Well, well, well. Let me brush you up with how(/at what rate) I "grew" up this way. At the age of 5, I bumped into a fairly high table and hurt my temple. At the age of 10 I was taller than my refrigerator. At 14, I was taller than my dad, and before 16 I was the tallest in my immediate family. And today I stand excess of 6 feet in height, and its tough being so, in India atleast. I will list a few reasons, err, lets say, instances to portray the same.
I have had many a journeys on the Indian Railways, and during most of them, would be confronted by an elderly person who would have an upper berth waiting for me, no matter what berth I had booked. Some years ago, in meter gauge (is it spelled right? I am not sure) the upper berth might've better served as a luggage compartment. I usually slither into the place like a caterpillar. I can never sit up there. And I've had torrid times, including one in which someone tried to steal my wallet from the upper berth of the adjacent bay! I was just 12 or 13 and found it uncomfortable.
Bus journeys - nightmares!!! One, the seats are so close, that my knees get tapped on the seat infront so often, my knee cap bone gets lost sometimes! And the push back seats! sigh! Not only are my push backs either too small, or too closely spaced or don't work, and then the agony of facing the sudden push-back "surprises" from the person infront of me! Doing anything in the bus is tough - be it reaching for my pocket, reading a magazine, craning my neck down to look out of the window, get up from my seat, avoid bumping into the short doorway, and most of all, ignore the whispers amongst all the people in the bus who think I am an alien!
Clothe-shopping. how can anything be tougher for a tall fellow? Either my trousers are too short, or too wide. Either my formals are too loose, or the cuffs are too short! This is some hectic thing - getting a suitable clothing. Well, now, I have to import it. If I wear all of what I get here, then, people would think the circus is in town!
Now, the furniture. Except your home, you/I will not get a comfortable furniture to relax, or atleast, sit with ease. At my new office, the chairs are height-adjustable. Even at its highest point, my legs are a bit crossed. So, if not for the little breaks once in two hours, some parts of my body will really ache. For two days here, I was reeling under severe back and neck pain. While sitting, please make sure your whole body weight is distributed over your thighs as well as your feet, not just feet and butt. It pains an awful lot! No joke! I raise my chair so much that from behind, it looks like someone, whose chair is a foot higher, and then, there is my head which adds another foot over it. Comfortable for the ones who want to sleep, not so for the ones who want to see the board or the screen in front of me! Merits and demerits come along...
People. This is like one of the worst part of being so tall in a country like India! People in India love to talk behind your back, and then act like they are angels. Well, atleast we can see the good faces there. But there is a worse classification - the one in which the people are right infront of you, look into your eyes and tuck the person next to him/her and whisper something. They want to tell you that they have an opinion about you, but will not tell you. And then the avalanche effect catches up and many have had a look at you. Even if you think a stereotype guy looks at any passing girl from top to bottom once, I bet any stereotype Indian scales me atleast twice, on an average! Sorry ladies, you know who gets more importance here :-P . Things get worse when there are kids! They come towards me, stop some five feet away, and gaze at me (imagine you are standing a km/mile away from the leaning tower of Pisa, or the Eiffel or the Statue of Liberty!), and bring out weird expressions too! Today I saw a family, dining in the restaurant. First the two kids look at me in amazement, when I got up for a while. And then the parents look at me, look at their kids and then look at each other and look at me again! Hey!!! What am I? monkey from the zoo?
Indian sentiments. I love this discussion. Can someone please explain how a person't height is going to affect his or her marriage? Someone saw me a few years ago and said, "Stop growing, else you won't get a bride!" . Like I can say to myself, "ok, my body, let us stop growing today, we will grow two inches in August, one in October and one more in December. Then we will have an online poll to see how much the people want me to grow next year, and then we will plan for the next year". How am I supposed to tell my body not to grow, or worse, become shorter? If I love the girl, if my family and her family love each other, the marriage will happen! I have absolutely no idea what height has got to do, that people include height as a criteria for consideration in marriage (It was not like I was reading it for a purpose), but thats what they put in the matrimonial column, right? Sigh!
Sometimes, people bump into me and think I am a senior. It happened in school, happened in college, happened at work too! People think more the height, the older they are (after some definite age, they do apply this logic). Sometimes works good, but many times, not. I am now to this place and I get lost while exploring and ask for directions, and the guy replies "You must be knowing this place inside out. Funny, you ask for directions" as if he has seen me all his life loitering in the same aisle!
Automatic "do-this-that"er. People will somehow notice me from any nook and corner of the room or bay or coach and ask me to lift their luggage upto the luggage cabin or remove it from there or put on the berth, or reach for something. In some cases, I don't blame them, they can't reach it. But in other cases, I am made to do this just because they need not stretch their lazy arms! Sigh! excuses do flash right in front of their faces.
"Long"evity. Long fingers, long legs, long arms. Good? Maybe. But not always. Long also means restricted. Its very difficult to move your body parts without hearing voices ranging from "careful", to some un-mentionable swears to some painful reflexes from others. Once, I whipped a person behind me when I was stretching after a long boring lecture! A stream of "sorry" followed then on. yesterday, I spilled half a cup of tea and half a glass of water (well, tea and water are different here, unlike in my college, where tea is just brown coloured water) because the table was too low, and I had to put the plate down with one hand, tea cut in the other and a bag over my shoulder that slipped to create the perfect scene to start a morning with all eyes on me! While typing on the keyboard, both pinkies are almost useless. My ring finger is enough to reach the farthest keys. Even if I now want to use my pinky, it is not trained enough to work so.
Now I am thinking if there is a tenth reason that I may add up over here... I just counted, and saw that I had nine above. Didn't plan to have a certain number, but just thought maybe, 10 is better than 9. Won't advertise it as "10 reasons for.... ". though. Planning ten is difficult. Either you fall short or exceed it and don't know what to eliminate.
Last problem, (let me turn the tables around) is that most of you are short! By "short" I meant real short. Yes, all are short to me, but many many many are very very very short! Many times, people think I am deaf. Actually, the reason I couldn't hear them was because their mouth was far away from my ear(s)! I have to crane down every now and then to listen to what they have to say! And the girls are worse! I had a back ache after the first week at office. Had to introduce ourselves to each other, and thus I met some short colleagues, who looked at me and said "You are very tall" in many accents. How do you think I can react to that line? It wasn't new to me, so, I didn't get that natural smile that people wear on their faces on hearing a complement. But yeah, I did force it up in the end. I had to bend to bring my head lower, like a giraffe. If you actually played a video tape of me that day and played it in fast-forward mode, I was like a Japanese, who is customarily welcoming people with the half bows with a smile on his face. Get it? Now stay in the bent post for two mins, and you'll realise the "pain" of bending. Reminds me of Hema Malini, who had to climb over a stool/desk to tie Amitabh's tie in the movie Baghban! Well, I usually sit down, so that I can relax, AND you can speak to my ears :-)
So, lets hear from you all about what you feel about height in general, taller ones in particular, issues, incidences, views etc... ?
Writing long posts is a tall order, but its a flow of words that makes it short. Time will only lengthen the cause, not influence the idea. Let your thoughts come out rapidly, do not restrict it to the boundaries.
Sadly, my posts are a bit long sometimes. May not be of the king of length you see in most posts, but hopefully the post carries something good and worth reading between the title and the sign-off line :-) . Or, so I hope :-)
Comments and suggestions welcome :-)
Until next post,