The Diwali weekend, had my home teeming with guests. Unexpected, but very welcome. It was only the night before Diwali that I had invited some friends over for dinner, and managed to feed them some overly salted Daal-Makhni. Being the people they are, they had it without a word. Besides them though, we were a full house through the day on Friday and Saturday, and it was tons of fun, mostly because I had enough food to feed everyone who dropped in. I hate ordering from out for guests, and I equally hate missing out on conversations, because I need to cook. So this weekend turned out to be quite a win-win situation for me.
This weekend I also made a new friend, an ex-colleague of the DH. He is really tall, and I think that is what catches one's attention when you first see him, is his height, and the fact that at just a year short of being thirty, he can still pass for a school kid, so I'll call him Mr.Tall here. He is a no-nonsense, straight up guy, who takes his friendships seriously, and has no time to pretend that he likes people he does not. He stands out like a piece of carrot in an omelette, in the hypocritical world we inhabit today. To say he is not a popular guy, would be putting it mildly, the problems he faces because of his attitude, can put the Everest to shame. The one day he spent with us, made him feel comfortable enough to talk to us candidly, and I am humbled, that just that much time with us, was enough for him to trust us so. Its the story of his life, and not mine to tell, and so I will not go into details. But it was something the DH told me after he left that remains with me, and brings me back to a topic I have discussed before on this blog, the blind love expected of every Indian for his parents.
He has had a tough childhood, to say the least, and knowing what he went through, I don't think I would have survived it as well as he has. He has his bone to pick with his parents, and in my view rightly so. He does not deny the fact that he cares very little for his parents, and does not maintain an active relationship with them, but he does not go around explaining his stance to people either. The DH, being his nonchalant, completely non judgmental self, was the only one in his previous organisation who did not think of him in poor light. Every other person had a mean and bad image of Mr.Tall. The DH told me, that another one of our friend, who is also his ex-colleague, thinks very poorly of Mr.Tall, because he does not love his parents. And this really bothered me, because it brings me back to the point of unreasonable expectation in India that everyone needs to love their parents. And if they don't, they owe an explanation to everyone out on the streets on why they don't. I appreciate Mr.Tall for not bothering with that, and not giving into societal pressures, but I cannot help but feel the unfairness of it all. Having been through a traumatic childhood is bad enough in itself, but imagine being forever having to either keep up a facade of a decent relationship with the very people who created the bad childhood, or being prepared for criticism all your life, if you are not hypocritical enough to either lie to people, or to explain your decisions to just about everyone.
Life can indeed serve out a mean deal to some people, for no apparent fault of theirs. But I really liked the way Mr.Tall, deals with life, content with himself, and righteous to a fault. The DH was amazed at the way he opened up to us at our place, because he is known to be a guy who keeps his private life private, and remain logical at all times. Being the person he is, it possibly does not bother him, the way people react to him, or form their opinion, but I just cannot stop ruing at the unfairness of it all. I had been through a phase myself, where I thought it necessary to explain my actions to all and sundry, fortunately that is behind me now, and I live life for myself, and know that I owe an explanation to no one. People can form whatever opinions they want of me.
And hence I feel more for this man, who is strong and upright, but people will ignore all of that, to judge him so very unjustly.
Addendum - Solilo has left a link from the New York Times in the comments section, which I believe is very much worth a read, so I am putting it up here for anyone who reads this post to have a look at.