Friday, July 3, 2015

The secret to any successful relationship!

I goof up a lot. Big and small, I make them all. Enough to know not to judge anyone harshly. And I do own up to my mistakes…eventually! My goof ups can be broadly categorized in to two kinds – one is the common, run-of-the-mill, meenasankaran variety while the other is the spooky, unnatural kind. I own up to the first one and blame the second on the powers above.

Take last night, for example. I was caught once again in the middle of a Physics Jeopardy camouflaged as a family discussion. The relativity of time and space was the hot topic of the night as we had just come back from watching the movie Terminator 5. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s creepy full-toothed smile at the end of the movie was too funny but did anyone want to talk about it? No! It was all “Time is not constant,” “Traveling near the speed of light can warp time and space,” and some such nonsense. It was a trying time for me as usual. Pretending to be intelligent for a whole half hour is no easy task and honestly, I was getting tired of it. I decided that I was going to have my share of the conversation and racked my brains looking for an interesting scientific topic. 

Hah! Yes, I got it. Excited, I stood up and blurted, “I know what plants require to stay alive”. There was a general look of confusion in the room. Happy to have everyone’s attention at last, I declared with a beaming smile that all plants needed sunlight, water and chloroform to survive. When roaring laughter erupted around me, it was my turn to look confused. It was when my daughter asked me ‘Are you planning to kidnap a plant Amma?’ that I realized that I had mixed up chlorophyll and chloroform.  Oops! Still, I thought it was an overkill trying to literally roll on the floor like that. Anyway, after a bit of well-deserved sulking, I had to admit that I had goofed up once again. 

Now, coming to the other kind, I react very strangely to the news of an impending birth of a baby in a family. Naturally, I am happy for the parents-to-be and wish them both tons of fun changing diapers in the wee hours of the night. After putting the goodwill aside though, the news of a pregnancy causes very abnormal gastrointestinal problems for me. 

For example, say you are pregnant and you share the happy news with me. After hurriedly offering you the customary congratulations and wishes, I’ll rush home and immediately start my regime of medications. When you start your pre-natal vitamins, I will break open a bottle of Tums. When you pop a folic acid supplement, I will pop a calcium one. Why? Because at the end of your first trimester, I generally have full blown heartburn; at the end of your second trimester, my heartburn will move up the ladder to acid reflux and when you are ready to push that baby out on that hospital table, I will almost positively graduate to an Ulcer. I have concluded this to be the result of acute stress – the pressure of making it to see a baby within a few days of its birth. 

You see, historically speaking, I have never been known to visit a baby in its baby state. Usually the baby grows up and walks on its two legs and comes over to meet me. This is not for lack of trying on my part, I will have you know. I go to the store well ahead of the birth and buy cute little baby gifts and have them ready in gift bags.  Then I wait for the call. After I had successfully chewed off all my nails, the call usually comes announcing the baby’s birth. This is the make-it or break-it moment. The moment that could change my soiled record. But then, it all begins.

My car falls apart; a ligament around my knee tears like a soggy papad; my shoulder hangs out of the socket; I start talking funny delirious with fever; an allergy specialist declares that I am allergic to the world around me and orders me to live in a sterile bubble. After I win the war with all these elements one by one and at last pick up those gift bags in exhaustion, my dogs start throwing up. Just about this time, I tend to give up and halt all attempts to try and go see the baby. There is a greater power at work here and who am I to question it? Now the wait begins for the baby to grow up and pay me a visit. When they do come around to finally seeing me, I make it a point to pull out their pending gifts and show them the little baby boots, the plush blanket and the tiny little newborn dress that I had bought for them. Children are much more forgiving than the parents, I tell you. 

Luckily I have borrowed an ingenious method from a cousin of mine that very effectively deflates the anger of those annoyed parents. For that matter, this works like a charm on anyone.  Every time I see a hostile person, I offer them a profuse apology. I am never stingy with my apologies, you see. I simply walk up to them with a sheepish smile and say ‘I am soooooo sorry’. Just like that. Sometimes they are confused because at that point in time, I had not committed my mistakes yet. In confusion, when they ask for a reason, I tell them ‘Just put it in my account and keep track of it.  I am sure you will need it at some point.’ 

I believe strongly that this is the solution for all relationship problems.  All one has to do is walk around saying sorry randomly and remind folks to put it in their account. They can pull one up and use it the next time you goof up. In my humble opinion, one can never apologize too much. We never know when we will need them, do we?

On that note, I want to say how very sorry I am.  If I haven't offended you already, I do hope that you will credit this to my account for future use to be used against any mistake I have yet to make.  Because I do believe that a willingness to bow and concede to the opponent is the key to any and all successful relationships! 

Here is another one (just in case) to cement our relationship!  Very SORRY! I am feeling very relieved now.  I think I have enough apologies lying around in my account to cover a couple of hundred mistakes.  Whew!