I had my doctor’s appointment today and much against my better judgement, I decided to leave the safety of my house. Srijith had repeatedly assured me that “he would kick anyone’s ass” if they stared at my rather ghastly scarred face. I needn’t have worried at all, no one we met on the way so much as threw at a general glance in my direction. All this made me rather bold and I have been craving some Indian food for a while now, so we made a short detour to an Indian dhaba near my doctors office. We were just gonna pack some stuff and get away and I kept inconspicuously behind Srijith, hiding my face like a shy bride. But yet, to my surprise, the old man at the Indian shop decided to give advice on how to best get rid of the marks on my face! Not that I was looking for advice, but just the fact that the man cared to notice, made me smile. Across all these miles, it took an Indian to show some concern. And I never thought I would ever say this in my life, but I do miss that about India.
When I am home, I complain about how just about everyone loves to give advice, totally unasked for and often unwelcome. If I drive, the policeman at our street corner will wave and say “Ma’am, drive carefully”. If I wear a blue salwar to the temple, the old lady there will tell me, “Kutty, you should wear red saris. Red colour will definitely suit you”. If I am at the bookshop, someone is bound to give me a book recommendation. And how I long for all these to come back, because now everyone in the 1 kilometer radius of my home is stuck with the refrain: “Hmm..you have been married for a while haven’t you..hmm”. While I had found all these annoying, its even worse when no one cares, not even to annoy you.
And the apathy is definitely something I am very much guilty of. Having lived for quite a while in Singapore, which I call the king of apathic lands, its rubbed off quite a bit on me too. If I see a girl sobbing in my neighbourhood, I probably wouldn’t ask her whats wrong. I will justify she had a fight with her boyfriend and just needs to be left alone. The thing is, if everybody just leaves everybody else alone, we are all gonna be very lonely.
The next time the old lady advises me to wear a red sari, I will just nod and smile and maybe even wear a red sari the next day.