I know some people have multiple faces. You just have to blink while talking to them. Acid smiles. Random Kindness. And then they turn to someone you never could know.
The other day I met a known lady in the market. She was wearing a sweatshirt that made her look healthier. “Don’t I look fat?” She asked me. “No, but the shirt is really thick for summer,” I somehow managed to run away. I admit, I am not a good judge of appearance, unlike some of my relatives who can tell you exactly when you lose 1 pound or gain .75 kg. I’m the last person( most probably after the weight scale) to notice minute changes that time and food habit gift human beings. Eventually.
But sometimes when I see people in different attire in a completely different place, I get confused. Like once one colleague, who always wore formal shirts and blazers in office and used expensive words, waved at me at a casual beach restaurant. His face was tanned, legs half-bared out of a pair of khaki shorts, feet filled with white sands. ” Hey! It’s me here again. Good to see ya!” He said with a wide smile. I was baffled. The man who I almost worshiped at work looked like a long lost friend. I mean, who could recognize him in shorts, being friendly! I returned a tiny smile, ” Oh yes! It’s you!” But I kept thinking if that version of his identity could match with his picture in my brain.
Identities, people. Many of us have multiple ones. Our faces change under the influence of circumstances. Our preferences too. I’m not really sure which parts of ourselves are real and which parts are things we have rented from other people.
One of my friends wears make up from head to toe all the time. (I am not complaining. It’s her life, and choice. I truly appreciate people for the choices they make. )Each time I walk with her, I come to know all latest products from the beauty section of Nordstrom. Sometimes she carries the entire mall on her body and looks like that perfectly airbrushed model on the cover page of a best selling fashion magazine. She is real though if you manage to see inside out, and that matters the most. Then one fine day, she rings my doorbell, ” Hello! You want to come for shopping?” I look at her. Her face looks pale, and undone. The wrinkles caressing the air. The nostrils matching the structure of her nose for the first time. The eyes. The eyes without mascara, and colored lines. Were they always so narrow and unpleasant? And I look lost. “Rach?” I whisper. She feels humiliated and leaves, ” You forget your friends too easily.”
I don’t forget my friends. Or anyone, as such. It’s just that I cannot change my memory that rapidly. Or most probably it’s impossible for others to wear an identity without becoming what he or she pretends to be. Someday my friends are normal and caring. Someday they are bashing their Gods, bosses, or same families. Their angry faces agitating. Against people who they at times want to love, or respect. The next moment they’re calm, “Hey! Do you remember what all I told you last night?” “No. I was not with you,” I pretend too, to distance myself from the momentary saga.
Inspired by life (what else right?) and that famous quote by Oscar Wilde in De Profundis, “Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”