Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Princess Syndrome

Kavitha is the popular girl in our class. Her friend circle is the popular circle as well. They are from same school from first standard. One of their mother is our PET teacher. Sudha she is. She also is a dancer. We, the tamil medium to English medium gang, we have our own circle too. It is like the middle class life. Myself, Chandravadhana, S. Premalatha (another Premalatha), Latha (this is another Latha), Rajavadhana, Radhi,… Some of us live in the hostel. In hostel, it is Rajavadhana who is the princess. Radhi is her own princess. I am close to Radhi. I can talk in the same wavelength with her. The way she has changed her name to Radhi is cool. Her full name is ------… Radhi and Rajavadhana are cousins and there is a family issue between them that makes them stay in two separate groups and still form one group… whatever. I am there, or try to be there in all groups. I really like to be included in whatever the kavitha’s group talk. Generally they don’t include me. Because they are day-scholars and so, I do not fit with them. More over, I cannot speak in English, definitely do not know anything about most of their talks. Whenever I tried to go to them, this is what the first question they ask. “How are boys like? Did you really study with boys in co-ed all these years? Do you have a boy-friend?” I never understood what the big deal was. All these years when I was in my school with all those boys, nothing felt anything different. They are the same lot as my girl-friends lot. All types. All the same. Do, I have a boy-friend? Yes, friends in boys are boyfriends, aren’t they? Yes I do. Many. Yesterday was Kavitha’s birthday. She was in new clothes. I went to greet her. She said it is not a big deal, and shrugged off. I didn’t know how to continue the conversation. She was talking about books. Her brother is in college and whenever he comes home, he brings gifts for her. They are mostly books. Her brother is very popular among her friends as well. He is like a celebrity for them. I don’t know what books he brings, but, “books” is the term they use. It is supposed to mean they are all intellectuals and they are all of different league. I have read books. But, I refer them by their titles. That itself tells that I am not in their league, doesn’t it. Anyway, I tried to find out what books, but she never told, or I didn’t get whatever she told. They are English books anyway. I am not going to know. Reading “books” wearing “modern” clothes, talking in English.. I don’t have anyof those. But, to my surprise, I continue to get their attention. I don’t know how. Sometime they are interested in talking to me and finding about me as well. They want to find out why I don’t like to wear pottu (bindhi), flowers, turmeric on face… etc.. Kind of cool, that they think I am different and/or a cool girl. It takes me out of the general lot to their level. I intend to keep this on. Also, I don’t wear gold chain, because no one gave me one, but they think I am against it. Cool. I intend to keep it that way. Will this promote me to one of those “princesses”? No, you have to have a brother who brings books and you have to have a father who earns a lot and you have to wear those.. well, it doesn’t look like I can reach there, but I am one of the princesses in my own way. Radhi is one. Aruna is much more matured. She amazes me with her “reality” talks. She thinks that I am a “reality” talker too. Cool. Aruna and Radhi are best friends and they include me in their circle. But, my own best place is Chandravadhana or Radhi. Radhi lives with me in hostel and Chandra sits with me in my desk. I have found that I share a lot of things in common with them. We are the “middle class” girls. Radhi is the princess of our middle class. Chandra takes care of me whenever I am confused. I am Vinayaki's best, and her "own place". She has a lot going on in her life. I take care of her when she is in need of a friend. The circle and the cycle continues..

On the other day when I went to receive prizes for scoring first in the last term exams, Chandra put her gold chain around my neck, when no one, including myself, expected, in the school prayer when I was rushing to the front…I was overwhelmed with her gesture and cried a little as well. As I had to stay in the front to receive all those five prizes (four for each subject first and one for being the overall first), that gold chain shined around my neck all the time, and attracted everyone’s eyes. Vinayaki had given me her good clothes for that day, so I was looking all different that day. Kavitha later said that I disappointed her. I dissappointed Aruna too on that day, by accepting, rather pleased about, the good clothes from Vinayaki. I dissappointed Radhi when I sang and danced in one of our hostel entertainment evenings. Chandravadhana said, ignore them. I couldn't. I dissappointed my chithi for being a not-a-good girl in school. I dissappointed her by not living upto her expectations. I dissappointed her by not keepping our family well respected, by not being a likeable girl by evereone. Hope she doesn't find out that many girls in my school do not like me.

PS: if it is incoherent and doesn't close, or doesn't convey anything, it is because it is deliberate and/or just what I got when I started writing it.

44 comments:

MumbaiGirl said...

Prema-Am glad you are back.

டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...

Didnt have "pottu" or flowers on? mmm... Perhaps that simply might have infuriated the elders in the family.
Grouping, parting ways, reorganizing were all part of my hostel life too. But I thought girls were more closely knit. :)

Premalatha said...

Hi Mumbaigirl,

thanks. I am glad you read my posts. :-)

Hi Draj,

yep. but, that wasn't the main reason, or even one of the reasons. because I covered that with "being simple" thing.

it was my big-mouth. vaayaadi.

girls are more bitchy. you can see the "you or me", competition and "princess" syndrome even in the so called "best friends". Girls are more of "me me and me and me and me" kind. try noticing that next time when you meet an indian, particularly a tam girl. it will start with, do you cook potato like this? I cook like this (it supposed to mean, the way I cook is better way). you do this?, I do this.... boy, it doesn't give a break even for a second. observe next time. I am no exception. I know that I am one of those "me me" girls. that is the only difference. Because I am conscious, I try to avoid (only when I realise that I have been going on "me me me" for sometime. lol.) That is why I was little skeptical of the idea of blog itself, because it is nothing but more me me me. Too much. Doesn't help. does it? lol.

Michelle said...

Prema

This one was really great. I t brought back lots of memories for me too. Trust me,"princess"is a universal girl thing!

I will have to add my own "princess" stories for you. :)

Premalatha said...

Hi Michelle,

there are some blog princesses too. lol.

I have found that the me me me thing is really too much with indian girls. particularly tams (tamil girls).

டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...

Premalatha:
Interesting :) I have a theory of this "me, me and me mentality" too. But the criteria is education. Many people with a education above the bachelor's degree (PhD or say masters by research and not by course work) or above is bound to me more eccentric (atleast here in Singapore). hehehehe. No offence people, it was just my own opinion and am welcome to your comments :)
Cheers
DRaj

டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...

Furthermore, I dont think your blog would qualify for a "me, me and me blog". I have seen the true blue ones (not limited to Indians or Tamils) :)

Premalatha said...

Hi, Draj,

I am so excited. I want to know what do you think my education level is. I can't wait to see your reply. come back, please and reply, please. (anxiuos, in a good way, to see your reply. I am smiling like a mad girl(woman?!)mhere).

:-)

Premalatha said...

Furthermore, I dont think your blog would qualify for a "me, me and me blog".

Doesn't?

:-)

டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Premalatha said...

don't go. stay on. let us finish this.

If so, I am sure you falsify my theory. hehehe

falsify what?

what am I?

(when did I tell that I did engg? yes i did, but when did i tell?)

டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...

Hi Premalatha:
Let me guess. If I remember right I have read that you did a Engg. Your question makes me think that you possibly went on to do a PhD???

If so, I am sure you falsify my theory. hehehe :) Again, you are in UK and not in Singapore. So perhaps, my theory might still endure. :)
Cheers
DRaj

Premalatha said...

Ok. because our server is down and I am seeing your comment after my reply, i am going to skip the entertainment part.

I am a PhD (Scream from top of the world people, I am a PhD!).

And, you say I am not a me, me. wow. you have made my day.

Ok. your theory is safe, because I live in UK, and not in Singapore.

(I also did a MTech inbetween my BE and PhD.. ok, ok, that will prove your theory of me going on about me and me again, even though I live in UK. lol.).

டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...

Wow.... Dr. Premalatha :) thats great. I am PhD too but in Chemistry. hehehehe. Now you know how I formulated my theory.

Premalatha said...

Wow.... Dr. Premalatha :) thats great.

Except that I am Dr. P. Balan :(

I am PhD too but in Chemistry.
hehehehe. Now you know how I formulated my theory


lol. Chemistry and PhD, wow. So, where is your me me blog? (the one I saw doesn't look like the me me thing. :-) )

டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...

I mean you falsify my theory of saying PhD's are eccentric (but yeah I modified it by geographic location).
I think you said in one of your comments that you studied in theni and then moved to Coimbatore for further studies and I guessed it should be Engg. (Which branch by the way?)

டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...

hahahaha, My blog doesnt have a me me.. I intend to start one to vent my frustrations in research. All along I was thinking no one might read it coz it might only have my sob stories.

டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...

Dr. P Balan. hahaha..

know what? My dad told me that he was happy to see his name on my PhD certificate. He felt as if he had got it himself hahahaha..

Premalatha said...

and, people call me, Dr. Balan, :( It does look like balan (husband) got it, rather than me.

Agrl Engg (pazhappona agrl engg.)
MTech (remote sensing. this is what changed my life).

Premalatha said...

I am not an eccentric? ask balan. he will tell you all the other stories I am not posting here. lol.

Premalatha said...

My blog doesnt have a me me.. I intend to start one to vent my frustrations in research.

have you finished PhD or doing it? or are you a post-doc?

டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...

Wow Wow... Where did you do your MTech and PhD?
I also did and MTech in Analytical Chem and then PhD in National University of Singapore.

டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...

I completed PhD in 2001 and did postdoc for 3 years. Now, I am a Sr. Research Engineer in a Research Institute. My research is on nanosciences.

Premalatha said...

guess what, I completed my PhD in 2001 too!!

Mtech in Anna University. (1992 to 1994)
PhD in UK (Nottingham University, 1998 to 2001)

where did you do yours? (Mtech?

டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...

MTech was in IIT delhi 1995-1996
Very nice to see a fellow PhD :)

டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...

In fact I did my MSc then enetered IIT through GATE and did a Mtech. When I look back, I think I didnt have any focus in those years...

May I ask, are you a postdoc??

டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...

Phd I started in Jan 1998 and submitted thesis in June 2001 and graduated in December 2001.
(looks like the PhD in me is acting up. I am going me me and me hahahaha)

Premalatha said...

When I saw IIT Delhi, I was going to ask "through GATE?", because yours is chem, ...

give me a fiver mate (rendu perum kaiyai uyarththi adichchikkirathu, in UK is called give me a fiver mate). I did MTech through GATE too. (Man, is this what called as "me me" by two PHDs. give us a break. we both are from the golden land of kombai and usilampatti, studied in same group of schools, have done PHDs, have done GATEs and are meeting through a blog what a world.!!)

I was a post-doc for three years and I just have joined in a company as a senior consultant. let us see how it goes.

Premalatha said...

Why don't you give your email id, we can spare the other guys some pohai coming from their stomach?

Premalatha said...

Phd I started in Jan 1998 and submitted thesis in June 2001 and graduated in December 2001.

yeay,

I started in Jan. 1998, but finished before you, jan 2001! yeay. and got the degree in June 2001 yeay!

டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...

Here goes a fiver (here we call it High five).
you started your PhD 4 years after masters and yet you completed it in shorter time. thats awesome...

my email id is deivaraj.tc@gmail.com or tcdresh@yahoo.com send me an email and lets stay in touch.

டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...

Its a small world, indeed. I am glad that I stumbled upon your nice blog :)

Premalatha said...

Here goes a fiver (here we call it High five).
you started your PhD 4 years after masters and yet you completed it in shorter time. thats awesome...


I was serving the Nation during the four years gap. lol. but was very much in the research field. so, it didn't feel like a gap at all.

டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...

You mean you worked for DRDO?? Thats nice :)

டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...

I did an internship in DRDO in Delhi for about 2 months during my Mtech :) hahahaha..

Premalatha said...

You mean you worked for DRDO?? Thats nice :)

slightly different, ISRO.

Premalatha said...

I did an internship in DRDO in Delhi for about 2 months during my Mtech :) hahahaha..

give me a fiver again. lol.

டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...

Please feel free to tell me if you are leaving or something. hahaha.. The PhD in me is keeping me ask you too many questions :( Sorry about that///

டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...

ISRO...wow.... Looks like your CV would be awesome :)

phantom363 said...

i went to male segregated schools & colleges, and have always viewed with envy at some of my male friends who went to co-ed schools. the female of the species was farther away than the nearest star :(

my own kids go to coed schools, and think nothing of the male female friendship or relationship. i think, next to sliced bread, coed schools are the best thing in the world, as it helps (mostly) develop a healthy mind and honest relationships across sexes.

you could not have expressed the agony of having pseudo intellectuals around. those idiots are forever in places that we want to be, and doing their best to be clannishly stupid together. i have such a strong dislike for this crowd,that i have gone to the extent of removing them from photos :) nasty stuff :)

and the finale.. the gold chain from an unexpected source. should make life worthwhile.. shouldn't it?

and what is wrong with singing and dancing? is the discomfort due to the fact that the tale will wind itself back home, and letting down some loved ones?

not to worry. my chithi is also hard to live up to. she had convinced my mother that nothing less than 'so much of diamonds' will be acceptable as suitable bridery for the girl that i will be cleared to marry. very quickly i set it straight. long after my parents have gone, my chithi is my best friend now. :)

cheers :)

Premalatha said...

i went to male segregated schools & colleges, and have always viewed with envy at some of my male friends who went to co-ed schools. the female of the species was farther away than the nearest star :(


:))


my own kids go to coed schools, and think nothing of the male female friendship or relationship. i think, next to sliced bread, coed schools are the best thing in the world, as it helps (mostly) develop a healthy mind and honest relationships across sexes.

True. That too at the right age for me. I still remember about how myself and my friend tried to figure out what the word kaathal meant. We were in our teacher's house. She was reading "Cheramaan kaathali" or something like that. We knew what cheran meant. 'kaathali' didn't make any sense to us. So we went and asked her. She shooed us away. :( we both were shouting kaathali all day running all roads. we stopped a bus (kaikaatti) for fun and shouted kaathali together. LOL.


you could not have expressed the agony of having pseudo intellectuals around. those idiots are forever in places that we want to be, and doing their best to be clannishly stupid together.

There are some in the blogworld too. :))



i have such a strong dislike for this crowd,that i have gone to the extent of removing them from photos :) nasty stuff :)


:))


and the finale.. the gold chain from an unexpected source. should make life worthwhile.. shouldn't it?

I recently got another such thing. Not gold (it is silver), but worth more than that. It was from a source totally unexpected, beyond my wildest dreams. :))


and what is wrong with singing and dancing?

No. the girls thought that I was a nice quiet girl. So, I was not supposed to dance. One of their dear friend was a dancer (proper) herself, so I guess they did not thing dancing or singing was anything bad. They might have thought that it didn't suit the image i portrayed or the image they percieved about me.

is the discomfort due to the fact that the tale will wind itself back home, and letting down some loved ones?

The whole tale was about that. :) It was not about letting down someone 'loved'. it was about letting down the expectations that we are supposed to keep up, the pressure on us to be a goody goody, which is what complicates and conflicts with otherwise causual natural emotions. Suppressing them for the sake of being goody goody, one gets lost and gets confused with what to suppress and what to hang on to and finally how exactly one has to do. These pressures are not there for men. Well, atleast not as much.

not to worry. my chithi is also hard to live up to. she had convinced my mother that nothing less than 'so much of diamonds' will be acceptable as suitable bridery for the girl that i will be cleared to marry. very quickly i set it straight.

:))

long after my parents have gone, my chithi is my best friend now. :)

My chithi refuses to be anything different from her good old herself. Wait, she has gone worse. Recently Balan told her that I have been making the whole story public and making her look like she is a ratchashi, she immediately asked that I should publish it and make some money out of it!!!! And, she is all proud that I am a 'writer' now (she thinks. Oh, I think she might already told the entire town that I have become a 'writer' these days. )



cheers :)

phantom363 said...

back here after visiting the princess (once more) and the pisaasus. i am losing my memory.

indeed you have indicated your phd year. also read your repartee with raj. god, you are a brainy wunderkind.

with some apology, i would like to say that i too was an engineer in my previous age. due to sheer accident of the exam corrector's pen, i got into eng school, studied mech eng, hated it, loved the hostel, had fun, and came out completely ignorant and no confidence after 5 years.

anybody who can do m/p/c/c and stick around to do more for m.s. & phd is full of mooLai. :) cool you:)

don't want to be nosey. are you in the teaching field? or research?

i am quite sure, that will not be sticking with those too long, as i hope the tug of writing becomes addictive in you. you have stories to tell. that's what writing is all about. and we are here to listen. :)

you need some discipline to sit and put it into your p.c. a phd sure has that discipline. next you need a good editor. editor 'finish' the raw manuscript. and finally the agent.

please treat this not as someone 'pushy', but a well wisher spotting raw talent in a youngster . i am 56 and you are 'in madras language' a kathukutti or learningling :)

Premalatha said...

Hi Phantom363,

Give me your email id I will mail you separately. too much information in the net is not good. mail me to

premalatha [_] balan [@] yahoo [.] co [.] uk

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