Rant #5

To,

The Open Manuscripts,
Well it’s been quite an year. I can go over every month with a fine comb and get a story out of every one of them and generally that exactly what i would do, but it’s a bit different this time.
While i am writing this rant, a part of me can’t help but accuse me of being a hypocrite. After all I’m ranting on because I’m fed up of people who find it absolutely necessary for me to make a big fuss out of the apparently bad things that happen to me. It’s almost as if trying to be positive, no matter what, has been declared as a crime and those accused of it are labelled to be dishonest.
I’m writing this coz people just can’t let me be. Since I’m pouring my heart out i might as well do it properly.
I come from a middle class family and have been blessed with a wonderful and supportive family. I’ve always got whatever I wanted, and i don’t say it as an overstatement. Anything and everything i could want from my parents has been given to me, specially the material things. But i also happen to know that it seems to good i be true and it is. While I’ve gotten everything i ever wanted, i may not have had everything i ever needed. After all I didn’t know i wanted it to even ask for those things. It was to the effect that i was a almost decent looking, relatively smart kid with a not so athletic body, an average nerd so to speak, and as nerds tend to be, i was socially awkward. Even today that may hold true but I’m way better than what i used to be. It wasn’t because i had a problem with talking to people, i just didn’t find it worth the effort. Somehow I’ve always known I’m not like my peers in many ways, for better or worse only time will tell, but different all the same. My social awareness was to the point that if i saw a person frequently, no matter the age difference i wouldn’t greet them or make small talk as long as I didn’t need to talk to them directly for something. Initially i got away with all of it but finally some ‘aunties’ took offence and complained to my mom, even that didn’t make any difference to me, it was finally my friends almost forcing me to bring about a change to that effect that i mended my ways as it was hampering the normal conversations i used to have with them, I finally traded in my indifference for not having to listen to the same speech over and over again. This part may hold no significance to most of you, but for me it speaks about who i am and what are my motivations.
Then came along college, for being a socially awkward guy, i had set my mind on changing that, forgoing that label once and for all, and it seemed to work, at least in the beginning. First day of my college I met the only person I’ve ever loved more than myself. Within a few days we became the best-est of friends, maybe it was because we were both a little broken, but it worked and made us both happy, a week later I’d told her i liked her and the tables turned a bit, i courted her, fended off the competition (well she was and still is the best girl i had the chance i know) and within a month into college I’d won her over and it was official. Only it wasn’t. Being from a conservative household with direct family links into the college it was supposed to be a secret, normally i would be the guy who wouldn’t shout it from the roofs but would wear it as a medal (for obvious reasons) but it was important to her and so it was important to me and we kept it a secret. Only i turned out to be a hopeless romantic, staring at her through the class all day, it was enough to start whispers, and i couldn’t care less. As long as it didn’t reach her parents it was cool. We had our ups and downs coz of it. But it was worth it.
Now coming down to another important aspect of my life. I tend to be one of those who define themselves by the work they do. And I’m really notorious when it comes to following the path approved by the masses. I challenge everything thrown at me. Somehow managing to keep ahead of the local maxima or at least being at par. Enter the time to put our work to test through placements. Ever since i was a little Boy i had a dream to be able to work for a major player. When i got to college i was almost sure that I wouldn’t even get a chance to interview for that firm, thanks to my own lack of effort in boards and JEE, but sitting in that seminar hall, staring at the list of companies visiting, a spark which had grown small and cold over the past years came back to life, i knew I wasn’t good enough for it, but it was worth a shot anyways, so after the initial shock i put in my best efforts and managed to clear to the interviews, my better half wasn’t able to make it and it turned into something bitter-sweet. But I didn’t have the luxury of doubting myself, so i pushed through and she understood. Now come the day of interviews. I’m all set, put on my best clothes and my best CV, ready to face the giant,  but as i watched their presentation and as my name was called for the first interview my blood turned cold, i was literally shaking in my boots and my face was read with a tinge of fever on all my extremes. Never in my life had i been that scared or that under confident, but again it was something I couldn’t afford while walking into the interviewer’s door. So i put in my game face and gave my best performance. By some miracle i muscled through to the final round. Now there were only two of us. It was a tech company and far as tech went i was way ahead of my only competitor. The difference was so stark that people couldn’t believe he deserved to be there for the interview I begin with while I wasn’t their favorite but in that situation the obvious choice. The final round was HR and that’s kind of been what I’ve been good at. That belief turned out to be a massive misconception. It was a stress interview round and yeah it was stressful. I was still partially confident that if they select someone on that day it will be me. Looking back i realize how arrogant i was. Coz they did select someone that day and it wasn’t me. I already had my game face on, so it didn’t take much effort on my part to be the first one to hug that guy. And accept my defeat graciously. After all it had been a good fight and he came out on top, in-spite of his handicap on tech. He deserved all my respect. I was down in the dumps but at the same time just a week ago i was sure I wouldn’t even get a chance to sit in for the preliminary test of this firm. So trying to take it in good spirits i came out smiling and was dealing with my defeat in my own head. It was a beautiful yet cruel lesson in humility but it was a lesson after all, so instead of complaining about how unfair it was and how I deserved it more, i sat there in the backseat of my friend’s car and started thinking about the next step. Out of my 3 pillars of confidence one was down but my foundation was strong enough to hold me upright.
And then it happened. “How do you feel about it?” he asked after we’d gotten away from the others. And i said I’m not exactly happy about it but it’s okay. I’ll live. We drove a little further and then the other friend tried to blame the system, to which I responded by plugging in the aux, finally even they got tired of asking me indirectly and asked me “how do i feel about the guy who got the job” I’d already given my answer but he just kept at it. Asking the same question again and again with new covers, so i said that he performed better than me and he deserved it for that very reason. And in that moment i was labelled dishonest. Over the next few weeks the same happened with almost every classmate of mine whom I’d ever talked to. The best part was i knew they wanted me to be vocal about him so that they can use me as a shield and say whatever they wanted to about him. But to me, he had done nothing wrong. He did defeat me and that’s all there was to it. So time passed and i distanced myself from most of them since I have zero patience for worthless conversations. The only person i talked to was my ex who also happened to be my closest friend at the time. She was another pillar of strength that kept me upright through it among many other things.
But as you may have Guessed it… Even that changed. Almost a fortnight from that interview incidence she came to me saying she had started liking another guy. By this time we had not been together for some time, at least in an official capacity. I hadn’t realized how attached to her i had become over the years, so I encouraged her to go for it and she did. At this time i had been afflicted with chikungunya so i like to chalk it up to my addled brain function but to be true to myself i always knew the risk of losing her. And lose her i did. The day i joined college the changes in here were simply incomprehensible for me. I was in shock. I realized that being the good guy I’d stuck down my second pillar with my own hands.. but that was just the beginning…
It hit me so hard that it took me about 3 months to get to terms with the new dynamics. This was for a person with whim i used to spend every seconds of my college life, except for the times we were working on separate projects, in addition to being on the call or texting each other all day long. My entire identify in college was based around her and it was gone. Thanks to me being Mr. Good guy. But it was a bigger problem for my classmates than for me. I used to be a savage in school and somehow that reputation had followed me in college even though I’ve never had a single altercation with anyone in my college life. My own friends couldn’t accept the fact that I wasn’t causing problems for the new couple, so did my classmates and almost the entire college, at least those who even had doubts about us. And i was like how can i sabotage the happiness of someone i loved more than myself. Not that I hadn’t thought of a hundred way to get her back. But it was wrong and that guy certainly wasn’t at fault. It was me all along. Ignoring her for work. Not doing as she asks thanks to my control issues. It sure was hard on me but i came to terms with it. But that didn’t stop people from making fires. First trying with me then moving on to the new guy ans finally getting to my former love to say that she was never truly in love with me. Since she didn’t know what love was until she met this guy. But i got the message and the cause of it. I finally got over her and am focused on my profession. I’m already working towards building longer lasting pillars of support. And yes my ex is still my friend and my confidant, but it can’t ever be the same. And i don’t regret any moment of it except for one or two maybe. But in my defense I’m only.human.
Now I’m at a point in my life where it doesn’t affect me like it used to. But my problem with people remains. Why can’t they let others be when they are happy? Why do they need to make me (or anyone for that matter) feel the way they think i should feel? Are we truly living in a society where people can’t even feel their own emotions the way they want to? Why do people need to cause so much additional hurt to justify their Own actions and sate their selfish appetites?
I believe have my own version of these answers, but i wish to share this with you so i can get a fresh set of eyes and opinions in the same coz after all my opinion in this is greatly biased.
In the end I leave you with a simple question. “Why can’t people just let us be?”
Anonymous 5
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