Met a suave gentleman yesterday in connection with some paper-work related to Tissayra.

On my behalf, this gentleman (an advocate) had applied for some permissions/ registrations with some government departments. When he sent the forms to me to be filled out, I noticed that he had pre-filled some of the columns. For one, he had given his own email ID instead of mine. Naturally, I wanted it changed; and did so.

He wasn’t pleased at all, which was fine with me. A busy woman like me hasn’t time to go about pleasing people. If they choose to be offended when no offense is meant, who am I to interfere?

The process duly moved forward and I received a mail from the government department. The covering mail informed me that the attached document was an acknowledgement receipt of my application. I so informed the advocate.

For some reason unbeknownst to me, the gentlemen was peeved.

“What!?”, he exclaimed. “YOU’VE got a mail?”

His tone of voice suggested that getting a no-reply automated mail from an officious government department was the most disreputable thing for me to have permitted. Somehow, the fault was mine. Almost like the fault is of the victim of molestation.

“Yes”, I said, rubbing it in. “I got the mail.”

“Have you downloaded the certificate?”

“There is a PDF attached to the mail, is that the certificate?”

“No, no”, he replied testily. “You have to download from a link.”

“There is no link in the mail”, I informed him politely.

“Oh, I’ll have to come over and download the thing for you”, he declared, every syllable dripping ridicule. “This is why I prefer giving my own email id. People don’t know how to download simple things”, was his parting shot.

He arrived yesterday morning, all exasperated and annoyed in advance.

I showed him the mail on my phone and asked him to spot the link. He looked high and low; couldn’t find it. I didn’t smirk.

“Don’t you have a system?” he asked most offensively. Mind you, this ‘gentlemen’ is barely out of his diapers.

Humbly, I placed my laptop in front of his august eyes.

“Open your mail account!” he ordered imperiously.

I opened it.

“Let me see it”, he commanded.

What! See my mails? WT……!!! Quelling my rude inner talk and resisting the urge to bash the gentleman’s brains in, I turned the laptop so that the screen faced him.

For a full seven minutes, he pottered about trying to locate the offending mail. Since I receive over 50 mails daily, all organized in seven different tabs, there was no way he would have found anything. I noted maliciously that it never occurred to him to use the search bar.

Stupidity is a talent for misconception.
~Edgar Allan Poe

With each minute, he got more and more flustered. Then, like the clueless petulant brat he was, he said, “Where is that mail?”

I looked at him innocently and said, “I don’t know! Its there on the phone! Is it supposed to be on Gmail too?!”

No one looking at me would have any doubt that I was the biggest ninny on earth.

“If it is on the phone, it has to be here too”, he replied in disgust.

“May I look?” I asked. He made an eloquent face.

“This is why I give my email ID in forms. Clients don’t know how to do the simplest things.”

I located the mail for him in the 13 seconds flat, opened it and turned the laptop towards him. He went up and down without once wondering how I found something he couldn’t. There was nary a link in the mail. I could see he was going up the wall. I looked on, polite admiration of his prowess writ large on my face.

“Why is there an OTP in the mail?”I asked. “Are you supposed to login with it somewhere?”

“Errrmm…. ahh… ummm…. I don’t understand what the OTP is for”, he admitted helplessly.

“It is there for you to login to the official site to complete the process. That is when the download link will be sent. You are yet to finish the application.”

He sat staring at the screen abjectly. It was really very sad to see. Hopeless, if you know what I mean.

“Shall I forward the mail to you?” I asked kindly.

The idea had never occurred to him. He clutched at the straw.

“Yes!” he breathed ecstatically. “I’ll go through it at my office.”

“You could have told me to do that on phone. Then you need not have come all the way to my house”, I said, rubbing salt into his wound. He gave me a look so lethal in its malevolence that if I were not made of sterner stuff I should have fallen dead right away. I didn’t, of course.

He started to get up an go. But I had to straighten a few things out for him first. Kindness demanded it of me.

Aristotle maintained that women have fewer teeth than men; although he was twice married, it never occurred to him to verify this statement by examining his wives’ mouths.

~ Bertrand Russell

“Listen, you know what, there are a few things you must understand before you go. Normally I don’t bother, but hopefully you’ll be handling some of my paper work for a few years. It will help us both if certain things are clarified.

“I am not going to be one of your ‘normal, average’ clients. I am aware that your ‘normal’ category is male, has little or no familiarity with English and is completely fuddled around computers. With me, none of these handicaps are applicable.

“I am a woman; I am super fluent  in English and my knowledge of computers is older than you. Do NOT, therefore, assume that I am dumb (because I’m a woman), or ignorant (‘cause I can’t read a mail written in English) or that I don’t know how to download a form (because I don’t know how computers work). I run an online business, your last assumption is therefore, particularly ludicrous. I breathe the Internet. Is that perfectly clear?”

(The above sounded absolutely delicious when delivered in chaste, pure Hindi.)

The man tottered out with a stricken look, without so much as a nod. I escorted him out courteously and waved to him.

I never could stand any Misconceptions about my own person.