“Oh my God! I am having severe headache!” I said to my husband, getting up from the bed. He was quick enough to jump to the conclusion,” It is because you were reading till very late last night! How many times I have told you to sleep early!“ Now, this was not what I was expecting from him. I was just sharing my pain, and even though he was generous enough to investigate and point out the reason, it was in no way going to relieve me from pain. I started thinking, why this happens? When we share our pain with someone, in return people start analyzing the cause of suffering, mostly concluding that it’s our own fault.
My mother is a glaring example of this. Whenever I complain of some illness, in addition to getting worried, she is quick enough to find the reason and prove that I am the one who should be blamed for it. In my childhood days, I was very much prone to throat infection. Every time I had throat infection, Mummy would attribute it to the curd or ice cream, which I might have eaten even one week before.
When she visited us last year, I had a throat infection. Reaction of my mother was as usual; putting the entire blame on me for eating ice crème the previous day. To save myself from this unbearable blame game (yes, I am still scared of my Mummy, though at my age, she had become a mother-in-law), I visited a doctor, and when the doctor told me that it was viral infection, I jumped with joy. I returned home bubbling with enthusiasm, “Mummy! The doctor said its viral infection, nothing to do with the ice crème!” she paid no heed to my reasoning concluding that the virus had attacked me because of the ice crème!
Few days back, I developed severe backache and the doctor advised me to refrain from walk for few months. When I visited the park after long time, an elderly gentleman asked the reason for my long absence. After hearing about my backache, he announced,” I knew that this was going to happen to you! It’s because you used to walk too fast!” His confident tone made me appreciate his capability of going to the root cause of my pain, which even my doctor could not do despite having so many unpronounceable degrees on his name plate. I thanked the gentleman for his words of wisdom while cursing myself for my habit of wishing good morning to the elderly persons walking in the park. Now I was paying for this habit by having to explain all the elderly gentlemen and ladies about my absence. But, not in a mood to be blamed again, when a lady asked the reason for my long absence, I replied with a smile,” Oh, nothing much! I was just feeling like taking rest for few days!”
“Not a wise thing to do! You should always be regular with your walks! I can see that you have put on weight during these days!” came the expert advice in the most serious tone.
I sat on a bench watching people walking at fast pace wondering whether all of them were going to develop backache like me!
When I talked to my sister about this double tragedy of suffering from pain and being blamed at the same time, she told me not to bother. “If I would have developed this pain, people would blame it on my not going for walks at all!” she consoled me. As she is a sedentary person, all her health problems are blamed for her not exercising at all.
Why can’t people just show sympathy and leave the rest to doctors who are being paid for analyzing the cause and offering remedy?
About 10 years back (when we were posted in Himachal), on the way from Shimla to Kullu, my family met with a fatal car accident. I still thank God for saving our lives though the car was badly damaged. When the news spread, many well-wishers from my office called to sympathize. What surprised me the most was after normal haal chaal, the question most of them asked was, “Who was driving?” I thanked God again, each time the question was put to me for I was not driving at the time of accident. The way that truck driver was driving, the accident was bound to happen even if the car would have been safely parked on one side, but my negative answer disappointed the well-wishers by not giving them a chance to lecture me on how driving in hilly areas is not something ladies should venture into.
It is not that this blame game is played for family and friends only. While, people blaming the government for the wrong policies are not uncommon, even the film stars are not spared after giving a flop. But worst sufferers are cricketers, who are never spared after a defeat.
I am not a cricket fan, but I pity the Indian team after every defeat, as leave apart the experts on the sports and news channel (including many retired players who could not do anything great in their career), even the gali cricket experts discuss how the captain made a wrong decision by giving the falana over to the falana bowler, and how the falana player wrongly played the falana shot while he should have played safe. Are bhaiya! Wo waise hi haar kar dukhi hain! Ab unki galatiyan bata bata kar to mat maro! (They are already sad for getting defeated! don’t kill them by counting their mistakes!) But the cricket fans sipping coffee in their drawing room seem to be more expert than the players as they know what went wrong to make the team lose. Sadly, the skipper does not keep the phone number of any of these cricket experts to take advice before taking any decision on the field. Though it is not unusual for my 9 year old son to bore me with the analysis of defeat of Indian cricket team, I was more surprised when after India’s recent defeat in world cup semifinal, my daughter (who is not so interested in cricket) came up with a readymade blame card of the players, provided to her by her cricket fan friends! Not wanting to be left behind, I also started blaming Virat Kohli for allowing Anushka in the stadium despite her proving to be unlucky for him; a fact he should have known after he got out at a score of 3 after watching NH-10 and praising her! Later on, I learned that my family was not alone finding defaulters; lakhs of Indians analyzed the reasons (most of them blaming Anushka and Virat Kohli) for the defeat and posted them on social media to help the Indian team for future matches! After all, playing cricket (and reaching up to semifinals) is a layman’s job; the skilled job is to analyze the faulty players and accuse them!
One morning I got upset on noticing that the gold chain in my neck was missing. I got tense and started looking for it. Fortunately, the housemaid found it lying on the floor in the kitchen. My husband, who had been finding it hard to refrain from lecturing me considering my upset mood, immediately started with his ever ready lecture blaming me for carelessness which had nearly cost me the gold chain. I put on the gold chain again and requested him to press the chain hook properly. “can’t you do it yourself?” asked my husband to which I replied,” I can! But I have an added advantage if you do it. If it goes missing again, though I would be sad, but I don’t have to listen to your lecture for carelessness! Rather, I would prove that it’ your fault!”