My whole life I’ve been a fraud. I’m not exaggerating. Pretty much all I’ve ever done all the time is try to create a certain impression of me in other people. Mostly to be liked or admired. It’s a little more complicated than that, maybe. But when you come right down to it it’s to be liked, loved. Admired, approved of, applauded, whatever. You get the idea.

No, that is not me, but I have just quoted David Foster Wallace in his short story Good Old Neon. It is a story that is a particular favourite of mine for its brutal honesty, on the assumption that the story could well be autobigraphical, as most of his stories lead one to believe.

Why am I suddenly writing about this and digging up this old quote which I have not used in years?

There lies a tale.

Since the past few days, I have been going to the park earlier than usual so that I get sufficient time to take my walks before friends come and wish to chat. I have also been staying there later than usual as one particular friend comes a bit late and he wants to chat till it gets too cold for me to sit around without my warm clothes.

During these long sojourns there, I have been introduced to a recent addition to our neighbourhood who has been trying his best to impress the older residents with his condescending attitudes about what a sacrifice he has made by staying in India while his two children in the USA want him to stay with them there. He is one of those irritating specimens who cannot find anything right about India and perhaps would be happy only in Mars. I doubt that he will be happy anywhere else in the world either.

Now, complaining about India in general and Pune in particular, is waving a red cape to an old bull like me. I had been politely keeping away from his soliloquies the past few days but I had had enough the evening before last and decided to wade into a discussion with him.

He had no chance. It was a no match. I was way above his weight.

All I had to do was to re-introduce to him people who he had already met but with additional information about what their children do and where they reside. All of them had children overseas, all of them travel regularly to visit their children and grand children and they simply did not want to talk about their reasons for not living abroad.

He was not in the park last evening.

26 thoughts on “Fraud.”

  1. Ok… I thought that you wrote about you being a fraud… I wont have been able to digest that

    Why do you take case of poor fellows? I remembered the guy who was your condescending friend of adolescence. He tried meeting you and you took his case…

    Dont you think that there are reasons to complain about India? I am not with your park fellow here, but in general…

    Lastly, I thought that you are going to write about some “she” there is a heroine in the story but I was wrong 😀

    1. Sure, I have a lot to complain about our glorious mother land. But I am not condescending about it with other Indians somehow pretending to be a superior being with children in the USA.

  2. It is quite possible that the guy bores people to tears in the USA about all the things he misses about India and how he hates a lot of the things he sees there ! Good Riddance ! You might have sent him to the Phantom Zone !

  3. He sounds like a perpetual complainer. I’m sure if he lived in the USA he would be equally critical of all the awful aspects of living in the States. While he of course is a paragon of virtue.
    nick recently posted..Forever hurt

  4. I felt some pain reading this, Ramana. Mainly because one of the characters in my new play is somewhat like the blowhard. I find blowhards hide so much pain and this is what my character is doing and I sensed this in what you wrote.
    Of course cracking the shell is extraordinarily difficult and it may be that the real wounded soul inside will never climb out or will wish to.
    and sometimes it is so hard to just be kind.
    wisewebwoman recently posted..Contrary

    1. I know exactly what you mean WWW and I can even sympathise with the fraud’s internal turmoil. All returning parents of overseas Indians tell us the stories of how difficult life really is there, particularly in the USA where one has to drive everywhere and does not get to meet anyone for miles together while being stuck at home being either care givers to kids or cooks or whatever except for the week ends when there is some life. This guy could have been like that and would have had our sympathies, but decided to pretend that he was a superior being for having his children in the USA. And that is why it is so hard to be kind.

  5. Sounds to me like he was trying to brag up his kids until he found that others’ kids were in the same position. Honestly, after living in China, I totally understand why someone would choose to stay home instead of moving near their kids. Even if my kids lived in China, I would still want to be back home with my own culture.
    Delirious recently posted..DREAD ful

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