THE SYNONYMS AND ANTONYMS OF LIFE
Even now, when I travel in public buses, I raise my hand quietly for the conductor’s attention. I never yell at him to get my ticket. I try to be as insignificant as possible, as invisible as possible to the naked eye as long as my work gets done. I know I deviate from practices essential to sustain life in a metro city, but I am what I am. And if I have to force myself to change to the requirements of my surroundings, I cease to be what I really am. I’d rather break the walls than paint myself in their colors.
Friendships don’t come easily to me. Neither do acquaintances. Because I never approach a stranger with the intention of befriending them. I’m too socially backwards to move a conversation forward. You need to come to me with a purpose, with a conversation that doesn’t revolve around small talks. It needs to be laden with facts, with arguments, with a specific goal. It is only after the purpose is served, can I move on to seeing you as person, as a possible candidate for social engagements. And no, that does not make me too hard to deal with. It just makes me different from what you’re used to.
Sometimes I look at someone long enough to realize that I’d love to be a part of that person’s life in one way or another. So I muster up my courage, use every ounce of energy to overcome my shortcomings, and approach them with a version of myself I’m unfamiliar with. It might sound like I’m acting contrary to the rebellious stand that I earlier took, but it is far from so. I do it because I don’t want to lose people anymore, because I’m tired of hoping to be looked at with a pair of eyes that isn’t stained with similarities of the mass. And I do so also because I assume that once I get out of my way for their sake, they’ll do the same for mine. But that rarely happens. More often that being understood, I end up being mistaken for aloofness, egotism and indifference.
Having said that, I do not believe the world to be devoid of exceptions. Because all you need is to look hard for someone who is alike or shares your beliefs. And I’m fortunate to have some of them in my life. It makes the hardships worthwhile and the nights easier.
I’m scared of ‘well-wishers’ who look at me with puppy eyes and try to tell me that the world is too impatient for the likes of us. I resent their audacity. Because I’m as much a part of evolution as they are. And you’ve actually devolved if you haven’t learnt to embrace change. So wherever possible, I put up my most honest biography. I tell them exactly who I am and if they’re up for it. Because I’m the escape from the monotony they dread so much. Yet, more often than not, I end up being too much of a deviation.
I’m shy, I’m reserved, I’m reticent, I’m an introvert. I’m all the synonyms of my kind. And all the antonyms to the mundane mankind. And if you don’t taste the best of both worlds, how will you ever feel alive?