Image courtesy of -Marcus- at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Most social norms make me uncomfortable, always have, but there are some that I simply loathe. Take for example, the occasional visits to an acquaintance's place for lunch or dinner.
I sit at the table awkwardly listening to my mom and our hostess gossiping. Finally, the food arrives, relieving me of some of my discomfort; it gives me something to do. The rice is delicious and I make it a point to say that, mostly to avoid any more "Priya, you never talk"s! Of course, I realize my mistake a moment too late as she beams at me, runs off and arrives seconds later carrying in her hands an entire pot full of rice.
"Take some more." She suggests, advancing towards my plate, a big ladle in hand. "Do you want daal? Curry? Pickle?"
"Oh no, I'm good." I mutter, "Thanks!"
"Don't be shy," she says, scooping out a huge spoonful of rice, which hovers in mid-air for a few seconds, right before my widened eyes.
"No, please, no more." I almost beg.
"Maybe you want curd." She suggests, oblivious to my pain, empties the rice into my plate and proceeds to douse it with dollop after dollop of curd. I stay frozen, as it dawns on me that I am going to have to eat that. Every nerve in my body pops. As if that were not enough, she adds teasingly, "Are you on a diet?" and chuckles. I want to pick up the plate and throw it at her. I can only imagine how satisfying it would look, her hair matted with rice and curd making its way down her face, while she giggles at her own "joke"...
I shake the mean thoughts out of my head and smile weakly. "Of course I'm not." I whisper and begin to stuff my mouth, slowly, with the rice that was once actually delicious.
I have been racking my brain all morning thinking of a word in English that fits the Marathi word "agraha", which basically means politely making people want to vomit and (often) deriving pleasure from it. I can't think of any, though, probably because they just don't have such an absurd custom. Wow. I would love to live in a society where I am allowed to eat just as much as I want, wouldn't you?