Monday, May 14, 2012

Turning Tomato

They say, I can't handle awkward situations. Apparently, it is quite easy to embarrass and turn me red. For around 3 decades now,I have selflessly served as a source of entertainment for those who derived sadistic pleasure in watching me melt into a pool of abhashedness, simply, by talking about unacceptable topics (like the color of someone's underwear).

I think of myself as somewhat of a social scientist or maybe a behaviour economist (hmm..that sounds good). So I decided to spend some time decoding myself to get to the root of this issue.

After hours of  self analysis I have concluded that the answer lies in my genes. Them parents. They are the real culprits. I have the most "embarrassable” parents that there could exist and I got all my embarrass quotient from them (I have this vague childhood memory of being called the tomato family by our neighbours). 

The other day , my mum got completely tongue-tied when I asked her to go and watch Vicky Donor with my dad. The conversation on phone went something like this :

Mum: I feel like watching a movie..
Me: Sure. Why don't you and papa go and watch Vicky Donor while I am at work?
Mum: _____
Me: Hello? Mummy ?
Mum: _____

I couldn't see the other side , but I am sure this how it would have looked :

Since the day I have accepted this reality, I have been at peace with myself. What could I do? I can not control what's been genetically coded into me, can I ? Over the years though, I have learned to get out of these situations and I have been doing well so far. I have mastered handling all but one scenario ;The one in which my parents and I are together.

When I was young, we all used to watch television in the living room like a happy family. TV was clean and everything was certified "U”.Then, the times changed and "PG” got in vogue. My parents were careful enough to guide us kids and the good times continued. But then, came a time when everything turned "R” , at least by my family’s standard. And none of us knew what to do with it. So, every time there was something remotely "R” on the screen, we'd all turn our defence mechanisms on. Mum would rush to the kitchen to check on the food, dad would suddenly feel the need to water plants, my sis would rush to the loo and I would start fumbling with the remote control unit to change the channel. It was mayhem.

To be honest, it is quite manageable at home. There are always enough reasons to excuse yourself from an uncomfortable situation. Consider watching a movie with parents in a theatre. Unless, you are lucky to get an aisle seat, it can get really uncomfortable for everyone. It's obviously embarrassing to look at the screen , you can't look at each other because , well, that's even more embarrassing and looking at other people's faces could land you in some serious trouble. There's no way but to just sit and pray for all of it to be over soon. Only that it never really gets over THAT soon.

On several such occasions, during those moments, as I sat hoping, willing, and praying for the story to move on, I thought of various ways to cope up:

1. Express disgust at the apparently useless element in the storyline: This method helps in channelizing your discomfort through anguish. For better results, continue to crib till the uncomfortable part is completely over.

Word of caution:Try not to be very loud to avoid being hit with a shoe. Most of the other people in the theatre might actually be enjoying the bit.

2. Initiate discussion on a really important topic: Keep a few discussion-worthy topics handy, like the location for your next holiday or the problem of the leaking sink in the kitchen. Carry on the discussion till the movie has moved ahead into more comfortable areas. If you finish one topic and 'it’ is still on, start another one.

Word of caution: This works well if you have parents like mine who are equally willing to find an exit out of the situation. Never try this with friends. They might decide to never watch a movie with you again.

3. Drop your mobile phone: Yup, drop it and kick it underneath you seat and do it so well that it takes you forever to find it in the dark. That way, you can get lost in the cozy protection of your seat’s underside while the story moves on to more comfortable parts.

Word of caution: Watch your butt while you bend down to look for your phone. If not careful, you might butt-push the glass of cola placed on the arm of your chair onto the lap of your neighbour. What might follow then would leave you red in a different way.

I believe in doing a bit of philanthropy every now and then. The aforementioned 3 super tricks are gratis for all the brethren who share my plight. Go ahead and never worry about those awkward moments while watching a film with your parents. I accept your gratitude.

I have also put together a small closing speech to get some adrenalin pumping. Here goes:

Dear Brethren,
I can sense a whole army of fellow tomato turners, here in defiance of the ridicule that we’ve been subjected to. Ridicule by friends and foes alike!

We have the option of lying low and letting them poke fun at our redness. But years from now, when we are lying in our beds, ready to die, I am sure we all will be willing to trade all the days of living in ignominy with that one day when we all stood up to the evil ones. The day when we told them that they could make fun of us but they would never take away our sense of modesty. Let this be the day, my brothers, to tell the world that yes, we turn tomatoes and we are prude of it!

I meant  proud. 

Speech inspired from one Mr. William Wallace of Scotland

Tomato image source:


  1. He thanks.. never looked at it this way :D

  2. Thanks Saad, sniff sniff, that speech was epiphanic for me. Your words have given me the courage to say that... I also belong to the army of tomatoes turners(I didn't know there was a name for the ranks of us) :)

    1. Always a pleasure showing way to fellow tomato turners :D. Btw, Megha told me that you have been enjoying the blog.. I am obliged :)

  3. i am turning red wishing i could write something like this. glad i clicked through.

    1. Thanks Subho :D Checked out your blog.. very interesting stuff ! You got yourself another reader :)

  4. Really amusing. Congrats on the Blogadda pick

  5. impressed with the ease and casualness you have written ... following u now...and officially tomato turner..

    1. Thanks Mithil ! It's always good to know a fellow tomato turner :)

  6. ha daughter has her own way of coping with such situations--she closes my eyes with her hands until the scene is over :D

    1. Haha.. That's a good way to handle it Giribala! I'd say we have something to learn from her :D


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