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.