Saturday, December 11, 2010

Places I Never Meant To Be

With  the new year fast approaching, I thought it would be fun to look back and see how much I have detoured from my expected life-course.  So I decided to be a copy cat and make a list of places I never meant to be, inspired from my friend’s post :). And wait, she says she’s tagged me, so all the merrier!

More than physical places, figuratively speaking, there are many many places in my life that I sorely wish I didn’t have to be. I have tripped into many sour soups and pickles and burnt myself nicely.  I never imagined that I would be plunged into such dreaded places where I had to make the most excruciatingly difficult and painful decisions of my life and live with the searing guilt and bruises for the rest of my life. But, hopefully I don’t have to walk back and forth through the gates of Hell again. Universe, are you listening? ;)

Anyway, having got that (temporarily) off my chest, let me slip into a lighter mood :)

1. A couple of years back, my father asked me in his characteristic sarcastic tone, “So, you’re sure you want to go and live inside a freezer?” Ah. (chilly silence) . Then, I bit the bullet and nodded an affirmation. And here I am, never even having dreamt that I would live in a frigid place, where several inches of snow and ice are quite commonplace. But I have no complaints. Except for the dangerous driving conditions, it’s beautiful to wake up to the silent fall of snow, gaze at blankets (and towers) of whiteness, and build snowmen without suffering a frost-bite (Er, I’m still working on it).

2. I melted into a puddle of tears the evening I returned from a horrific bus journey, where I had to stand cramped in a crowded college bus for hours, with hooligan “senior” boys heckling us in the name of ragging. I never meant to go to such a place, in such a bus, amid such deplorable company. But a few months later, after I spotted a super brainy, IIT-hugging, humble friend joke around in the canteen, I “wizened”. If he could study there and be a sport, I should too. I decided to grit my teeth and make the best use of my time. And I think, I almost did, staying all the while in the first bench.

3. Due to my (lack of) keen sense of spatial orientation, I often drive and end up in places I never meant to be. I also will steadfastly set out to walk to the library and will  suddenly end up in a totally different building, which will cause me to make a clumsy 360 degree turn on my heels as my body’s way of trying to figure out the current location. Some people advise that I shouldn’t be letting my thoughts drift as I walk.

4. In a hardware store, hunting for plumbing equipment to fix a running and clogged toilet.  And then returning home to stare and prod at a place where I never imagined I would spend the better half of an hour.

5. At a Casino. And that too, losing money. I thought a prudish nerd would be a total misfit there. And for the record, I still don’t understand how the slot machines work. I numbly stare at the colorful, jingling symbols and when they stop and announce I haven’t hit the jackpot yet, I whack a button that best appeals to me at the moment and hope to win as the symbols jingle-jangle. Chimps would do better.  

6. On a dance floor. Silly college farewells. I can’t move my limbs suitably to even feign dancing, but I was happily flailing about without a care in the world.

7. My family is on very friendly terms with plenty of head temple-priests in the remotest parts of Tamil Nadu. My mom or father-in-law has to just whip out their phone and punch a few numbers, and within minutes we’ll be treated as VIPs and be whisked through secret corridors and tunnels, bypassing pesky lines and will be seated right next to the Idol and the temple cockroach and handed plenty of Prasad. It’s a very disconcerting feeling. In addition, we’ll be taken to the priest’s humble and quaint home, which will quite stir and sadden me. The old wells, the crumbling roofs, the peeling wall paint, the cows in the backyard, the kitchen with a teeny wood burning stove, the girl my age standing morose in a modest saree and holding three kids, make me feel eerily transported to a different era, and I often wonder how I ended up there and how all of this can still be part of the world I live.

Well, I can’t think of anymore “cool” or extraordinary places that I managed to get myself in without meaning to. If you think this is an interesting exercise, type away your “places” in your space!


Karthik said...

I actually relate to a few things on your list! Perhaps most to the last one...Hope the coming year finds you time and again, in places you truly were meant to be!;-)

Neeraja said...

Really? The last one?! I thought this experience was quite unique to my family ;)

Karthik said...

:-) And I too thought the experience was unique to my family:-) Clearly I'm wrong! Actually maybe anyone who is not religious in a conventional way, and has parents who are very religious probably has similar experiences to share..But I guess on a trip from US, it'll seem even more strange to you than it does to me.

SecondSight said...

I'm so glad you did this !! I relate to quite a few of them too- For some reason, the household-type/ grown up experiences like driving, fixing clogged drains and paying bills are the ones that shock me the most (and make me happiest too). I almost put "paying my electric bill" on my list ;)

Rafiki said...

I relate to the ragging bit as well as the temple priests home visit. :) I think I will actually think and write about this as a New Year post. Glad I came across your blog.

Neeraja said...

Oh my! It's surprising how many people relate to the temple-priest point, when I thought I was the only one to face it! I'll wait for your New Year post :)