No…I don’t drink…is that a problem?

I was at the office party last evening, and chatting with someone with a glass of coke in hand. I was chatting animatedly, and standing quite close to the person in question, seeing as neither of us could hear the other properly over the din of “nakka mukka”. X approaches me with a smile. The conversation goes something like this.

X: Hi Amrutha! Nice party isn’t it? By the way, is that rum?
Me: (Glancing at the glass of coke in my hand) This? No. This is coke.
X: You don’t drink?
Me: No.
X: (Now openly staring at me and at P, the guy who was talking to me) You don’t? Hmm…can’t quite believe that!

Twenty minutes later, this conversation repeats, practically verbatim with another person. This happened at least three times at random intervals. A good hour and a half later, I was again with someone, a guy again, with a glass of Sprite. The conversation with random passer-by? Lather, rinse, repeat!

If you notice, each of the time a random passer-by asked me if the glass in hand was rum (or gin and tonic in the case of Sprite), I was chatting with a guy! Someone tell me! What’s the connection between me talking to a guy and not drinking? My final conversation with random passer-by, let’s call him G, went like this.

G: So, Amru…had your drink? Is that Gin and Tonic?
Me: Uh..no…that’s Sprite.
G: (Incredulously) No?
Me: (Calmly) No.
G: (By now completely drunk and quite out of his senses) C’mon! Don’t tell me that! A girl like you, studied in Paris, talks to so many guys, is so friendly…but don’t drink? What ya?
Me: (By now deciding that I’ve had enough) Hmm…excuse me while I go my sixth tequila shot!

Sigh! Some people will never understand! They are better left alone, aren’t they?

Disclaimer: This post contains no reference to anyone, living or dead. Any resemblances are purely coincidental! 😉

It’s our heritage dammit!

I had a conversation with someone yesterday that went something like this.

Me: I really want to go back and see Sadras. There is so much more to see in that fort.

X: Sadras? Where is that?

Me: Behind the Kalpakkam Atomic Power station.

X: Oh! That old building? Yeah! I know of it. I have been there…we used to use it as a bar, since you don’t have one inside Kalpakkam!

Me: What the F***?

This kind of an attitude pains me. My heart breaks when I see a part of my history and my culture being used as open-air urinals and bars. Such monuments of historical importance are meant to be valued, cherished and protected. I was always under the impression that it’s only people who were uneducated and uncouth did this kind of thing. But my conversation with X effectively rid me of this perception. I now realize that smart, educated, urban young men (and women) are as ignorant of the value of such historical monuments as the uneducated village youth of my imagination.

Sadras is not the only fort to meet with this fate. Some time ago, there were ads by the Ministry of Tourism, as part of the Incredible India campaign to sensitize people to the value of their heritage. I honestly don’t think that has worked. I myself saw several empty beer bottles, plenty of plastic waste, and graffiti inside the Sadras fort. I remember pointing out a random declaration of love to Sriram and fuming at the mouth about it. I can only hope that at some point in the future, people will stop treating forts like Sadras as urinals and bars and start giving them the respect they really deserve.

After all, they are not just old, ruined buildings. They are a part of our culture and our heritage. They constitute bits and pieces of history using which we can rebuild the story of our past, brick by brick. When will people understand that?

Being single…

This is one thing that’s been on my mind for quite some time. I sat down to write about it today and realised that Julie’s latest post, as well as one published quite some time ago, deal with precisely this. I vaguely remember saying something about Julie reading my mind. This time the coincidence is quite freaky. She conveys, more eloquently than I can ever hope to do, why being single is such a desirable thing. She quotes this from Bridget Jones’ Diary.

“When someone leaves you, apart from missing them, apart from the fact that the whole little world you’ve created together collapses, and that everything you see or do reminds you of them, the worst is the thought that they tried you out and, in the end, the whole sum of parts which adds up to you got stamped REJECT by the one you love.”

Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’ Diary, p. 193 (Picador, 2001)

Now, I haven’t read the book and have no idea what it talks about. I know it’s one of those books I must read, but somehow never got around to doing so. But the quote…it strikes you hard. Causes a flash of pain, origins unknown, and makes you wish you didn’t have to rely on someone else to give you that elusive happiness. I don’t know what or who I am waiting for. Sometimes, I wonder why exactly we need another person to make us happy when, as Julie says, we have the tools to do it ourselves. But then again, unlike Julie, I am not quite a hedonist. I like people. I need people around me. Being alone and being lonely make me crabby and irritated. I have grown up alone, despite having lived in a joint family. I would hate to remain that way all my life. Ok…wait! I am getting ahead of myself.

I honestly don’t know if I have it in me to be happy on my own. But, I am trying. Happiness after all, is a state of mind. The less dependent we are on others, emotionally and otherwise, the better are our chances of being happy. So, while I might not succeed in this endeavour, I am going to try: to seek and find happiness in me rather than looking to someone else to give it to me.