Confession: I am not the perfect drama queen.
I cannot picture anyone rushing to reassure me on my above conclusion, which I reached through intense self - reflection, but I can picture a few puzzled expressions, as to what the point of my article is.
Well, having been an attention seeking drama queen for a good a few years now (well decades actually) I have come to the realization that I am an ordinary one. And I am wallowing in the despair of being a cliché.
And I am inconsistent. I vacillate between being a drama queen and a cynic. That confuses some people. They never know quite how to react to my drama or my cynicism, and even I cannot predict what I will be in between, so I can imagine their bewilderment. As a result of this confusion, I am losing audience numbers. For a drama queen, that is not good news.
Therefore, I have resolved to make a concerted effort to improve my standards of dramabaji. As I am an assiduous student by nature, I have read some novels and plays, and watched a number of films and miniseries for inspiration.
I have made notes, and have devised a plan on how to transform myself from an ordinary drama queen to a distinctive victim. All drama queens are not equal; some are more equal than others. And to be the most equal of them all one has to play the victim to perfection.
It is at this point that some of my readers have begun “who?” ing. I advise them to banish all the “who” thoughts. This article is about me. I am attention seeking. Why would I use my space to deflect attention on any other being?(Elementary, my dears)
If I love drama and attention so much why do I not consider taking up performing on screen as a profession, or the theatre?
Firstly, because that would demonstrate agency, which women are not meant to have, and opting for a creative profession would invite censure from certain elements of society (the elements that are available to give me attention).
Secondly, because becoming a successful artiste requires sacrifice and commitment and hard work which I am not agreeable to; and it involves being critiqued or criticized or sometimes even ridiculed, and I could not tolerate that.
Therefore, I have settled for becoming a social drama queen; and I intend to portray that certain people around me always treat me unfairly on account of my mere existence.
That will be a win-win situation. You see, I have observed two recurring themes in society: suffering and scoring. To tolerate suffering is considered a virtue. Therefore if I continuously suffer, I will be a good person. I will allow others to project their problems onto me as well. They will be relieved that they can openly talk and discuss my issues while concealing theirs.
And, they will be given the opportunity to score too, as they can express disavowal and feel better about themselves. They will get ample chances to state they have never heard of anyone having my problems or they are so glad to be themselves and not me. How lucky they are and how unfortunate I am! Poor me. That is how I can feel special.
At first I need to phase out my cynicism. That will not be easy, but it will have to be done.
Then I need to become more aware about how I speak. I do not need to change anything in my life to be a victim. I just need to frame the relevant circumstances as misfortunes. If I start with my birth, if I question whether I was created and sent into this world to suffer, then that is sure to hit the right note. If there is any aspect of my life that I cannot present as being painful, it is best I deny it occurred.
Then, I need to start demonstrating my suffering. This is the age of visual dominance, and simply uttering a few sentences of misery will not do. Words need to be accompanied by expressions to be effective, and therefore it is essential I enact out my agony in social spaces.
I am not sure how playing a victim will affect my conscience though. I have observed the fate of real victims, how people have condemned them, dissected their lives and blamed them for their problems; how their relatives and friends have turned against them; how they have faced contempt instead of congratulations for successfully negotiating their way out of troubled waters.
Will my conscience ask me whether I should make a mockery out of the lives of those who really suffer? At this point I cannot say. All I know is that by playing a victim I will receive attention and sympathy, and I will be absolved from criticism. That is all I care about. No pain, no gain.
Chintamoni grew up in Dhaka, where she will always belong, but never quite fit in. She is an enthusiastic traveller, a compulsive procrastinator, and a contumelious raconteur.