Wednesday, October 24, 2007


More than one person upon meeting me---after reading my writing and/or blog---proclaims, "Oh you're much quieter and calmer than I thought you would be."

I never know how to respond. Usually I squirm inside and feel apologetic and then come up with something inane like, "Yeah, everyone says that." Or the even more inane and pati-parmeshwar response, "Oh my husband is the outgoing, talkative one." Or the more studied and *somewhat* true response: I usually get quieter the more outgoing the othe person is. And if someone else is quiet I feel an urge to be more talkative and chatter away."

So I am clearly this strangely desperate balance-seeker of some kind or a pativrata stree as befits a nice Indian woman. What the fuck! And then I kick myself. Over and over again.

I am quiet. I am talkative. Depending on who you talk you'll get one truth.

I was the quiet child who skulked around in corners and spent hours during the summer staring at the too-bright blue sky imagining strange worlds.

I was the talkative child who would not shut up and was known as a chatterbox.

Then I became the almost too-quiet child. But still the chatterbox would emerge. In some ways I feel like I kept the loud, talker buried within. Some people saw that side of me. A few people.

But on the whole I am the kind of person who likes spending time by myself. I don't mind not talking. As long as I have a book or the Internet I'm good.

But....I only think I am quiet when someone brings this up. I don't think of myself as the silent type really. I can speak in public without dissolving into a puddle. I can make presentations and I get the usual nervousness but nothing drastic. Heck! I taught public speaking as a TA for some years. I can talk. I even like to talk. To discuss. To break ideas apart and bring them together. I like puns and jokes and when I am in my element I can make people laugh.

So, while I come up with those same, predicatable responses, apologetic for not being a phuljari, patakha kind of gal (Oh! how I wish I was, sometimes) I wonder if I am indeed quiet. Or am I putting on a show? Unconsciously...but a show nevertheless.

After this very long post I add another question: Am I a narcissist? A quiet narcissist?


Alien in Pakistan said...

I definitely am guilty of finding you calm, but not quiet. But it's hard to talk to people with whom you feel you can't communicate for whatever reason. I think it's very peaceful to be with calm, thoughtful people who think before they talk because what comes out of their mouths is usually much more sensible and interesting than those patakhas who suffer from verbal diarrhea.

Jawahara Saidullah said...

Hey! Now I feel like a sadhu type person. Just kidding! I've often wondered if I should go into the mystical saint business though. :-)

temporal said...

did i find you quiet?