The famous eM wrote in her newsletter about her various grudges. I used to be a fan of the Catholic (?) doctrine of forgiveness, but as I age, I find myself happy to hold grudges. Or rather to accept that some scars take longer than usual to fade and one does not need to
pretend to let them go. So here are some of my favourite grudges:
1. My most recent is this woman who has a locker next to the area in which we sit in office. She tends to be chatty with a couple of people on our team, but I am convinced she is ignoring me. To test this theory, I once tried to join a conversation she was having, but she said something somewhat withering to me (admittedly, this could be because I butted in). I took umbrage and now I am ignoring her but I still want to definitively know if she’s actually ignoring me. Ugh.
2. Our apartment complex used to have a little garden where people could rent plots to grow plants. The kids liked to look at the vegetables growing there. One evening, they were looking at the plants – and one of them may have reached a hand out to touch one – when I vaguely heard shouting in Chinese. I didn’t pay much attention; I tend to tune out Chinese. Then the yelling switched to English. Turned out that a woman was yelling “Stop!” or some such in a dramatic way. I turned and gave her an incredulous look and we walked away. Later, I could see her muttering to another old man. Apparently, she thought that we were plucking the plants as has been done before – we weren’t. Overreaction much.
3. I have written before about the woman who routinely stops Nene from playing “unauthorised” ball games in the basketball court (even though I have never seen Chinese kids getting stopped from doing so), to the extent that she has called security on us, even when we moved far away from her to an area where there were no people.
4. In my first job, my boss was unnecessarily mean and would yell using profanity. Her sidekick supported her. I survived this hazing and they accepted me as one of them, but I never forgave them.
5. This is my longest-standing grudge: When I was in college, some friends invited me to join a choir that would perform at a Christmas concert. The practices were held in the late evening, and this being India, we had to find a male to walk us home. This guy, who happened to a friend of my (much older) cousin offered to walk me home. Later my friend told me her boyfriend would walk both of us home, so I let my cousin’s friend he needn’t walk me home. Choir practice went on, at one point, I realised that I couldn’t really hit some of the notes, so I would just mouth them without singing. One day, I noticed my cousin’s friend staring at me, and during a break, he came to me and whispered, “I know what you’re doing.” Later, the choir conductor came to me and told me that she thought I was singing false – someone had been, but I knew it wasn’t me because I made sure to mouth notes I couldn’t sing – and that she didn’t think I should sing at all! This, being after months of practice, she offered to let me stay on the condition that I do not sing at all but mouth everything. I politely declined and stopped going. I still hold a grudge against the cousin’s friend (who I am convinced ratted me out unnecessarily because I turned down his offer to walk me home. I later figured he might have had a crush on me – he seemed strangely disappointed – a possibility I never considered since he was so much older) and the conductor (who I believe did not sufficiently investigate who the source of the false notes were).
After writing this, I realised:
1. Grudges do fade in time. I was sure I’d have a longer list than this – and I probably do – but I struggled to remember some (though then they started to pour. A couplethat I do remember – this Indian woman in our neighbourhood whatsapp group who interrogated me about my name “not sounding Indian” and some teachers in our school – I found I do not care much anymore.
2. My most persistent grudges are related to my children.
3. Grudges related to strangers persist longer than those related to friends, because the latter have many chances to redeem themselves and often do.
What are your favourite grudges?