“My mother is a jewelry designer,” I said.
Fr. Jose Philip, Principal of St. Xavier’s School, Jaipur, stared at me, pleasantly surprised by a six-year old pronouncing two long English words so confidently. That was the highlight of the first interview of my life that led to my admission in school.
Over the years, I always enjoyed answering the question, “What does your dad do?”, I got upset when the question wasn’t followed by “And your mom?”
I wanted to recreate Father Philip’s expression on every person’s face who asked me the latter. I did manage to do that – but for a different reason. More than my mother’s profession or my ability to pronounce those two words, people got intrigued by how different my parents’ professions are from each other.
My dad, a doctor, was born in Ajmer and brought up in Jaipur. A deeply reserved person, he devoted his entire youth to academics. My mom, on the contrary, grew up in Mumbai. Never fond of studies, she spent her school life sketching everything from Arabian nightwear to a portrait of Madhubala. She loved to mingle with like-minded people.
Mr. Chalk and Mrs. Cheese grew up to marry each other. And to make matters more interesting, or confusing, theirs was a love marriage. Opposites attract, they say. What followed was something unique – me. Of all the lives my dad has ushered in over the decades, I might be the most conflicted of them all. Similarly, I am also the most complicated of my mom’s designs.
Though I’m an introvert at heart, I seem an extrovert to most. I confined myself to the cocoon of academics till the eighth grade. In the ninth standard, I made a decision, out of the blue, to transform into an extrovert. I started blurting out every thought that crossed my mind irrespective of how relevant or politically incorrect it was. I pushed myself to participate in every school activity, even though it meant making a fool of myself. That approach gave me tremendous confidence and I turned into a “socializer”, as my friends describe me today. I acquired people’s skills and could approach new people and organize grand events now.
However, over the next couple of years, I realized that I hadn’t got rid of my introverted side completely. I was still the same shy, reserved guy to my extended family. In their eyes, they still had an image of the “old me”. I didn’t work to disprove their perception as I grew comfortable with my dual personality myself. Ambivert and proud!
This dual personality isn’t limited to the introvert vs. extrovert debate but also extends to my preferences. When it comes to creativity, I am as indulgent as my mother. But, like my father, I am also inclined towards logic. That’s why I love writing – lending words to everything perceived as inextricable. A believer in poetic justice, I also enjoy the idea of reading between the lines equally. Perhaps, that is why my blog encompasses a diverse range of subjects like movies, science, parenting, travel and environment. I inherited my father’s love of biology but also my mother’s aversion to maths – the reason why I couldn’t opt for science-maths in 11th standard. My writing, unlike my father’s, doesn’t look like an ECG graph but I can’t get myself to sketch as artistically as my mother either.
As much as I enjoy exploring a happening city like Mumbai, I derive the same degree of pleasure in the idea of spending a weekend in the cozy confines of my home in Jaipur. Long vacations fail to fascinate me the way they do my mom but I am not particularly fond of being a couch potato like my father. I relish the idea of going out daily but only if it is followed by coming back home the same night.
So a part of me is sure that these conflicts are a part of my DNA. But another part argues that my brother doesn’t have the same traits. He doesn’t take after either of my parents. He embodies a wide variety of acquired traits. Perhaps, I’ve taken after him?
Yet another conflict to live with!
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