MY WORST DOWNFALL…!

For those who know me well, can completely relate if I say, I attract embarrassing situations like a magnet!

Whether it’s tripping inside my own room or while climbing up the stairs in public or saying just the wrong words at the wrong time, or just talking out-loud, I’ve mastered the art of awkwardness.

I can write endless stories on embarrassing things that have ever happened to me but I am quoting this for now because again for people who know about me are aware of the fact that I am prone to falling and I wonder, I have yet to break a bone.

I was in high school then and I just changed my school from all girls to co-education, and for those of you who had been in my shoes, must know how difficult and nervous that makes you in real world or should I say in boy’s world. I never talked to any boys apart from my cousins before that and my friend list were filled with all girls since childhood.

As is ‘normal’ with that age, I wanted to make a good first impression on boys and finally make friends with them.

As I reached my class I saw a boy too cute for that age sitting on the seat designated to me by class teacher in the first row. I was obviously on cloud nine and thanked my stars. I played ‘cool’ throughout and we really seemed to hit it off. I was really enjoying our short talks in between the classes which were entirely different to what I used to talk about with my ‘girl gang’ and even before I knew I had butterfly’s in my stomach and I was literally staring and smiling at him all through the day. Yes, and by the end of the day he became my first crush!

Blame the 90’s film makers, I played and re-played a scene in my thoughts:

As the bell  would ring, I will start to walk out of the class, will reach the door,  I will turn back a bit, will give him ‘that look’ and flash the pearly white smile, flip my hair playfully and walk out the door, keeping him thinking about me all day long.  I felt no less than an actress imagining all this at that time!

As the bell rang, I shot up to play that scene in real!

I was the first to the door and I opened it, turned back just a bit and caught his gaze, gave him that look with a smile and HE SMILED BACK AT ME!

It was a Win-win! I was thrilled!

But being the Klutz that I was, my foot caught the door, then I hit myself in the face with the corner of the door and I head-planted onto the concrete right in front of him. I do not use the phrase head-planted lightly, as for unknown minutes I was unconscious and as I regained consciousness I could feel the pain and blood at the back of my head.

As I came to senses of what had happened, I saw him standing there offering to help with a concerned look, he was the one that helped me to the Emergency room and I felt like dying the entire way there!

Not to mention I avoided him for days after that incident!

P.S. he did became my friend later that year! 

What I learnt from that incident and several others is, its always best to brush off fleeting moments of public humiliations, as they definitely don’t define ‘you’ for the rest of your lives!

Well, you can surely take this advice from someone who has been there and done that!

(PICTURE CREDIT: GOOGLE INC.)

​THE BUCKET THAT OVERFLOWED…

I am sure I have many embarrassing moments in my life. But when I really got down to writing about them my brain froze. It must be one of those survival tactics of my brain which blocks out all unpleasant memories. Anyways I want to share an embarrassing occasion of my life which might not be very hilarious but it really made me look like a fool.
I was in class XI. And like any other teenager I had a huge stage fright. I had done many dance performances on stage but what really scared me was the mic. Addressing an audience was not my cup of tea.

A debate competition was being organised in our colony. Since the number of kids in my age group were less they we coaxing all of us to take part. I flatly refused. But don’t know why my Dad was keen that I take part. Maybe because he wanted to pull me out of my shell or maybe because he has been so good at these kind of things and he must be hoping that I would follow his footsteps.

Whatever the reason I found my name in the list of participants. I haughtily declared that I won’t put in any extra efforts. I told my Dad that since he has given my name as participant he will have to write the debate for me. My dear Papa helped me prepare. He almost wrote the whole debate for me with some very brilliant points in it. I should have cashed in on this splendid opportunity but I went around behaving like I was doing them a favour by participating.

To cut the long story short. I was finally on the stage. And I almost read through my speech in a monotone. And came back to my seat. “Phew it’s over and done with. Thank God.” And then they announced the question session or something like that where debaters can question or challenge the points raised by other debaters. “Oh My God! Now what is this? No one ever told me about this.” And to my horror one debater got up and challenged a point in my speech. I was supposed to get up and reply. But I didn’t have any clue. “I was not paying attention when I needed to and now I am in a soup.

I got up from my seat went up to the mic and did what any normal teenager does in such a situation. I burst into tears.  That’s what my system does to me. The buckets in my eyes overflow easily and at all the wrong times.

I was mortified, I rushed from the stage. And to add salt to my already wounded ego finally when the prizes were announced I was given the consolation prize.  It felt like they were pacifying a cry-baby. I feel sorry because I must have embarrassed my Dad also after so much hard work that he put in for me. Well! I guess we all have a few moments in our lives that we want either to erase or change. 

(PICTURE CREDIT: GOOGLE INC.)

HOW ON EARTH I AM IN THE MIDST OF BABIES?

I, being a person who enjoys making fun about my own self, I rarely have any embarrassing moments as such that can really entertain my readers. Yeah, I had two such moments where I had to be embarrassed because I could not hold back my bursting bladder but let loose on a crowded street in my trouser once and in a cab another time. The first incident I had already shared in the comment section of Pradita’s article “Looking for the Loo” and the second one was quite similar to the first one, so I don’t want repeat it again.

Let me share something today which might be quite different than what others have shared or will be sharing.

It was in 2001, February 20th, when I had my second heart surgery. The surgery was over but I was in complete darkness and haze because of the effects of anaesthesia till the next morning. When a nurse woke me up in the morning the very next day, I heard cries of babies all around my bed in the Intensive Care Unit of Manipal Heart Foundation, Bangalore. I saw the morning shift nurses were looking at me with a confusing expressions reflecting on their faces while taking over the duty from the night shift nurses. I thought maybe the young nurses were fascinated by my handsome persona and that’s why they were discussing about me with each other… But I was in such a pain, that I was not so mindful of what they were thinking or discussing. Remember, I just had an open heart surgery a day ago and I was in a state where I only could thank my God for granting me another life.

Minutes later, I realised what they were discussing about me when I overheard a nurse asking a senior nurse in charge of me, “how come this patient of 25 years old was brought in to this Paediatric ICU?” The senior nurse smiled and walked close to me saying, “This is my 25 years old baby who was kept here because there might be a shortage of beds in the adult wards”. And all of them giggled looking at me though not in a bad intention yet I felt embarrassed wondering, why on earth I was between all the babies around me. I forced a smile looking at my nurse but was really mortified to know where I was at that moment as I tried to look around painfully tilting my neck, to see only babies and their cutie nurses all around their respective beds. Soon, to my utter dismay, I realised I was bare completely under the sheets like a new born baby while there were young nurses all around me. When one of them did the whole body sponging and her fingers caressed through my bare skin, at those uncomfortable areas of me, it made me feel embarrassed all the more.  Although I knew there’s no alternative to it and she was just doing what she was supposed to do. Probably, I would have enjoyed the bath if I would have been in a different scenario but not at least in the condition I was in that time. :p

Later that evening when my surgeon came to see me, my first question to him was, “Doc, why am I in a Paediatric ICU?” And it was a new revelation for me as well as the nurses around me when he addressed my question… “Chiradeep, you are a congenital heart patient. Your heart and lungs didn’t develop as of a normal adult and thus a Paediatric Cardiologist can only understand the movements taking place in your body much better than anyone else. That is the reason why you are in this particular ICU.”

After two days, I was shifted to a normal adult ward to my relief and did all my routines on my own that were supposed to be done privately.

Now, years later when I visit my specialist, I wait for my doctor in the OPD sitting along with the babies all around. When I go to the counter to register, they ask, “Where’s the patient, where’s the baby?” And I answer them politely with a smile, “I am the one, I am the patient… I have congenital heart problem and I am supposed to be shown to the Paediatric Cardiologist”.

It has become a habit for me now to get a surprise look from people about me as there are very few like me who must be moving around in the crowd. But I would say, my embarrassment 18 years back was not because of my silly mistakes or oops moments but it was because of a lifestyle that was in the process of being set for me inimitably by God over which I didn’t have any control at all. When I recall all, which have happened in my life in the past or still happening now, I get marvelled and gather them as precious lessons for my life and for the life of others to embrace them, to learn from them and to live.

Stay Blessed!

(Picture Credit: Google Inc.)

DID I REALLY HAVE A CADBURY CHOCOLATE 20 YEARS BACK?

They say a simple Hello could lead to a million things. Well, in my case it led to nothing but a little embarrassment. It happened in my own wedding. Yes, you heard it right, it happened in my own wedding. I was supposed to be the center of attraction but I became the center of embarrassment, at least for a moment, if not more!

I was all decked up in a heavily gold – embroidered saree, layers and layers of makeup, a fancy hairstyle weighing more than 2 kgs and all sort of gold ornaments from head to toe. Thankfully, the major part of the traditional wedding was over and we were only left with accepting best wishes from relatives and friends. You can call it a mini reception event. With all the tiring ceremonies from early morning, changing sarees five times (yes, we need to change 5 times as per the tradition), and countless relatives, friends and well wishers buzzing around us, I was looking for someone who can get me a bite of a snack and a sip of water. How cruel is it to make the bride and groom eat the last in their own wedding? Whatever!

To add to the frustration, I was getting overwhelmed by the unending queue of well-wishers waiting to come on stage and greet us. With my energy levels going down to bare minimum, my patience was on the verge of betraying me but there was no other option than bearing that plastic smile while many aunties, uncles, mom’s friends, dad’s friends, sister’s friends and God knows who all were busy shaking hands and blessing us. In all this commotion, I clearly remember that at times I really used to get confused whether the people greeting us are from my side or my husband’s side. Well, you can’t blame me for that, after all, Indian wedding’s guest list does include who’s who!! Endless introductions like, ‘This is my school friend’ or ‘Meet my boss – I worked under him from 1994 to 2000’ or ‘Meet Mrs XYZ – she is the aunty of ABC who was in your school, 2 batches ahead of you’ (What?? Why did you even invite her? Oh yes, she must have invited you in her son’s marriage!) by my parents were making me go bonkers. The only relief was either of them was present alongside on the stage to receive guests and introduce them to us.

But there came a moment when my husband and I were alone on the stage and a group of ladies walked in. I was flashing a ear to ear smile (that’s what a bride supposed to do, right?) and was thinking these ladies seem to be my husband’s relatives (obviously, because I couldn’t recognize them). To my horror, the ladies walked up to me and the comedy show started.

One of the ladies seemed like a leader of their group and initiated the conversation

“Hello!!”

“Hello Aunty!”

“Congratulations!!!”

“Thank you Aunty!”

“My God! You have grown up so much!”

I was thinking to myself – yeah, obviously, I wouldn’t be getting married otherwise! But I reciprocated with a very humble smile.

You were so small when we saw you last. You remember I had given you a biiiiiiiiiiiiiig cadbury chocolate. You used to accompany your mom sometimes to work!

I was like, “Oh, really? That is so sweet of you Aunty!” But obviously, who remembers a cadbury after 20 years!

And then came the most embarrassing question –

Do you remember me?” Aunty was so pleased with my polite response to her memory of cadbury that she was almost certain that I have been thinking about her all through my childhood, adolescence and now “grownup” (as she referred to me some moment ago) phase.

Bang on! I got a hint that I am in trouble now. My eyes were frantically looking out for my mom, while my right hand was still held by Aunty as a gesture of a handshake that started right with a hello!

Of course Aunty!” I replied (not so confidently) because I thought telling her upfront that I don’t know who she is would sound too rude.

Awww, so sweeeet….” said Aunty pulling my cheek

Arrrghhh… who pulls a cheek of so called grown up girl??? More than that, I was worried that she might just pull out a layer of my makeup. Anyway, I thought, the worst was over. – Aunty was pleased with my response and will soon end the conversation and and proceed towards lunch. But I was wrong! Prompt came her next question and it felt no less than the bomb attack made on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Tell me, who am I?

OMG!!!! I really didn’t know who the lady was. All I could figure out was that she was some colleague of my mom, that too from very early years of her career. I didn’t know what to say. How I wished my mom would have not moved from my side! Since I was on my own, I made some feeble attempt.

Well, Aunty, I remember but I cannot recollect…” (What??? Did that sentence even make sense?? What was I saying???)

Aunty was having fun watching me get embarrassed and my husband couldn’t stop giggling. I had no option but to call out for my mom!

Thankfully, I saw my mom reappearing on stage and I heaved a sigh of relief. Then the formal introductions happened and finally the Aunty was satisfied that I finally really recollected who she is and she gladly proceeded for lunch though the truth was, I was still in haze to understand who that aunty really was. Thank God, other ladies from the group were not as enthusiastic as her to test my memory and just chose to be the spectators of my embarrassment rather than embarrassing me more!

I had gone pink in the face and warned my mom not move from my side until the reception is over.

What I learnt from that incident is that some guests can be difficult and tricky to handle. But being sweet to them doesn’t help. Instead, being honest can make it easier for you!

And, I would like to make one request to all of you. If you are going for a wedding of someone in distant relation or acquaintance, please, please introduce yourself to the bride and the groom. For God’s sake, do not quiz them about your identity, they have bigger things to think about!

COMPULSIVE LIAR I WAS….

*Note: I wanted to narrate an embarrassing and awkward situation where I was locked in a toilet as I goofed up between Push and Pull but since my friend Pradita penned such a hilarious incident around Toilet, I didn’t want to repeat myself, so here I go…

Before you jump your guns let me finish the title.  I “WAS” a compulsive liar as a child when it was about home work (that’s it). I loathed it.  I preferred scanning books and digesting the content rather than filling pages (I wasn’t an environmentalist either😂) except for mathematics, because that’s the only way to practice that practical subject.

In that wake my notebooks were always (more or less) incomplete. For example if an exercise had five questions I would submit the work with three.  Rest decoration scores. But I had a trump card up my sleeves that I played really well for years. I was an asthmatic patient as a child that kept me absent quite often from school. With such health issues it showed on my outwardly appearance, I was feeble, lean and thin. So whenever homework was demanded  and i knew it was incomplete, that used to be time for Lights, Camera, Action!  I woul act naive with a face drawn long saying ” Mam, I wasn’t well, couldn’t finish my homework, I am sorry” and would smoothly escape from their wrath as my teachers loved me immensely.  I am thankful for their love.

A lie is a lie nevertheless and this time I was in soup.

But curtains were drawn soon to my act. I was in seventh standard, it was English class, notebooks were on teacher’s table. Notebooks were coming back to students with remarks and signatures.  And it was then my turn.  Pages were being turned, so are the colours on my teachers face before it finally settled at red. And I knew that I was caught and game over.  There was a huge difference in handwriting. My mother finished my notes as I was really down with fever.  She only wanted to help me.  She used to do it for me whenever I was unable to attend classes but this time it was directly in notebook.  Bad decision or decision turned bad but purely bad luck.

My English teacher was furious this time and she didn’t finish yet as my science teacher along with my Hindi (Indian language) teacher entered the classroom and soon they knew the reason for their colleague’s flaring up tempers.  They had same set of complains to make. It was like 123 Jet Set Go! “Her notebooks are never complete, everytime she has same excuse.  Bring us your other notebooks” pat comes a booming sound and the bad day was getting worse.  Story was same.  I had just one notebook where as the second one was happily laying eggs at home that fateful day. I felt cornered with shame. It was so embarrassing that I wished either it was a dream or if I could travel back in time and finish my notebooks with my own handwriting.

Being a bright student and one of teachers’ favourite I never faced such a flak and that too in front of the whole class.  I couldn’t lift my eyes from ground but could feel another 39 pair (correction – 42 pairs) of eyes fixed on me.  And to make the matter worse my science teacher passed an ordinance ” you are not going anywhere till you finish your work”, she was stern fortunately to be softened little later.

I learnt that day that one shouldn’t overuse the “Sympathy Card” till it tears away leaving you embarrassed beyond words could explain.  But I am fortunate enough that my teachers don’t remember me for that incident.  They have fond memories of me.

LOOKING FOR THE LOO

I have a great relationship with my bathroom! I see it so often and spend so much time in it that it could very well double up as my bedroom. What isn’t there to like about a place that relieves you of that niggling pain, or helps you relax and cleanse yourself? Which is why I love putting up potted plants, paintings of more potted plants and magazines in my bathrooms. Makes sense to make it comfortable when you want to spend so much time there, no?

But as much as I like my bathroom, I hate my bladder because it has always been the source of embarrassment for me. As far back as secondary school, I’ve had ‘pee’ issues. I was always infamous for being the girl who went every period. At college, if us friends ever decided to go anywhere as a group, someone would inevitably joke, ‘Pradita, make sure you’ve done the necessary before we leave… and no water afterwards!’ What a shame!

Things didn’t improve for me when I got married. My MIL especially would always reproach me for how frequently I needed to go everywhere… and in a Sari too! I think if there is a Guinness record of visiting the most bathrooms in a city, I must be the record-holder because within the first three months of my marriage I had acquainted myself with the insides of each and every one of our family friends’ bathrooms, and the public loos at supermarkets and malls in our area. It got to the point that if an acquaintance wanted to find a toilet in a public place, they would ask me!

It was heaven to know that no one judged you for going when I was pregnant, seeing as how pregnant women have to go a lot. Surprisingly, it’s become better since the birth of my daughter, but even now the odd unfortunate incident does occur, and I still have to maintain my ritual of relieving myself before I venture out of the home… and no water afterwards.

So yes, I hate my bladder and what I hate even more is that it has not an iota of control over what it’s supposed to control and contain – pee! I’ve had misfortunes like missing the school bus, getting an earful from teachers and relatives over my urgency. I’ve lost out on friends and even a potential boyfriend because I got too irritable and screamed at them, all thanks to a bursting bladder. I made friends with Meftal Spas to counter the pain when I had a hold-it-in-thon.

But the most embarrassing moment for me was in Secondary School when I had moved to another city and so had to join a new school. I was new to everything in that city. It was my first day at school and I was, like how most newcomers are, lost. Needless to say, my bladder wasn’t happy with my nervous condition and it quickly starting pinging me evacuation messages. I excused myself from the class and went looking for the loo. The school was huge and old, which meant that I had to walk a lot from one wing of the school to the other as per the directions given by my bench-mate. I ran at the first sight of ‘Toilet’ written on a placard and nearly skidded to a stop when I saw urinals inside. Oops! It was the Boys Bathroom.

Now my bladder had already reached its limit and I was just barely holding on. So my inner-self screamed, ‘The Girls Bathroom is a whole storey up. No one’s here. Just go into one of the stalls!’ And I did. And the moment I did, a boy of about my own age appeared (we must have been ten). He came to a dead halt and so did I. And then he squeaked (obviously because he was embarrassed to see a girl in a boys bathroom. Maybe also because a girl saw him zipping up), “Didi, this is the Boys Bathroom”, and he snuck out of there.

I didn’t pay him any heed. The moment he left, I rushed to one of the covered stalls and relieved myself. Thankfully there was no one else in the bathroom to add to my shame. But when I finally reached the classroom, what do I see? The boy who I had an encounter with was, in fact, my own classmate. He looked at me and giggled, and I could almost see the rest of my future in that school flash before my eyes – being branded “Pee Queen” or smart mouths at school mocking me, “Hey Pradita, looking for the Loo?” Oh god, why couldn’t my bladder just let me be?!

That whole day I kept imagining the worst, that people were staring at me, that they were making jokes and that no one would ever be friends with me in that school. But nothing of the sort happened. Weeks went by and eventually, I got over that incident. I made friends, lots of them and though they all would joke about how frequently I  needed to go, no one ever mentioned that incident. However, I could never look that boy in the eye and never made friends with him throughout the two years that I spent at that school. Also, I double check now if I’m using the Girls Bathroom.

But just four years back that boy got in touch with me through Facebook and when I asked him if he remembered that incident, he said, “What? That really happened? I don’t remember that.” (No wonder I made friends and no one called me Pee Queen at the school) I thanked him profusely for never mentioning it to anyone. He didn’t seem to understand why I was making a big deal about it.

When I look at this incident now I realise just how funny life is sometimes. Such incidents, to some, they mean a lot; they could mean the end or the beginning of something; they could leave a mark on or even scar your memory. And yet to others who may even be connected to the same incident, such incidents could mean nothing at all. This only taught me that I should never take such silly episodes seriously in life because life is much more than that.

Our embarrassment over something is a state of mind. Like how public display of affection is okay with some, yet embarrassing to others. That day I may have been embarrassed by using the Boys Bathroom in an urgent situation. Today? Well, let’s just say my bladder doesn’t leave me an option.

Pradita Kapahi

Image Source: Zorro4 / 142 images

THAT AWKWARD MOMENT WHEN …

I am not sure why our brain remembers the most embarrassing moments so well, whenever someone asks me of mine, this particular one I am going to write about stands out.

One day after office, I had been for grocery shopping. Yeah, one of those days when I get to return back from office while the sun is still out there, it’s a rarity. Walking towards the breakfast cereal section, my eyes were rolling over tier after tier of various varieties of stacked up cereal, for my favourite Apple honey almond muesli. I think they were out of stock, so I picked up some other flavour. I was engrossed in reading the ingredients of the pack, when a hand landed on my shoulder accompanied by a greet, “Hey Aastha, long time, how have you been ?”.  Overlooking my shoulder, I turned around, before I could respond, she said, ” You haven’t changed a bit …”

In response I greeted her back, with out taking her name. Hell, my brain was very busy trying to connect the information stored in neurons, failing to reconstruct the memory of her, coming up with several other questions in the advent of her identity. 

My inner voice chipped in, “Aastha, you know her quite well. Please, please, please try.. I am sure you would recollect. Is she from school ?”

Me: “I don’t think so. I remember her with the exact same face I am seeing her now, which means I have met her most probably after my late teens ?”

Inner voice: “Sure, sounds very true. Some coaching centre ?”

Me: ” I don’t remember, but that sounds untrue”

Inner voice: Job interviews ?”

Me: “No way, I have attended only two interviews till now, one when I was in college, I haven’t made any new friends during the interview process. Second one, I went alone, met no one and all the interviewers were men”

My brain was confused between me and my inner voice. Meanwhile the girl was also talking. I was secretly wishing that she mentions some one or some experience so that my brain can create the pattern and connect the dots. I was smiling (such a fake smile which I am totally not used to), I was feeling quite uncomfortable to have not remembered her. She was taking my name again and again making me feel really bad. 

Inner voice: “Is she from your current work place ?”

Me: “No, that can’t be”

Inner voice: “Now, please you have almost ruled out all the possibilities, she remembers you and you don’t.. “

Me: “Really, is that it ? I have known her for a long time, it is definitely not that I met her once or twice”

She was wearing her ID card ( she must be returning from work too ), damn it, it’s flipped on the wrong side, I was praying while we were walking around that her ID card flips so that I can read her name. My stupid thoughts are making me all the more ashamed. First of all, I do not remember her name, then I want something to remind me of her ??? This continued for around 10 minutes. By this time, my guilt took over me, I didn’t want to waste any more time, but ask her.

I started with an apology,”I am really very sorry. I know we have met several times, I know you well too, but I am not able to recollect your name. Kindly can you please remind me ?” She smiled, then she started laughing. May be it was my facial expression. ” Hmmm… We started our career together and worked for the same company, we stayed at the same place too”. All the memories came back to me in no time. We talked for some more time, I apologised again before we departed. How didn’t I notice the company name written on her ID Card tag, that should have reminded me. I have not just forgotten her name, but how we were connected too.

It was the most embarrassing moment, I can never forget it as well, including the color of the dress she wore 😀

Once I realised that I am very bad with names and how embarrassing it can be,  I have made some modifications.

  • I sincerely tell them before hand if I cannot recollect who they are.
  • I pay attention to the conversation, when someone is being introduced.
  • I started storing contacts in my phone along with the relationship.

Forgetting names is not a serious illness or anything. Our brain has got better ways to store faces than names. Facial recognition is what many species including humans use to identify similar species as well as things. If someone says they have a pen, we can visualise it, but if they say it’s a Parker pen, our brain runs us through the different models Parker has in market. We are naturally not wired to remember names very well. Having said that, there are two types of people, who can remember names well and others who don’t. Undoubtedly, I belong to the second type. Some have a flashy memory, they never forget the name of the person they met even if that is only once. I wish I had one too !!!!

The ‘oops’ moments are very funny, yet they make us aware of something we haven’t known. What’s your oops moment ?