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Another Coffee, Another Thought

By Subrahmanian Namboodiri

Another coffee without the essential cigarette but, I think it’s a good thing since I do plan to quit. And going by the state of my lungs, it isn’t too soon. Anyway, I am not writing this to rant about how I miss cigarettes with my coffee. This article is more about the thoughts and train of thoughts that could run through your mind when you are enjoying either one of those. And today, as I sip on my iced latte, I remember a very peculiar behavior that presented itself to me the other day. I was buried in the various layers of my lunch when a colleague at work said something about how he found the Titanic repugnant. I am not sure what triggered it; me thinks it was after a promotion about the 3D version that aired in the cafeteria.

So I said that it wasn’t that bad but it isn’t something I’d watch either. He added that the music by Celine Dion was another piece of absolute trash that would appeal only to a lesser being. I was far too distracted by the club sandwich that was on my plate and did not pursue the matter.

Now, this is a guy that is happily dating a girl, who he also loves, which is something to remember.

The setting changes and it is now another day, and the both of us along with a female colleague are enjoying a morning tea, or, in my case; coffee. The Titanic’s background score begins playing on the television set in the café and to my utter amazement, our buddy begins raving about the finer points of the movie when asked if he would watch the new version. To this eager-eyed girl, he continues to say that he loves the way Leonardo Dicaprio sliding off the plank to his death in the dark abyss was shot. It was romantic and so very ‘poetic’ apparently. And that is not all; he was surprised by my exclamatory expression and the subsequent remark, about our earlier conversation, and he brushed it aside claiming it never happened. I was genuinely perplexed.

I queried about this, rather servile change on a different, unrelated occasion. His nonchalant reply was something about appealing to the emotionally weak side of women like ‘that’, as I understood it. The definition of ‘that’ I will leave for another time. For now, we shall look at this extraordinary reversal. That he was lying to the poor sap was apparent, but the reason does not readily reveal itself. He wasn’t hitting on her since he himself has talked about how satisfied he is with his current partner, so what could possibly explain this bizarre behaviour?  A twisted form of sycophancy perhaps, could it be?

Now, this guy, is, what you could call an ‘office jock’. Popularity points to him as an example and he is, to my knowledge, a genuinely nice guy. I, I admit, am far from the popular kind and love to be by myself and maybe with a friend or two. I don’t suck at socializing but I rarely ever want to. I also am what most would call ‘obnoxious’ though I myself, would disagree. So my point is; I don’t get it. I don’t. And I am not an outraged feminist batting for the persecution of this ‘lying rascal’. I am just curious. And, another thing; do you always have to please women. Can you not be honest while still maintaining whatever relationship it is? Do they have to be praised and complemented in their beliefs and thoughts for you to have credence? I think any relationship that requires ass kissing for survival is bound for a violent (hopefully) demise.  You aren’t going to be able to keep that up for long. There will be an end to it and when it comes crashing down, you’re the one to blame. You should have started with honesty. Best policy I tell you, I know that from experience.

It is however, human nature, to conform. To abide and to please the one opposite, male or female, or the majority, is a demand by society itself. To gain acceptance, you have to be a suck up! You say something against norms or something against what a society calls sacred, you will be ostracized and called a deviant. Another Rushdie you will be. You may be right, you maybe thinking out loud, but it doesn’t matter. Literature that is nothing short of brilliant has been shunned in the favor of a few religious brigands, who probably haven’t even read the book. Artists, good, mediocre, and even the great ones, have all had to face this ridiculous brand of opinion. I am no connoisseur so I can rarely ever tell one painting from another, but I know that every citizen has every right to express as the other. The intention is often not to hurt, but to bring to light, and yet, you will be given a kick up your backside and told to piss the hell off. I won’t bother with the list, I’m sure any one of you can Google it, but genuine artists/activists/authors that have raised genuine issues have paid the price. But this is a serious situation, and if one goes by an article written by a certain someone, this social evil has been inherited by our generation too.

This kind of conformation cannot be condoned, and it disheartens me when I see a peer talk of it as a joke. This is serious, the idea is to adapt and evolve, not regress into the Stone Age.

Tangents, the places they take me. I should be a philosopher don’t you think. Anyway, it was just a passing thought. You should think about it too. And you should smoke too. Those rising plumes of smoke are such a pleasure, sigh. These torturous days just get worse. How I yearn for the kiss of the paper bound cotton that leads my poison.


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