The other day someone asked me why I insist on calling myself weird although I seem to be a perfectly normal person. The question was posed in such a way as to imply that I was trying to latch on to the 'weirdness' bandwagon because it has suddenly become more fashionable (has it?). Its true, for a very long time I didn't think that I was strange, because I didn't know that there was an alternate, 'normal' way to be. Even when I did find out, I was too thoroughly offended by the concept of normal to really aspire to it, or try to change myself to 'fit in'. I mean, norms are the most stifling, boring things ever created, and to have to BE them, day in and day out, isn't a fate that I could ever desire for myself or for anyone else. But then I never considered myself weird, or strange, just different. But you see, life has brought along with it a greater degree of self awareness and introspective ability, so I've realised that the word 'different' is inadequate; it is in fact 'weird' that encapsulates me. And no, its not because its more 'in', most of the time, being this way is a pain, a royal embarrassment. I'll prove it.
Till the age of seven, I was thoroughly convinced that Amitabh Bachchan's real name was Amita Bachchan, and that he was Hema Malini's sister. This strong conviction persisted in spite of my knowledge of the fact that boys could only be brothers, and girls could only be sisters.
When I was four years old, I was integrated into the educational system which has, since then, been my only occupation. At the end of that year, we got our first report cards. I, of course, had to be dramatic. So, on reaching home, I ran to the backyard, screaming,"MA! I CAME FIRST IN CLASS!" My mum, of course, was thrilled, because she was still naive enough to believe that this was a possibility. So she asked me if I had been the first one in class to be handed my report card. Puzzled, I said no, of course not. Now, she was confused. She asked me why I'd told her that I'd come first in class. I said,"Because that's what they do in the movies on Doordarshan, every Saturday". I found it quite incredulous that she should ask.
I've slept through earthquakes, Shillong being a seismically active area and all. I've even kicked my sister when she tried to pull me out of bed at midnight during an earthquake, and promptly rolled back to sleep. But, I suspect that a lot of people have done that. Wait, impatient ones, let me get to the real story. When I was in the VIIIth standard, my mum underwent an appendectomy. But a couple of months later, on the night before Holi, to be precise, some problems occurred. Of course, the next day being a holiday, I had blissfully gone off to bed. The next morning, my dad woke me up at six am, with the non-negotiable "I've already made you tea" For the uninformed, I love my tea, and my father was a gastronomical genius. So, grumbling, I woke up, washed up and sauntered into my parents' bedroom. There I saw that someone was still asleep. So I very loudly remarked, "SO! This is how it is, is it? You wake me up needlessly, and then go back to bed yourself?" Then I went to the balcony where I saw my dad and my sisters, all looking very serious. It then occurred to me that it was my mum who was in bed. I asked my sister, "How come Ma is the only one who gets to sleep late?" To this she answered,"Do you not recall anything? Last night the doctor came home around 3 am, all our relatives were here too". Still puzzled, I asked,"Did they come to start playing Holi before the rest of the world?"
As a four year old, I watched 'Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak' eleven times. In a row.
My idea of fun was to tell my innocent little sister that she could find permission to go to the terrace by going through the contents of my mum's handbag, because permission was a red slip of paper.
When I was sixteen, I had to undergo an extended ordeal in the form of about eight sessions with the dentist, spread over some ten days. The pain was unbelievable, but of course I couldn't let myself cry (I was sixteen, I had some pride, y'know). So, I sang. Loudly. You can imagine the quality of the music when its accompanied by drilling. After undergoing an extraction, I walked over to the doctor's cabinet where there were a dozen odd little bottles. One of them was labelled 'Ammonia Aromatic'. I took one sniff and almost passed out, it smelled so bad. For the next twenty minutes, I lectured the dentist on how a sense of humour was a good thing, but his was all messed up, if he considered that 'aromatic'.
Once I was coming back to Delhi after spending winter at home. I was travelling alone, and this man, who had the berth opposite to mine in the train, had to be a lech. Obviously. He was not even one of the regular variety. He was one of those profound lechers, whose eyes glaze over after a while, and who cannot be shamed into looking away if you look straight back at them. I'd been reading for a couple of hours (I think it was the Collected Works of Oscar Wilde, so I was still in a relatively better mood). Then it really got to me, I couldn't bear it anymore. So, in my sweetest voice, I offered him my book. He was flabbergasted. I think he responded with a "Gunhhh?!!?" I then explained to him about how I'd noticed him looking at my book for the last three hours, and if he really wanted to read it so much, all he needed to do was ask. Then I escaped to the bathroom and laughed my head off.
I have a belly laugh. It has scared people. Many people. It doesn't really need a reason to erupt. And, at some point of time or the other, I've laughed at everyone. Everyone.
Ok, now i'm hungry, I need lunch. So that is it for now. The Weird Chronicles may continue, or may not. Depends on whether I continue to be in this light brown mood for very long. Till then, do not presume to doubt my weird credentials. You may just be punished with a belly laugh.