It (no longer) bothers me

Yesterday, I found myself talking to Mr. Dubey who looked like a wise man in his early forties. At least before he mentioned this particular incident. He earns his bread and butter through the shop that he owns in the south east of Delhi. He told me that a person came to his shop and after he made the order, Mr. Dubey asked, “May I say something if you don’t mind?” He couldn’t have said no. So, he went for the customary, “Yeah, sure. Feel free to say what you think.” “You’ve got a big bulging tummy. Don’t you work out or something?” asked Mr. Dubey. I wonder what that poor man’s reaction to this unapproved yet approved consent to breach his privacy must have been. This fact never fails to amuse me how people have taken the article 19 of our constitution, the right to speak a bit too seriously.

2There’s this other incident that pops up in my mind. I recall taking a stroll in the park with my father and we bumped into a family that he knew. Papa introduced me to them. I was being this perfect child folding hands, saying namaste and faking a Buddha like smile. Then the aunty said, “Aren’t you a little too short?” Being just 5 feet I couldn’t have said much. Although I wanted to give her a crisp reply throwing my ethics in the bin and say, ‘No, no aunty. I left a couple of inches at home.’ I mean, seriously! You can’t expect a person that you’re talking to for the first time to ask this question.

But somehow, everyone feels entitled to comment on other people’s looks, lives and choices. And that’s when you begin to lay down boundaries in your mind as till what extent would you let what other people say bother you. After a couple more incidents quite like this, I got it pretty clear in my head that people will say shitty stuff no matter what. You just got to stop listening and stop letting it bother you.

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