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|Volume 11 |Issue 37| September 21, 2012 ||
Snub or be Snubbed
Aasha Mehreen Amin
The worst thing about public snubbing is not so much the personal insult one has to digest in a few seconds and compose one's facial expression into a glib, 'I don't care' look before walking away. It's the fact that people are around you when that happens – sniggering if you're not friends with them or blushing scarlet with embarrassment on your behalf if they are.
At a swanky party where you already feel like a fish out of water as soon as you arrive, some vaguely familiar dilettante, after blowing the customary kisses in the air, may comment: “Oh darling, what happened to your skin? You really should take care at your age.” For most of us this kind of unwarranted jab at one's ego bubble, will leave us tongue-tied and brain dead. It is only hours later, after fuming and frothing that we can think of an appropriate comeback: “Oh you know I can't afford botox like you, poor thing, they didn't really do a good job did they? Ahare!”
Political snubbing is similar to party politics. Some feel snubbed and rightly so, for not being asked by the host to be one of the chief organisers to decide on the caterers and decorators, despite being her uncle's age and giving so many years of loyal support to her family. Others feel snubbed as they are invited when the party is almost over and has turned out to be a bit of a flop. Some go anyway, just because they have nothing better to do or because they may cash in on the last few hours by making important contacts for the future; free booze, for the guzzling kind, is also a big incentive. Some will indignantly turn down the invitation thereby snubbing the host and getting her all paranoid thinking that they will throw another smashing party any time soon and not invite her.
It goes without saying that sometimes people deserve the snubbing they get. When some dimwitted fool you have barely interacted with from a different department gets too personal and says things like: Ajke apnake khub shundor lagchhe (you look very pretty today), the first instinct may be to just punch his nose. But of course in these civilised times you don't do that, in the office anyway. So the only thing you can do is narrow your eyebrows and look at him with contempt and say, “Do you work here? Which department?” Sadly if he is dimwitted then he will not get it; the snub is too subtle for his empty yet lecherous head. If you have the courage you can slice him up with a lecture on how dare he make such personal observations and that they could cost him his job if you decide to complain to the Big Boss. Usually we are too polite to say out loud such cold truths and hence cool snubbing is the only way. Pretending he does not exist when you see him, ignoring his greetings and talking to the person next to him without acknowledging his presence could get the message through – after a few years.
It's funny though how snubbing can even take international proportions. Countries snub each other through reciprocal, ridiculous, visa restrictions for the other's citizens or by refusing to lower trade tarrifs, hoarding their water, giving refuge to another country's criminals and vetoing against another country, say its right to exist even, at the UN Security Council. Sometimes the snubbing can go a bit too far and lead to major global crises –like a war where most people have forgotten what had instigated the initial snubbing in the first place.
Then there is snubbing just for the sake of snubbing, because you can. There are individuals who, for reasons best known to them, will constantly put on an air of superiority and devote most of their life to snubbing people and putting them into their place. They are officially called 'snobs' and don't like humans in general. They will shower their love on the cat or give pedicures to their poodle but when it comes to fellow humans, they are colder than dry ice and will treat them with disdain, shooting one snub after the other until their victims shrivel up and disappear. For obvious reasons, these professional snubbers are often recluses as very few sane humans will venture into such Siberian territory, voluntarily.