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The last ten-odd days have been trying. A lot has been happening to and with people around me. Which has meant that I’ve been in situations where I needed to be diplomatic, polite and discreet. Like the other evening, I asked a simple question and got a simple answer. All good. Then I’m told that I shouldn’t tell anyone of this simple answer because the person who told me isn’t legally allowed to do anything other than be a tourist in India. Okay then. Someone else wanted to be buried neck-deep in soil and I will not tell you who. Yet another person I know of is having a baby, and again I will not tell who. Not because disclosing the information would get me killed or any such thing but just because it would be indiscreet to do so, especially since these are all random people whom I barely know. It’s not hard to keep a secret for those with whom we’re close but not gossiping about the random bits of information that float past about strangers, that’s hard. As someone said to me, if you don’t turn to life for writing material, then where will you go and if you can’t invade the privacy of strangers, then whose will you invade?

But I’ve been good. I’ve displayed discretion, made all the right noises, looked concerned when I should, sounded philosophical when it was required, schooled expressions and generally behaved like socially well-adjusted human being who doesn’t embarrass those around her. Is it too much to expect others to do the same? Apparently, it is.

First, an acerbic young thing I met the other day said without any preamble, “Your little blog, that anonandon thing? It’s become a little boring, by the way.” There are other people with us who blink at me and ask, “You blog?” I make some noises that are meant to change the subject. “What? It’s not like it’s a dirty little secret,” says the person who is bored by this blog. Now, this is true. A blog is not much of a dirty little secret but I’m old and boring and I don’t talk about my blogging, so consequently, it’s close enough. “I liked it back when you were talking about periods and stuff,” my critic continued. Technically, I think they should have been feeling embarrassed about publicly declaring that they enjoy reading about menstrual blood but there I was, knocking back my gin and tonic and unable to meet the eyes of the people who have no doubt labelled me “the one who blogs about periods and stuff”. Wonderful.

Then there’s yoga. I started doing yoga a few months ago with the hope that it would help me lose weight. Nothing of the sort has happened but at least now I’m fat, fit and flexible, rather than fat, unfit and immobile. Along the way, some people dropped out and I found myself in a new batch, filled with “senior” ladies, as they call themselves. Not a problem, I thought, until I found myself in class, listening to my instructor — who is old enough to be gran to a 4-year-old and flexible enough to make a pipe cleaner feel stiff –, say, “Now we will do pranayam. Close your eyes. Breathe in, hold your breath, close your anus.” Excuse me? I decided to just wait it out till the next set of breathing exercises. Finally, our instructor asked us to open our eyes and explained that this particular pranayam is excellent for anyone who has a tendency towards piles. Lovely. One of my classmates piped up, “Can we do that one that you said would help with my urine problem?” Did I need to know she has a “urine problem”? No, but you learn something new every day. “We’ll do something similar,” said my instructor. “Breathe in deeply, hold your breath, tighten your navel, close your vagina. Tighten, close as tightly as you can, hold your breath. Now slowly release your vagina, slowly exhale. Ok? ” Er, no. “This is very good for women post-menopause because it will really help to tighten the vagina.” Then the instructor paused, looked at me and said, “You don’t need it just now but it can be useful for you also, for more control, you know.” Suddenly, without warning, my yoga class has turned into a gathering of Vatsyayana‘s acolytes.

Why me?

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15 thoughts on “Discreetly Yours

  1. I HATE it when people mention my blog to me. That’s one of the reasons why I’m very hesitant in telling friends/people I know about my blog. I don’t want to talk about something I’ve written. If you have something to say, COMMENT! And I hate it when they won’t take the hint when I blatantly change the subject.

    And you have my sympathies for the yoga class. When I join a yoga class, I will try to do so in my college or some other place that is geared more towards 20-year-olds than 65-year-olds. πŸ™‚

  2. You’re right: not gossiping about strangers/people you don’t care about much is hard. It’s so annoying when I can’t tell my close friends a juice bit of news that someone I don’t know well told me (usually under the influence of alcohol :P)

    And I really like that line: “If you don’t turn to life for writing material, then where will you go and if you can’t invade the privacy of strangers, then whose will you invade?” Very accurate, I think.

  3. Sumedha, re: yoga, you’re very wise.

    Jals, I do agree with it but generally strangers tend to get more upset by the invasion than close friends. Maybe because friends have braced themselves for the fact that the worst thing that can happen to you is a writer friend writing about you. πŸ˜€

  4. people…!

    ew about the yoga. and how the HELL do you tighten your navel? i’ve been trying for the past 10 minutes and no luck.

    • You, madam, have no need to tighten anything so don’t even try. For general knowledge, however, it involves sucking your stomach in until “it presses against your spine”.

  5. Why Me? Reminds me of the Styx chorus:

    The days you hardly make it through
    You’re sure that there’s a curse on you
    And nothing seems to fit
    And things don’t go your way
    You know you’ve had enough
    You can’t take another day
    Where to go and what to do
    You’ve got those bills to pay
    You’re really not alone you know
    ‘Cause everybody says
    Why me, why me

    • There’s something nicely poetic about someone called “sui generis” pointing out how general this feeling is. πŸ˜€ Thank you.

  6. “Why me?”
    “For the good of the university. For the honour of wizardry. For the sake of the world. For your heart’s desire. And I’ll freeze you alive if you don’t.”
    Rincewind breathed a sigh almost of relief. He wasnt good on bribes, or cajolery, or appeals to his better nature. But threats, now threats were familiar. He knew where he was with threats

    ~ TP

    Though I know who you are I don’t know you personally. For what it’s worth I still think you are one of the most interesting f. of the s. I may never end up meeting .So coming from fan would it be presumptuous to offer coffee if I happen to be in the same city as yours? πŸ™‚

    – me

  7. I mean, come on what is it with people discussing sodomizing a tranny dwarf in the line at the bank? Or the girl bringing up her liberal dad thinking out loud what a good idea a clit ring was? Seriously, when did it become okay to discuss real life stepsister incest at homely, family friendly, conservative places like the co-operative where the clerks are born again tattoed straight edgers?

    πŸ˜›

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