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Truth Upon Truth

Friday, May 20, 2011

There are two qualities that (if present in a person simultaneously) can be a recipe for disaster, comedy, and supreme embarrassment. Honesty and the urge to always be right. You will know people who walk around with these, or you yourself may be one. I am one such crack and trust me, there is no end to the troubles  I endure because of these two. two-two.gif

Take for instance my latest experience. I went shoe shopping. I liked something. And it cost just 550 rupees. The owner of the rather snazzy store was serving me. We went to the counter. I asked if I could pay by card. He said yes. I handed him card number one. Declined. I handed him card number two. Expired. Ok no problem. I fiddled with my cards trying to figure out which one to swipe next, but there was an intense silence in the room so I started to look for cash. Err, I couldn’t find anything. I started to look in wallet number two…nothing inside. Umm, getting to the point of awkward. The shop keeper was staring at my wallet. The assistant was staring at my wallet. I was staring at my wallet. My cousin was also staring at my wallet. Hoping that somehow I would manage to pull out five hundred and fifty rupees and be done with it. But unfortunately there was no bunny in the bag.

So my cousin offered to pay. I let her. You may have heard of how a lie upon lie screws things up. I'll now tell you about how truth upon truth messed things up. As we were making the payment, the shop keeper made a comment on why it’s better to use debit cards instead of credit cards, and yours truly who always has to be honest and always has to be right went on to correct him and share with him that those two cards were indeed debit cards. Then I realized how it sounded so I explained to him that I was trying to empty the accounts. Ok. Fine. But then I went on to tell him that I wanted to empty the accounts because the banks kept charging me for not maintaining the account balances. That was the point at which I realized I had shared too much, and that combined with the whole penniless scenario, sent this burst of rarely-felt mortification coursing through me, and I dragged my cousin and hurriedly walked off. He must have thought I was some poor woman down on her luck and someone else had to buy me the shoes to save me the embarrassment. What I failed to share with him was that those two accounts were my NRI accounts – which I was barely using these days since I had turned resident Indian again. I didn’t have cash in my wallet because all the TEN ATMs we visited that morning were down (some global failure). I didn’t bother to pull out any other card because everyone was staring at me and then my cousin offered to pay. And I let my cousin pay because she owed me money.

I could have saved myself some embarrassment if only I had kept my big mouth shut. But nooo I couldn’t just let the dude think that they were credit cards when indeed they were debit cards, could I? Stupid me who doesn’t know how to nod along. Something my mom has been trying to teach me since I was born, but she doesn’t understand that people like me are genetically wired to not nod along.


You know the other attribute in people like us? We always have to be right. We are the Rosses from Friends. We are the Teds from How I Met Your Mother. We will correct you at every given opportunity – not because we want to prove you wrong; but because we want everything to be right. We can’t help ourselves. I mean really. I can’t let you call a donut a vadae can I? And who can sit quietly if somebody keeps pronouncing  fiancĂ© as fiyans or Dove in the south-indian Dow style? And really I can’t keep quiet if you keep referring to Gadafi as the Italian Prime Minister.  And it’s a great test of patience when the ‘elderly’ (50+)  from the family proclaim so confidently about how something works and refuse to accept that they are wrong. And you can’t let go because you can’t let them believe a lie. Particularly when they clearly talk of things they know not of. Like computers. Or mobile phones. Or just take the much familiar scenario:

Elderly person: “Why did you do it this way?!!”

Young person: “Because you told me to.”

Elderly: “No, I did not. What are you saying?”

Young person: “You told me to. Just then when I was explaining the procedure to you.”

Elderly: “No no no no no. You have gotten confused. I told you to do the other way. You are the one who wanted to do it this way.”

Young : “No I didn’t.”

Elderly: “Yes, you did.”

Young : “No I didn’t. “

Eldery: “YES YOU DID. “

Young: “How can I accept I did when I didn’t?”

Elderly: “Next time I’ll record and show it to you. Stop being so argumentative!”

Young : “Sure. Please record, then we can see that I didn’t.”

Elderly: “Y-E-S Y-O-U D-I-D”

Young : “Okay never mind. I did”

But I didn’t.


See, I am quite capable of lying through my teeth. I'd be lying through my teeth if I said I don't lie :p. But when your first instinct is to be honest, you try to make the lies you make up as close to the truth as possible. So much so that, you can't keep track of what's the truth and what's the lie and that is when you have dug yourself a nice pit of quicksand. And there's nothing more awkward than being caught in a lie.

And if you know us people – please dear God, never offer us a sales role in your company. We will probably sink it to the unknown gallows with our revelations of truth or our attempts at the much required ability to sell with half-truths. Either that or you will soon find us in the psychiatric wards of environmentally induced schizophrenia. We start believing that client number 1 is at the next table while we are lunching with client number 2. We keep looking over our shoulder. Are they here? Can they hear what I am saying? What if they catch me? We start thinking they have spies all over. I better be careful with what I convey, they may just find out somehow.

Honest people who always have to be right have lots of other problems too. Like they go in super detail while explaining things. Say for instance their description of a surgery will be so graphic, even the surgeon will want to throw up. Or will be so honest about their opinions that they end up offending others half the time. And even if they are not honest, their eyes will betray them.

“Do I look fat?”. Honest person: “Of course not”. Honest person’s eyes: “Is that even a question?”

“Who farted?”. Everyone looks at the glutton. Honest person looks at the glutton. Glutton looks at the glutton. But honest person blurts: “I did”.


Imagine such a stupidly honest person with the urge to always be right in a hostage scenario.

Criminal: “I am going to shoot you with my pistol.”

Rabia: “That’s not a pistol, it’s a rifle.”

Criminal: “Shut up you bitch.”

Rabia: “I am not a bitch, I am a woman. A bitch is a female dog.”

Criminal: “Are you trying to act smart with me??”

Rabia: “I am not acting. I am smart.”

Criminal: “Oh you are so smart eh.” Drags Rabia by the hair and shoves her face in the ground. “There can you smell your grave?”

Rabia: “No, but I can smell your socks, and they stink.”

Criminal: Pushes his rifle into Rabia’s back and goes “Now what do you smell smart ass PHD?”

Rabia: “I am not a PHD, I am a Masters.”

Criminal: Cries. “GOD. WOMEN”.

Rabia: “Yes. You men.”

Ka boom!

Criminal kills himself.


3 comments:

Nikhil said...

GADDAFI u mean? Sorry. I'm one of those.:)
Well written Rabia and...
*pointing to myself* BIG FAN!

Rabia Fathima said...

Touche Nikhil! :) .... and thank you so much ... please continue whirring!

Anonymous said...

Good one.