Sometimes these days, I really feel very much out of place. Sometimes it pinches that I am no longer the child who falls congruently into perfect harmony with wherever he goes. As a child, I recollect, I always used to find something interesting to do even when I would go visiting with Dad, his friends' families who were complete strangers to me. Even then I was this reticent kid who would open up to other kids in these families only if they took the initiative majorly. Most of the times they did, and it wouldn’t be long before we'd mix so well that I started my once favourite activities of calling names, leg-pulling, and playing weird games that made so much sense then, with these two hour buddies. Even on the rare occasions such gel and get along wouldn’t take effect, there was always the advantage of a G-I-Joe or a Hotwheels toy car at the host's place with which I could gladly pass my evenings. If I had my way, I would never go to get-togethers or parties with people I am not truly close and friendly with, but with relatives sometimes I am forced to take exceptions. Yesterday, I went to this cousin sister's son's birthday party and knew almost no one there apart from this sister herself, her husband and son, and a couple of cousins I went with. As a child I used to play a lot with these cousins, until they grew into adults even as I remained a child. Then most of them got married when I was still going to school, and somehow I always fell short of things I could talk about with them. So yesterday, I spent about two-three hours fiddling with my cellphone, untying my shoe laces and tying them again, drinking dozens of glasses of water, and coochie-cooing small little kids I hardly knew. Of these the most difficult was the coochie-cooing thing as I lack the inherent warmth required to see all kids as cute toys, and more importantly, my inability to fake it. I was thinking all this on my way back home when it occurred to me it isn't just these parties I am an outsider to.
I feel a little out of place in the company of rich girls with a post-modern outlook on things. I feel a little out of place going on outings with friends who are considerably more affluent than I. I even feel out of place in regular hostel inmate gatherings in which the guys smoke and drink and smile wickedly at my unmanliness in not joining them. On the other hand, I feel out of place when they drop their so called retrosexual manliness and dive into never ending sessions of mushy SMS typing and mobile phone whispering.
The height is when my long time best friend doesn't quite let me be all easy in his company either. Sometime in 2004, I remember I was nudging him that we should try a cigarette to see what it's like when he got all senti and asked me to vow not to get into it, or else dosti toot jayegi, main teri mummy ko phone kar ke bata dunga etc etc. At that point, I thought he was being childish. Now, on the once-a-month meet-up we usually have, all he has to tell me about is how he got high on such and such thing and rammed the hell out of so and so guy, or went about dancing madly at so and so party impressing so and so hot chick in the process. How unlike our yesteryears when we talked about good literature, beautiful girls or upcoming plans, shared classic humour, played cricket or went about riding on the roads.
If only God grants that in-place life, who the hell wants to kill time scanning orkut profiles of scores of people one doesn’t even know, but just because they either look beautiful, or share the same viewpoints as his, supposedly.