Thursday, July 22

Living a Lie

In a past life I was quite the boring fellow (yes, even more boring than I am now). For example during university I would rather race home to watch Buffy than hang out with my mates after class. Most dinners would be had at home - I might have gone out to eat once every six weeks or so - and my idea of socialising with other people was to play videogames with my brother. International travel meant going to Pakistan with family, while "meeting with friends" meant an evening of chicken burgers and poker at one of their houses. I read simple books, watched popular films on telly and the idea of going to a talk or even a gallery was totally foreign to me. Music wasn't found in clubs but on MTV or B4UM, and most of the girls I was in contact with were related to either me or my friends (not that there were many of them). Heck I still don't go out for lunch - I've had the same packed lunch daily for over two decades and I'm still not bored of it.

I'm not entirely shure what changed, although I suspect it was partly due to people telling me to "get out there" if I wished to find a wife, as well as my brother moving out and my local mates moving on with their lives and getting married. My first foray was to join an Arabic class (after work, evening classes was the most popular place to find a partner). This then grew to City Circle (bless), and then ICSS, and before I knew it I was part of a vast social network that was providing thousands of opportunities to try new things with new people and "grow", whatever that means.

I must admit that I did enjoy it. It really did open doors to things I would never had experienced had I just stayed at home. I found new people to have semi-intelligent conversation, travel the world and eat at new restaurants with. The vast majority of my 500+ Facebook friends were made via this route.

But I never forgot the reason why I had done all this, and neither did the people I was meeting. "You know so many people Shak, and get on with them. Why aren't you married yet?". For a long while I had no answer - they certainly were amazing people and I did like them all and got on with them. What was the deal?

It's only more recently that I begun to realise what the problem was. To leverage a well used cliché, it wasn't them, it was me. Since I had to essentially change myself to access this wonderful new world, I wasn't finding anyone who matched up to the person I really was. In short, by looking in a place that wasn't me, I was looking in the wrong place.

And this all becomes evident each time one of my new friends shows surprise when I describe the type of marriage (and so, wife) I want: "But that's so boring Shak! You go out all the time and love to socialise and travel and do new things and achieve - why would you want to throw that all away for a life you don't lead now?". Of course the answer is that it wouldn't really be that different, not really. It would simply be returning to who I really was.

But just to be clear here, this isn't really about marriage, but more about defining who I am. If it's a boring and introverted guy who prefers to stay in than out then I should just accept, and more importantly, be that. No one should live life as someone they're not.

And so I find myself slowly regressing, even before any explicit acknowledgements of realising who or what I am. I fully expect to settle into a life of work-home-tv-pray-eat-family-sleep now that I have a job. And you know what? I can't wait.

Of course many will accuse me of simply having had my fill, or even being disingenuously selective in saying what I like. And in many ways these accusations are essentially correct - perhaps I'm just bored of what life has to offer or over-emphasising what I want? Maybe I'm just taking for granted a lifestyle many would sacrifice their first-born for[1].

To be sure: I won't sit at home all the time, certainly not to the extent I was doing so before, but I will be more discerning and less reluctant to just stay in - a balance if you will? The point is that I won't miss the lifestyle I've enjoyed over the past few years and certainly won't be chasing or maintaining it. Whatever the case, this transition does actually feel like a return to the place I've always known and wanted to be in.

[1]excuse the in-joke


  1. I think the value of a simple life is vastly underestimated.

  2. I guess everyone is different. Just 'cos I'm an old fart doesn't mean everyone else has to be :)

  3. Interesting..

    I've recently been looking in London Zoo for a husband..

  4. lol @ Sharmin.

    Nothing wrong with being ShidaShada

    (trasnlated literally (in sylhetti) means a white idiot, but thats not the sentiment >_< )

  5. Oh look, another Bengali trying to lay claim to a Hindi/Urdu phrase...

  6. what's there to claim?