November 13, 2019

Karma and I: the story of our fickle relationship

Karma often looks like this in my head
Meet Karma! She often looks like this in my head. She may bear resemblance to Komolika from Kasauti Zindagi Ka. But this was purely incidental and unitentional

If Karma* is real, then I am God. 
Or at least, her left-hand neighbour. 

Once in a while, during Deepavali or Pongal, we exchange sweets. And I feel all-powerful to have consumed that 2 cm X 2 cm of kaju katli* God-ness (terrible pun, intended!) But then again, its effects wear off with all the Tums/Digenes/Pudin haras*/Deepavali legiyams* I am forced to take after all the hogging. 

Karma never favours me. She hoodwinks me, eludes me and hatches all kinds of adverbial getaway plots from me. Last I heard, the city of Mumbai is planning on creating a new escape room on this theme and hopes for big bucks.

This relationship with Karma began way back when I was a kid. I would get caught the one time I stole a sharpener from a friend's house while all my friends flicked things left right and centre without anyone even throwing them a sideways glance. After being made to stand in front of the 3681 idols in the house and "God-promising" never to do it again, I resigned to the fact that this was life moulding me to be good.

Throughout childhood all my crimes and misdemeanours got caught by the radars and somewhere Woody Allen must have been a happy man at all the free publicity I offered in the Indian region (of course with the Cigarette smoking is injurious to health warning!)

And so I grew up as an awkward straight-shooter who only attempts balloon shooting at fairs and the Marina beach. Also, to further underline what a seedhi-saadhi ladki* I was, I absolved myself of all sense of style and always chose to wear clothes that drove the attention away from me. 

I worked really hard at everything I did, from love (burnt my hands) to make a toast (burnt it) to my career (often prone to spontaneous combustion). And all along Karma decided to be a mean girl and go all "Oh-em-gee! SHE will never be in our gang!"

But as Anderson had us believe, many of the ugly ducklings do grow up into swans. And by some miraculous miscalculation of the aforementioned Karma, I turned out just fine in the looks and love department. Word is out that she still regrets that drunken lapse.

But time and again, to overcompensate for that misjudgement, she often drops awkward situations, complicated plot twists and impossible realities on my lap. These are often a career, scheduling, maid, career, travel, career, customer care, career-related issue. How do I know that this is her doing? She never forgets to add a menacing laugh track as the background music to these occurrences.

People call her many names, but there is also a whole clan who believes in her goodness. They often tut-tut and tell me she'll come around and shower me with everything I ever wanted. But we all know how high school bullies turned out!

Being the South Indian that I am, I continue to believe what Rajnikanth once said in his gorgeously thick Tamil accent - "the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer." 

And so, I have forever given up on Karma, blocking her from Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, WhatsApp... you get the drift! Even if she tries to reach out to me, landing on my doorstep, I am pretty sure my Google Home would warn me of her arrival and I don't have to exchange pretend pleasantries.

* Karma: fate
* kaju katli: A sweet made out of cashews
* Pudin haras: A tablet for digestion
* Deepavali legiyams: A homemade digestive paste often made around Deepavali
* seedhi-saadhi ladki: simple straightforward girl

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Maira Gall