Thursday, June 26, 2014

So do you also misjudge people like I once did?

This is a true story and it happened to me a few years ago. Read on...

Half my college was in love with her…the other half comprised of girls. The guys wanted to have her…and the girls wanted to have what she had. There is only one of her type in every college; unfortunately, even one of her is enough to cause enough heartburn to the others of her species.

Anyways, I don’t know about the others in my college but I had one particular axe to grind with her. She happened to be the love interest of a love interest. I am sure you’d agree that this was reason enough to despise her. Add to the fact that at an age when I should have been at the prime of my beauty, I had a body not a lot of people can be envious about, I wore thick glasses…and my face was a fertile ground for acne. In short, I was perhaps the type who was everyone’s buddy but no one’s girlfriend, resultant of which I became a boy with the boys and a tomboy with the girls.

My gang of friends grew but this did nothing to quell my jealousy for the girl who made everyone turn towards her when she walked into the room. That she was also pretty endowed in the area of the brain did not help matters at all for me. Not that I ever wanted to be like her…or rather, I could have never been like her even if I tried. With her lissome looks, svelte frame, creamy white complexion and sea green eyes with a sot gentle voice and demeanour, (Cliché, cliché I know…but it was all true), we were a study in contrasts with my large frame, gregarious personality and an argumentative nature which made sure I always had the last word…and the last laugh.

So instead of trying to be like her, I concentrated on making her look bad. But unfortunately, every time I tried that, I’d look like the butt of the joke and it wasn’t long before I gave up on that too. I soon lost interest in my love interest and his love interest. I was having way too much fun to be bothered with ‘well-packaged’ competition. I devoted myself to extra-curricular activities which were far more interesting then boring lecturers and even more mundane accounts classes. Of course, taking part in all this also made me feel ‘cool’.

Life went on with its usual share of teenage worries and sorrows and finally, college came to an end. Post-graduation and then job hunting happened and finally after a few years, everything seemed to be in place.

One evening, many years after my college days, I was returning home from work when I saw her again after all those years. She was standing in one far corner of the railway compartment, at the door, blissfully unaware of my existence, which was a good thing since I could take a good look at her. And, shamefully, I have to admit, I was pleased with what I saw. The peaches and cream complexion was replaced with dark circles and a bit of spotting on the face. She had a weary expression. Not exactly the ‘head-turner’ she once used to be. I felt a slight, happy fluttering in my heart and chose to ignore her. Ten minutes later, though, she found me and tapped on my shoulder.

“Oh hi! How good it is to see you again” I pretended be surprised and happy on seeing her. What irked me was that even beyond the dark circles, her spirit seemed to shine through. She wanted to be particularly chatty. I learnt that she was studying in a business management school…which explained the strained look on the face. An old, familiar pang of envy twirled around in my heart once more. I had taken the entrance exams for B-school too, only to finish with really poor scores, and here she was doing the same course. I pretended to be happy about that and the yapping went on. At last she said, “That’s something I wanted to tell you all this while but I am not sure how to say this.”

I was a bit taken aback. I didn’t think that a demi-goddess would have anything to say to a mere mortal like me. “I was really jealous of you in college,” she continued. The shock on my face was very evident so she proceeded to explain.

“I’ve seen you with all your friends…I’ve even seen you at college competitions” she went on. “In fact, when you guys would be chatting in the canteen, I’d take a seat close to your table. You were so full of life and funny. Just listening to you guys would make me feel better.”

‘Go on, go on,’ I was thinking at the back of my head. This was good.

“You were so full of confidence. The way you would talk, the way you would argue for what was right…it used to be inspiring,” she confessed. “I could never do that. Even now when I have to make a presentation for my management class, I imagine how you would do it…and believe me, it somehow becomes a lot easier.”

But for me, perhaps this was the most awkward and difficult moment for me. In spite of having a way with words, I was at a loss for them. Thankfully, her station arrived and she got off with a wave of her hand. As I walked home that day, I was a bit confused. I wasn’t sure whether I was feeling glad or bad. I reached home with mixed feelings and for the first time in my life, a lot of my opinions about other people, as well as myself, fell into perspective. As I retired for the night, a part of me gloated at the unexpected compliment, but there was one thing that still irked me. The lovely-green eyed girl had, once again, proved that indeed she was far better than me.  

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