I have had enough awkward moments in life, most of which are amusing for others. And so many of them have I faced till date that they cease to surprise me. Rather, I would be surprised if such moments elude me. Or, may be I am plain ‘victimized’ by the deadly combination of right work and wrong timing. I am not sure if Murphy and I were some long lost twins in some eon of ancient times, but he makes sure that I am constantly reminded of his presence around me! And before I go about beating around the bush about my complicated plight, the curious case of a missing paper shall disclose how, what, why and when!
About a month back, I was to host an even here in our establishment. N and I assumed, this should be a cake walk as we had already emceed for events twice and this, bah! However, this time there were twists and turns!! So, here goes the curious case of a missing paper –
During our practice sessions for the event we were to conduct, N and I were approached by an overtly ‘courteous’ lady who vehemently pitched in with the ‘intent to help’ with the script for emcee. We were surprised as we had not asked for any help and second, we did not need it. Even as we tried evading her overtures on helping us, her persistent pestering left us no choice and ‘the help’ had decided to land in our lap and so be it. We had already made a rough draft which she ‘politely’ took for pointers and promised us that she would give us a better one. We believed her. The next day, she handed ‘her’ version to us, which was a hand written copy. After the practice, N and I took a look at her version and boy, it was exactly a cut copy paste of ours with just a couple of lines added in the middle (something she could have already suggested the day before). We felt bitter. But then, respect is the word for a senior lady in fauj. We tried returning it back to her but she simply refused to take it back. That said, the lady went on leave from the next day and she was practically out of reach for a month. Our practices continued. Her version was forgotten. Notwithstanding all the unexpected Pandora boxes that popped on our faces in the most inopportune times, our event was a success. And how I had thought, “Oh! Now, a breather!”. Murphy had smiled. I should have known, he was already at work!
A week after the event, all the participants were invited for an evening tea hosted to thank all of us for making the show a success. Groggy eyed after an extremely tiring stint as a teacher for a while in my son’s school, I had a tough time pulling myself together to reach the event. After the thank you session as I struggled to keep my eyes open with a cup of tea in hand, a familiar yet a cold voice ringed around me. I turned around to see a spectacled lady in a red saree. And out of the blue, she launched her attack, “Narayani, I want my copy back!” I suffered a ghajini moment for a while as I tried recalling the so familiar face that suddenly my head could not place. And the unfriendly tone of her question caught me off guard. My momentary amnesia had gone now as I recalled her. However, the second wave of amnesia hit me, as I suddenly tried remembering where those hand written copies were. My thoughts ran wild as I could not even place the day, when the copy was last with me.
“Oh! God! Where is that hand written copy?”
“Did I give it to someone?”
“Had I misplaced it somewhere?”
“I remember giving it to someone for a while as I was busy in practice. But then, who?”
“Or, did my son shred it away as he does to the many lose papers at home?”
“Or, did someone ask me about it and I absent mindedly handed it to someone in the middle of some conversation?”
I was not sure which of the above had happened. Even as I returned home and ranted about the lady’s incessant jibes, somewhere deep down I felt miserable for having lost someone’s work (even if that work did not belong to her). As N and I recapped the moments, we could not precisely point at anyone to whom we had handed it over although we were sure, the copy was not with us. I agreed to give the lady the complete script that I had, but flatly refused. The lady wanted to have her ‘hand written’ version and she added, “I want my version and my version only. And if you get my version, I would want yours too!”. Amidst all ransacking of cupboards and drawers and the unremitting phone calls from her, I cursed myself for having put myself in a predicament I could have avoided in the first place. But that did not refute my fault as somewhere, I had made a mistake of overlooking for whatsoever reason. After Murphy had had his share of laughter yoga looking at my plight, he intuitively guided me to the glove compartment of my car. Now, whenever I drive, glove compartment is the last place for me to keep any stuff there as it irks hubby a lot. But then, whether one of us put it there absent mindedly, is not clear. Glad that I had her copy, I gave her my script too.and somewhere, thanked God for restraining me from reaching my wit’s end! ‘All is well that ends well’ is what came to my mind instantly.
However, here are some lessons learned……
- Never ever take unsolicited help from any one. Especially, when help tries coming at a time, you do NOT need at all. Trust me, in such cases, it is evident that the intent to help is not clear.
- Never put yourself in a predicament where you can take nonsense. In such cases, avoid confrontation and move on. But make sure, there is no scope for a recurrence.
- Do not believe everything you are being told.
- Appreciation is good. But learn to differentiate between a genuine appreciation and an appreciation that comes like the carrot stick.
- And most importantly, Learn to say NO when you mean NO.
Not that I am bitter about how I was treated very rudely when things could have been handled pleasantly. But I was antagonized by the fact that assumptions lead to judgments.This lady had already launched an extreme tirade on me without understanding the fact that this could have happened with anyone. And in that moment of her heated harangue, I resisted myself from reminding her of the fact that she had copied my script word to word on paper just to claim my work as her own. However, I did not retort for two reasons:
- I do not like to berate a person for whatsoever reason.
- And, even as my work was plagiarized by her, somewhere she had put efforts in copying it down on paper notwithstanding the intent behind it.
Not that I care about being judged by her as I was not born to please every riddling character in the world. Sometimes, we want to be heard more and judged less.
And yes, the lesson I learnt today…..