Monday, June 30, 2008

Autoricksha Confessions 5: Picking sides

Really intelligent people sometimes have trouble figuring out the silliest things.

Take the Drift Memsaab for example who happens to be one of the smartest people I know. Once I was driving somewhere and asked her to turn the temperature in the car down a notch. The Drift Memsaab stared for a long time at the dashboard with the blue down and red up arrow before giving up. I rolled my eyes and made the adjustment.

I'm not implying anything about my own intelligence here but I have similar problems. And one of them was an embarrassment that I've only recently gotten under control. And it was this: I had no idea how to execute a hello or goodbye hug with friends.

It wasn't that I had affection dyslexia. I simply couldn't figure out which way to hug. Did my head go left? Or did it go right? For some reason when it came to hug time, I simply couldn't remember. This resulted in all kinds of problems like bumped heads or unintentional head holds.

All of this came to a head (so to say) when we were over for dinner at a friend's place with some other folks. Using my copious winter outerwear as an excuse, I completely bypassed the hello hugs. But soon it was time to say goodbye. And the first person I had to do this to was our friends' wife - we'll call her Apple Pie Ann because she baked such a killer fresh cut apple pie for us that no pie has measured up since.

So Apple Pie Ann approaches me and I get that funny, confused feeling again. Left? Or right? I must have visibly bobbed and weaved like Muhammad Ali because I could see Apple Pie Ann making compensating weaves to try and line up the hug. And thus it was that we both synchronized our weaves perfectly and ended up in a honking lip lock in the middle of the room surrounded by all our friends. We froze for several seconds, making matters worse.

Everyone laughed. I think the Drift Memsaab clapped her hands. Someone might have said "Get a room!"

It was a long drive back but if I remember correctly the Drift Memsaab chuckled all the way home and kept saying "I can't believe you..."

So it was that people then avoided hugging me. I could almost hear their loved ones say "Avoid going anywhere near that Lothario, honey"

But I did have one super friend who understood my pain. Her name was Suzie - although the Drift in-laws being from UP and chaste Hindi-like and all used to call her Suji (like that thing you make upma out of). And Suzie would simply grab my head and tuck it in the right corner whenever it was time to hug.

I've never said this to Suze but I'll say it now: thanks!

Previous 3 wheeler rides: House pets, Boxing Day, Carefree Errands, Phone Fool



Anonymous said...

LOL OMG aspi you is so dorky! you should do blogs on your first date/kiss sometimes..haha i am sure they would be really funny...

and missus drift is like my mom, she is like that too. When we're driving somewhere, parents and the "kids".. i go "mom do you mind turning the music down", she would just sit there..
she expects dad to do it.. even if he's driving 100 miles an hour he has to do it. I just don't get it. Its just turning the knob but no my mom acts like a princess.

she plays the ignorant card whenever she doesn't wanna do something. It's so annoying. I can't wait for her to learn how to use the new vacumn cleaner, its been 2 years. "It looks like a rocket, i don't know how to use it"

Unknown said...

lol Megan!! even my mom is that way...and at times its sooo pathetic.!i can totally relate...
and Aspi, I am staying away from u...far far away...LMAO!

Sania said...

Not sure if I'm misunderstanding the Drift Memsaab's issue with the radiator dial, but I will say that I'd totally have issues with you saying turn the temperature down. I'm obviously insane, but I mix up left and right, and north and south, and east and west, so for you to say "turn the temperature down", I'd be like, wait do you want it to get warmer or cooler?

:: shrug :: We all have our quirks.

Unknown said...

Sania, whose friend are you?! Heh heh.

m, I could take you up on your suggestion but my worst date story sounds like something from the X-Files. No one would believe it - I barely do so myself. It was probably something hallucinatory that someone slipped into my drink.

*~mad munky~* said...

at least you try...when i was finishing up work in vancouver, it came to 'goodbye' time and there was a big hug-a-thon going on as i said my farewells... apart from one lady who saw me approach and said in a rather steely tone: i'm not a hugger :o|

must change my deodorant, maybe :o\

Kanan said...

Hahaha Aspi, ok not that funny but I did this with my (girl) cousin when we were kids (may be just turned teenagers). And it was like our faces bumped into each other and we were like aah sorry and just laughed. I think it'd be more hilarious if it happened now. Btw, I am guessing you can read Gujarati so check out here. Ashok Dave teaches you how to hug. ;)

Kanan said...

"It was a long drive back..." that was the funniest! I am glad you still remember things. :P

Anonymous said...

haha Aspi...can u do one on ur most embarrsing date??

Anonymous said...

heheh yeah aspi..pls do

and this is a family blog otherwise i would have also aske ..

err nevermind

Anonymous said...

This hugging business is very confusing, I am not the overtly loud , hugging person, this makes me look cold/snob sometimes. I mean a hand-shake at welcome or goodbye should be fair enough why do I have to invade someones personal space and get my space invaded just to appear warm person. Aspi, whenver I get stuck in such hugathons I let the other person take lead and choose a side and then it becomes pretty simple.

ppl said...

I totally relate Aspi.

Forget social hugging, as much as I love my mom and she loves me, a'hug' is still uncharted territory. Let's say she was more comfortable with the 'hair rumple' as a sign of affection.
When I moved to the US after high school, one of my biggest fears was the hello/goodbye hug and I have gotten lockets stuck in the hugger's blouse, headbutted them and even had moments of confusion where I found myself in headlocks.

All said and done, Texans love giving bear hugs, or at least the ones I know do. So I have just resigned myself to the situation and developed a 3 step strategy -
1) Loosen body, slightly open arms.
2) Wait for them to make the first move
3) If all else fails, high five them!

Next on my agenda, develop a technique for bypassing/getting through the cheek kiss 'muah muah'.

Anonymous said...

Start a new trend. Do the fist bumps instead :)

We have it very awkward in UP. You do not say namaste to relatives as "namaste" is formal and then daughters do not do "charan sparsh" as they are considered to be the image of goddesses. So we show up in UP and just start chatting with our uncles/aunts without any formal hi-hellos ::awkward::

Hence, I am a big fan of the hugs as I find it is a good informal way of greeting people and getting rid of some of the awkwardness.

Anonymous said...

I am not uncomfortable with hugs, in fact I promptly pull close friends into loooooong bear hugs, which usually end with some friends lifting me off the ground. Yay, dangling!

What I do hate though is *acquaintances* hugging me. If I don't even know your last name, do *not* get your grubby paws on me, door raho! Grrr >:-0

Unknown said...

leera, finally a kindred soul! Another technique which works so well - the sideways hug - very popular among Parsis so I have lots of practice.

The intention can be announced early because you approach the subject sideways with one arm extended. They might think you are a kook, but it works!

Joules, will you please be my unofficial protocol advisor when interacting with the in-laws? This whole gift-giving thang is another one that confuses me endlessly.

Unknown said...

m and AkD, I wouldn't mind doing it for entertainment, but I think the this would cross the boundaries established by the Drift Memsaab for the Drift itself. So no dice - but thanks for the offer to humiliate me further :)

Anonymous said...

aww come on, hugs are great!! Aspi, you just need to find a side and stick to it! no matter what the other person does, you stick to your side. Be stubborn about it!! jk! although, that could go horribly wrong if the person you're hugging has the same side as you! that happened to me in the past...ended up kissing my friend's bf on the cheek by accident...she handled it pretty well though...she's knows how stupidly stubborn both of us are!

Ever since then, it's all sideways hugs from me! just one arm and one side is all you's a half-assed hug but it's better than the guessing game!!

The weirdest is when you're in Indian...when you have to hug some relatives there and they dont know what's going on or what to do...I have one uncle who just while i'm tyring to hug, does this uncomfortable thing and just grabs my shoulders and pushes me i've decided, no more hugs for him!!

Anonymous said...

Lol.... When my sis got married, and her nri inlaws came down and used to go hug hug,kiss,kiss I used to feel so terribly embarrassed, and used to squirm and try and wriggle out.My sis very seriously told me one day that I should stop doing this cos it looked rude...and went on to tell me that its better I marry a guy who is from India:). I havent changed much since then,, and am like Girlie Girl's uncle I guess:). Well, I am glad I am in India:).
ps. I am not being moralistic and saying 'sacrilege'....its all fine as long as 'I' dont have to go hug-hug!

Anonymous said...

OMG Aspi n others, so cute .
ive got to perfect this sideways hug ;)

Anonymous said...

me with you Aspi...even i have a problem huggin!

when i finally have to say my goodbye hug i begin to feel soo awkward and clueless!and sometimes i do get a few Geet-type hugs while i'm still standing there pondering how to say a good goodbye:-)hehe

when it comes to huggin just for nibhaaofying's something that i'm soo not comfortable doing.and moreover,if it's someone i'm just not close to, then the hug can actually get suffocating!!

but when big uncles come and hug me who are soo huge and tall i feel like i'm gonna get crushed the next moment!!!LOL!!except for this one uncle of mine whose crushing hugs that i soo love!!:-)

Anonymous said...

that was my post

Unknown said...

Hey regarding the hugging, I'm glad to know I'm in good company here.