Monday, August 27, 2007

Social ineptitude

I went home last weekend. It was one of my bi-monthly trips in my role as 'the caretaker'. I go to a home which is empty (of people, not stuff) and get the local help to clean up the place. I also take out the family car, like an animal that had been leashed for the past two months, and give it a run around so that it doesn't get... rusted? Whatever. I thought these trips would be good for me. More time for myself, and also to keep in touch with the extended family. But somehow, I don't seem to identify much with there, at least, not as much as I want to.
The usual modus operandi in these visits is I check out the house, and I do some bank related activities. Post these, I also meet the relatives. Its usually perfunctory meet and greet sessions timed (by me) to last 15-30 minutes before departing with some vague apology about having to clean the house or meet other people. Its not that I don't care about them, but its that I am usually at a loss for words in such social circumstances. My main failing I think in my ambition to be a smooth talking, wise cracking, all knowing sort of guy is that I don't talk much. I think I am better on the all knowing part. Anyway,I think the main failing on my part is my inability to associate with the regular banter of such meetings. This has to do with the following general concept I think is valid in such scenarios. The key ingredient to maintaining good ties in the family circle is knowing what each relative is doing. But this is where I come across as a dud. I just don't remember where my father's brother's wife's third cousin is these days or which uncle's second son got married or any of that stuff. So, mostly, whenever my loquacious relatives try to stir me into conversation by mentioning these people who I cant for the life of me remember... I smile and nod vigorously hoping that was the intended acknowledgment. It usually back fires, coz then they clam up and give knowing looks to each other like I did something cardinally wrong. Gosh, its hard! I never know when I might have accidentally done something which is not part of the social etiquette, and I keep worrying about it. My inability to shine in such social circumstances usually compounds my despair about my rather Neanderthal-like social skills with the rest of the world. "I Anand, I like this only... u like? No? Ok. Boink!".

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