lifestyle

Humour by Rehana Munir: Befriending the red-faced beast

Humour by Rehana Munir: Befriending the red-faced beast

There’s this episode of Friends where Rachel boasts about not getting easily embarrassed. (Which leads to Ross drawing a beard and moustache on her face while on an airplane, and them getting drunkenly married in Vegas. But I digress.) I don’t know many people who’d make a similar boast. Embarrassment is one of those annoying and useless emotions that trips up even the most self-assured among us—a psychological banana skin that we regularly slip on along the desired path to an unflappably zen state of being. Which way to the Qutub Minar? I’ve encountered more than my fair share of banana skins over the years. It’s quite embarrassing how many of these memories of embarrassment come flooding back as I write this. There was this work trip in Hyderabad where, on a rare evening off, I asked the guard at my swank hotel for directions to the Qutub Minar. “Charminar,” I checked myself after an epic stare. “Any landmark?” I asked him, unstoppably. “Charminar,” he replied, to my eternal humiliation. Then there was the time that I vigorously waved in the direction of my sister at a Hard Rock Café, directing her to our table. The wave was, however, intercepted by Subhash Ghai, who walked over to me, pretending to know who I was. Just the other day at the airport, a restaurateur I barely know graciously invited me to the launch of a new restaurant. Pleasantries exchanged, I walked hastily towards my boarding gate, chucking the remnants of a sandwich into the bin. A few steps on, I realised I’d thrown away my boarding pass as well (not the first time). I walked over casually to the bin, fished out my boarding pass and turned around, only to see the restaurateur smiling awkwardly at me. The unflappable Ms. Lawrence How do you explain away something as banal, yet legitimately incriminating, as this? In such situations, I err on the side of enigma. Let the gentleman wonder as to why I rummage through airport trash. Far worse to anxiously explain how my brain is absent-minded enough to do an absurd thing, yet alert enough to realise what I’ve done just a moment later. My ample experience in the area has taught me that there isn’t just one right way to deal with embarrassment. You need to play every slip of the tongue or foot on merit, cheekily owning some missteps, charmingly distancing oneself from others. Jennifer Lawrence is a good role model for us perennial slipper-uppers. To fall flat on your face while walking up to collect an Oscar is worthy of its own award. But Ms. Lawrence—with her disarming bashfulness—somehow made the move aspirational. Wardrobe malfunctions are one of those occurrences that celebs seem to take in their stride in a manner that I find truly commendable; in real life, they tend to trigger endless waves of remorse. (Remember that scene in Friends where Rachel’s bridesmaid’s gown is mortifyingly stuck in her underwear at her ex-boyfriend’s wedding? How not to digress?) Befriending the beast Things get way more complicated when embarrassment has less to do with one’s appearance than one’s thoughts. Who here hasn’t sent a nasty chat message to its subject rather than its intended recipient? On one memorable occasion, the victim of my misdirected missive was standing right in front of me. I judge them for still having me in their life. And then there’s the embarrassment of wrong-naming someone. (“I take thee, Rachel”—from the one where Ross marries Emily—simply has to be mentioned.) Now that we’ve wrapped up another Christmas, and the Boxing Day Ashes encounter is filling in the time before New Year’s Eve, we can begin to think of resolutions. I’m going to give this embarrassment thing some serious thought. We face it everywhere and often, and yet haven’t made any attempts at befriending the beast. It’s time to confess to our tacky pleasures without fear of judgement from the aesthetically superior. To wear our awkwardness like a clumsy badge of humanity, a shield against those forever chasing, and catching up with, excellence. If one absolutely must go red-faced with embarrassment, it’s best to recover and enjoy the blush. When life gives you a banana peel, turn it into a face mask. Follow @rehana_munir on Twitter and Instagram From HT Brunch, December 26, 2021 Follow us on twitter.com/HTBrunch Connect with us on facebook.com/hindustantimesbrunch.

lifestyle 2021-12-29 hindustantimes