The Sapient Ape

Life as an employed MBA grad during an economic recovery. DISCLAIMER: Everything written here is fiction.

The Sickly-Sweet Smell of Success

I was gonna put a picture of rotting flesh with maggots in it to go along with the theme of my title for this post, but the pics I found were too sick even for me, so here's a sunflower.  Use ur imagination.

I was gonna put a picture of rotting flesh with maggots in it to go along with the theme of my title for this post, but the pics I found were too sick even for me, so here's a sunflower. Use ur imagination.

The measure of success is a fickle baking powder.

Only 4 scant weeks ago, I blindly sucked dirt at the bottom of Depression Ocean, not able to go out to family and outer-family functions without feeling like the leper I see every day on the road to Baridhara.  Today I walked in the hero returned from a glorious victory against the infidel hordes.

So what brought about this change in Bangladeshi “high”-society’s perception of me?  I got a job.

And I hate it.  Not the job, that’s pretty awesome.  But when I see those smiles from moms, aunts and great aunts, their giggles as they discuss me, I want to puke.  Not ‘coz I begrudge them their happiness, but it bothers me that my societal success is measured more by what multinational corporation I help to deface the planet than any intention I may have of doing something with my own initiative that may be better in the long run for my psychological well-being.

‘Coz that’s the measure of a man in Bangladesh — can he bring home the bacon?  Does he have those family values (ie., money, risk-averseness, and settling for less than he’s happy with for the sake of “family”).  But then again I guess that’s the measure of a man anywhere.  Oh society, why did u curse me with a penis?  Luckily for me, the alternative’s much worse.  Oh god (he-who-I-may-not-believe-in) thank you for making me a man.

Don’t get me wrong — my job’s great.  I think its a perfect fit for me, and I think I’ll be good at it.  Most of all, I like the peoplez I’m workin’ with, from the top level down.

But when I look at those moms’ and aunts’ beaming smiles I can’t help but wonder whether I preferred it the other way around. Whether I preferred the whispered jabs and darting looks.  I’m more comfortable in the role of the pariah, the underdog, the unwanted one, the undead, than otherwise.  I’m better off hated, thought of as a failure.  For “success”, or more accurately, comfort — begets complacency.  And I’m way too young to let myself get complacent (see “World Domination Plans — TOP SECRET“).

Nowadays, I find myself leaving family dinners even quicker, using my little nephew’s crying as an excuse to leave as early as possible.  Its an excuse that I’ve seen my sister and bro-in-law use more than once, and I’m a quick learner.  Staying a minute longer than dinner cloys the mouth.

But I’ll play their little game.  Let them try and set me up with their supposed “matches”, now that I am a viable candidate for marriage.  And then I’ll love ’em and leave ’em.  OK, I’ll probably just reject ’em before I even meet ’em.

I do have standards, you know.  All these girls are way too smart and educated for me.  Give me the equivalent of a Bangladeshi “dumb blonde”.  With a nice body.  Hopefully she never got past high school (gimmee an OLP — O-level pash (pass), as my sis says).  I’ve seen too many young Bangladeshi couple’s marriages totaled in a messy affair-ridden divorce to want the same for myself.  My relationships are tumultuous enough (not that I’d trade that — its the spice of wife).

Society here is too boring, hypocritical, and small-minded, and Bengali women are too controlling with just a too much of a splash of insanity for most new marriages to last (yes, the men are to blame as well, probably to a greater degree, but being a man myself, I choose to blind myself to their faults for the purposes of this piece).  I would complain about your upper-class bourgeois members of high society not being able to commit to one person for longer than a few years, but I see just as many divorces among the middle class, so I’m forced to admit that its something deeper.  It’s actually quite amazing how many divorced couples I know of.  If we were conservative Arabs we wouldn’t have this problem.

But shit, like I said.  I like mah women like I like my crazies — crazy.

Was this whole piece just one big contradiction?   Yesno.

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Filed under: Personal, , , , , , , , , , ,

6 Responses

  1. Iffat says:

    you funny Dr. Jones! Misha, it really does make sense where you are coming from, the hypocrisy, tradition mixed with pretense progression and liberal mindness quite suffocating.

  2. shazia says:

    misha, u crack me up! but dont say no to blind dates just cuz u hate the fake smiles, you might actually meet some nice people, and if not, hey, fodder for your blog! i like the world domination plan. too many people in power take life too seriously. and yes, why are we soooo damn homogenous! we need to vacation some more! let’s go to goa!

    • Sapient Ape says:

      shaz — thanks for the support. it was great getting to know you and your fam, and i hope that this is the start of a great friendship. i’ll travel with u guys anywhere.

  3. Maher Hoque says:

    Hilarious post and so true too. I’m in the same boat with looking very eligible to all the aunties who constantly ask when I’m gonna get “M”-worded. And when I ask them, “dorkar ki?” – they never quite know how to respond.

  4. John Smith says:

    Just curious, if someone has a good job, what age do they start getting harassed for marriage prospects in Bengali society? They wouldn’t expect someone straight out of undergrad to commit right?

    And women get the offers regardless of if they have a job I’m guessing?

    • Sapient Ape says:

      straight out of undergrad? uhh yeah — lets say 22-25 is a normal age range for guys — girls are even younger lets say 20-23

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