For me, familiarity, rather than breeding contempt, sometimes becomes more of an embarrassment. Living in a small city like Muscat for a decade and more means that you know people, no, make that know many people also because you’re a journalist… But sometimes, I just want to be lost in the crowd, because people, my face pains because I’ve to smile often. Sorry that is a poor joke!
Well, here are the many times, I wished the earth would open up and swallow me whole, or I’d wish I was Harry Potter and could apparate out of sight!
# Scene: A weekend lunch at a nearby vegetarian restaurant. See acquaintance and say ‘Hi!’ and then I hear the man whispering to his wife and son… ‘You know that’s Rekha Baala, she used to write that Dining Out column in the Times of Oman!’ Well, please don’t get ideas. It’s not about being famous. You don’t get the drift? Rekha Baala = Dining Out = Seen at all restaurants= Fat !
# Same restaurant. I take three of my colleagues there one afternoon because they want a change. Only purpose is to show them the place. Meet an acquaintance of the husband. Say a forced hi. After two months, go to said restaurant with family. Same acquaintance asks with a smirk, “I don’t see you here during the afternoons!” Look on husband’s face? Priceless. If I could echo his thoughts, it’d be on the lines of, “What does she do with the dabbas she takes to office every day?”
# June 2008, Little India, Singapore on what is supposed to be a relaxing holiday. We come out of Murugan Idly Shop and bump into well, you guessed right, people from Muscat! Gawd!!! Can this get any worse?
# 2007. There’s this guy in the gym with whom I exchange pleasantries while on the treadmill. Cut to six months later, I go to one of the corporate houses for an interview. And guess who I see? Yeah, the guy at the gym is divisional manager there, who says, “Oh! I know Rekha well!” Well, well, well.
# Went for the ‘Beat Diabetes’ walk recently. Apart from colleagues, it was like I was attending a grand reunion – of all friends and acquaintances in Muscat. Thankfully, it was only a 2 km walk, so conversations ended exactly at the finish point.
I could go on and on… or migrate to another country…
Or go in for a total makeover… What say?