you explain so much… But you have answered that by the end. The only way out is to stubbornly stick to a prepared “not your business” answer for every questions. If needed, you can also stick your fingers in your ears and do a lalalalalalalala while the person speaks. Seems there is no other way out of this madness.

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    1. Hahaha! I didn’t think of the double meaning. I think I could have totally changed the tone of the conversation by refusing to take her seriously and crack these jokes. It would have been hilarious for me and exasperating for her! 😀

      I know! I really do attract the most asinine people ever. It’s like I am in constant competition myself to find the next best (or rather worst) namuna.

      It gets very difficult to go by the “none of your business” approach in a workplace. You may have to work with this person, and it can affect the dynamic. It ironical that you can’t say that to people who don’t even matter to you, but can say it to people who actually do. But the next time, I am just politely going to say that I dont want to discuss this further.

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      1. I totally agree with you on the “none of your business” approach being difficult to go by at workplace. Team work dynamics are very much affected.

        In my office, people rarely have privacy. Everybody gossip to each other about their personal lives.

        With women of my age getting married and the juniors busy about wondering when to get married, I also at times have faced uncomfortable questions.. I am mostly unable to take part in such discussions and end up being a loner..

        But I guess it is better that way…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I would personally like it if I could be the mysterious loner, which I am most of the times. But once people approach me themselves, I find it hard to stick to it.

        It would have been better though had I had the steely exterior. 😦 It is so frustrating when you are in a group that believes in marriage being the be all and end all. I sort of had that in my previous work place. Everyone else was a lot more excited about my marriage than I was. I got some really ridiculous advice. Some of them did help me with the shopping though. 😀

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  2. This is quite bizarre. Is she a known nosey parker? You should have totally let your hair loose and done a Deepika from Vogue on her repeating ‘my choice, my choice’. One place where that sentiment would not have been out of place. Would be so nice to suddenly go all big hair and ‘my choice’ on people like this right in the middle of their preaching.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ha ha ha ha! I just visualized it. I should have done really, no? I was so flabbergasted that I didn’t even know where to begin from. It was inappropriate on so many levels.

      She does seem to be a really mean woman though. I had overheard her saying something really mean about a very senior woman being really successful because she didn’t have any responsibilities: no saas, no bacche. It had struck me as vicious even then.

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      1. People are forever looking for the chinks or what they think are the unfair advantages that speak to the success of someone they don’t like. It is sad and heartbreaking. It is funny what we do to each other in the quest to manage our own insecurities. I wish everybody would just deal with their own broken chords rather than foist these tuneless sounds on others around them. It’s disheartening how much willing we are to victimize others for our own shortcomings.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You write so beautifully. And that’s so true. I am surprised that people can harbor such negative emotions about someone they’ve met only once, and are likely to never meet again. Wouldn’t this be a much happier place if people could just mind their own business and just particpate in other people’s joys, and share their worries and sadness.

    I am going to Bhutan next week. It’s supposed to be a very happy country (in fact, I think it is the happiest country). I am very curious to find out how they manage that.

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    1. How lovely! Have a good trip to Bhutan. Would love to visit the place. Am going to Korea myself, but am not looking forward to it much for various reasons.

      I think folks who tend to introspect about themselves a lot would refrain from indulging in negative behavior. Perhaps truly responsible people find healthier ways to deal with their shortcomings and the effect it may have on others, but it is a rough ride and sometimes you have to make many mistakes to even realize that your behavior needs a course correction. I understand it is unrealistic to expect everybody to have this ‘aa-ha’ moment where they then look inwards and make efforts to rein negativity so that way I console myself when I encounter it.

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      1. Thank you. 🙂 Ooooo Korea! For vacation or work?

        I have been wanting to go to Bhutan since a long time too. I have a very positive image of the place in my mind for some reason. I hope it’s just as good in reality.

        It’s true about people not introspecting. I sometimes envy such people. They are so confident about themselves, and also so very happy with their selves. Sometimes I wonder if they are actually better off in terms of self worth and mental sanity.

        We keep thinking about every little, analyzing if we did something wrong, if we hurt anyone with our words. And then there are these people on the other hand who hurt those around them so much, but are happily oblivious to it.

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      2. Kind of work since it is for a conference, but there is time to do other stuff. Let’s see how it goes because I can never relax around anything that demands a powerpoint out of me.

        Agree, people are much happier that way or at least appear to be in their public personas.

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      3. I can totally relate to that. I can’t even be relaxed on the days I have conf calls and may have to present something.

        Have a safe trip to Korea. And get a great kimchi recipe if you can. 😀 Look at me…totally stereotyping Korean cuisine.

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    1. hahaha. Trust me…I didn’t want to come back. I returned just now, and already feel at loss. Opened my computer after 10 days. But it feels so great to see a friendly comment. 🙂

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      1. Yay, you are back. It’s so appropriate to be hating everything around you for a while and being blue. They most likely deserve it 😀 Take care 🙂

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      2. Seoul is a nice city and deserved a more leisurely exploration. I hope yours was good too. Will wait to read about it.

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      3. Oooops. I just realized that I intended posting that link on the Hysterical Literature project instead of on this post where it is completely out of context 😦

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      4. Hehe. No problem. I knew the reference. 🙂 Did you try any Korean food? I only ate Bhutanese food for the last 9 days, and I can’t stand dairy now. It was all loaded with cheese. 😀

        We should meet up sometime, no? I had planted a mint cutting for you when I mentioned in comment that I’d give you one to start off your gardening. It’s grown to about 8 inches now. 😉

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      5. Haha. Do write about Bhutanese food. I have no idea what it constitutes. I liked Bibimbap and all momo and dumpling type dishes and noodle soups and all. Not all of the rest was to the liking of my desi palate though. I ended up eating fried chicken one evening because I was fed up with everything else.

        Sent you an email on your blog email id 🙂

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      6. Okay, this is the stupidest thing you’re going to hear. 😛 I don’t remember the e-mail id I listed on the blog, and can’t even find it myself now.

        Can you please tell me my own id (my face is red with embarrassment) or share the page where you found it? I can’t seem to find it anymore. 😦

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  4. I have these questions coming in everyday. I realized one thing that for these people it is always about something or the other. The framework is so rigid and they feel they have to tick all the boxes. Marriage, Kid, Kids, house, Inlaws ….

    I have worked in Hyderabad, Poona, B’lore, Germany and finally NCR and realized that people here in my company are a little too much in to this. Maybe, back then I was young and was not made a part of these discussions. Sometimes it gets really difficult to avoid this nonsense and I can imagine how you must have restrained yourself..

    Just this week I sort of had an argument where a “successful” (Marriage, kids, House) colleague lectured me on real estate and how buying a house is a must.

    Somethings gotta change..

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    1. I think we need to be able to look sterner. I don’t know how you appear at work :), but I feel that I look very naive, so people feel the need to give me unsolicited advice and “guide” a lost soul.

      I really need to work on having a slightly intimidating (but not rude) work personality. SO that I am cordial, but people think twice before approaching me.

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  5. Btw, I was recently asked.. “So where do you see yourself when you are 50 without kids”
    I promptly replied ..” Running marathons (hopefully full), traveling and learning things” and of course it didn’t go down too well.. because later on at an awards ceremony the same lady commented : ” iske liye sirf paisa and career important hai baaki sab jaye bhaad mai”.. That’s because I got an award that day for my performance.. uff.. My rant ends now..

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    1. OMG! The nerve. That’s just terrible. People need to be sensitized to points of view different from their own. And the HR policies are quite strong in companies actually. Is it possible for you to bring this up with your manager or HR?

      A lot of people will decide to be childfree by choice from now on. And it’s a very personal question anyway. I still can’t get over why that colleague of yours got so worked up. It’s your life, right. You wont be going to her at 50. Seriously! Indians need to understand what personal space is.

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  6. First time here and I really like your writing.

    I am quite shocked at how entitled the lady felt to ‘guide’ you. Do you think jokingly mentioning that she’s bordering on workplace harassment here would have shut her up?

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    1. Thanks for the kind words @celestialrays 🙂

      I was so shocked when this happened that it didn’t strike me to jokingly bring up HR or code of conduct policies. But in retrospect, I wish I had done that, and I really hope that at least that would stop her. But the lady is quite strange actually. You never know what’s with her.

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  7. I’ve heard this shit before, too many times to count. Mostly, when someone approaches me about something I’m uncomfortable discussing, I just keep saying “so?” or “ok, thanks for the advice”.
    Pisses them off after a while.
    In your case, imagine a conversation that goes like this:
    “You’re 28 and childless ”
    ” So? ”
    ” so you should start thinking about having kids. ”
    ” Ok. Thanks for the advice. ”
    End of story.

    Like

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