In 2011, I was in my first year of college in a new city. Consequently, I was learning to navigate two new social groups — my classmates in my Science course, and the community of students in my hostel, who were mostly Management students.
For my classmates, I’d made a Facebook group where we could be less formal and start to talk to each other. In trying to be a good admin and encourage engagement, one of the “funny” images I shared was the one above. It shows the similarity of name and shape of a bitter gourd and the Indian state of Kerala.
That same evening, my roommate needed help with a project, and I had offered support. While we were working, I got a text from a classmate. He was irate about me “insulting” his home state.
I texted back saying that it was harmless and I meant no insult, but he wouldn’t budge. He insisted that I had made a grievous mistake.
Back then, I had a very short fuse, and I was busy on my roommate’s project. So after a few messages, I handed my phone to my roommate. I asked him to talk to this guy.
My roommate Paritosh was a much friendlier person than I was, and he started reasoning with this person (as me) over text. But the guy wouldn’t back down.
After a few minutes, I lost my patience and took my phone back. I sent the following.
“Listen, I don’t have time for this. If you have a problem, complain to [teacher’s name] ma’am.”
His response — “Complain??? hehe”
And that was the end of that.
It was never brought up again. The classmate didn’t say anything to me in person, nor complained about it. He did nothing.
I did delete the post the next day. Did he have a legitimate complaint? Maybe. If he’d brought it up afterwards, I would’ve apologized, but he didn’t.
We will come across many people in the course of our lives. Some of them demand your time and attention without doing anything to earn it.
If you find someone who makes a mountain of a molehill, they might really have a problem or they might be wasting your time. Call them to action, and you will resolve the situation, one way or another.
This is a bite-sized essay.