Uncalled

My philosophy in life is “if you have nothing nice to say to a person on their face, shut up”.I never can understand the need for people to pass comments on other people, even if in jest.

Today was the first day of the three day first-death anniversary ceremonies for my grandmother and I wore a saree for the event. For the record, I do wear saree often and not just for occasions, and I have worn saree since I was 18.  However, I don’t wear it as a “Dress” up dress, I am usually casual, partly because I like being casual, but mostly because I lack the skill to “dress up”.

I wore (am wearing) a blue cotton saree, in my usual casual style – no pleats at the pallu (I never pleat the pallu), and no safety pins anywhere.  Additionally, since I had to do a lot of work around the house, I tucked the free end of the pallu into my waist, as is normally done when you don’t want the pallu to get in your way.  Again, this is perfectly normal, if you are used to wearing a saree on a daily basis.

The ceremonies were delayed, and by the time they were over, it was time to go to school to get the kid.  I waited at the gate, as usual, for the bell to ring and the customary group of moms was chatting.  This one mom, makes a beeline to me and says “what a wonderful saree, but why are you wearing it so badly – you have spoiled the beauty of the saree”.

Spoiled the beauty of the saree?  Am I the only one who thinks this was rude?  Or, am I, being hypersensitive to my own inadequacies (on the looks and dressing front), over-reacting to a normal sentence made perhaps in jest.

In the Hindu epic Ramayana, one of the defining traits of (Lord) Rama was supposedly “Mrudubhashana” – “of gentle words”.  Mrudubhashana is my principle in life, and I hope I am able to hold on to it.

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7 thoughts on “Uncalled

  1. ss

    LG,

    Yes, I have seen many instances like this where a funny remark or a tease can be very hurtful. Of course the best cure for it is a witty comeback/fitting repartee, but one has to have the presence of mind for it. Or you can always tell her in a prepared funny response at another opportunity. I only say this, because the person needs to get the message that you don’t take crap (kunnia kunnia kottuvargal).

    But it is only a reflection of that person’s character and what goes around comes around…so she will be duly taken care of by someone else.

    My intent is to make you feel better 🙂

    Take care!

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    1. gobblefunkist Post author

      The irony was that just as soon as the woman said that, the bell rang, and a bunch of my kid’s friends ran over to me and said “Aunty, you look lovely in this saree”. Somewhere when we grow up, we lose the sense of being nice.

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  2. Hangaku Gozen

    Ugh, it was rude. I know you are a peaceful person, but in the same position, I would have given her a piece of my mind. I think those sort of people are just jealous and want to spoil your day. Years ago I had a woman come up to me and compliment me on a business suit i was wearing, but then added, “Too bad you’re wearing flat heels. It really brings down the look.” I was too young and inexperienced to know what to say to such a comment. Looking back now, I realize she was a spiteful, awful person. I’d like to think she was dead now—she was 20 years older than me—or looking like a rotten sack of worms.

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    1. gobblefunkist Post author

      Ha ha. I am not that mad because I am used to this. Indians have a weird sense of entitlement to commenting about others on their face. I can’t count the number of times I have been told by people that I dress up like crap. The first time my now sister-in-law met me, she said “you should do something about your hair”. I almost considered calling off the wedding ! Grown a thick skin since then.

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