A Different Kind of Drama Queen has been edited by Abha Mehra.
As a young, decent looking, Indian girl who lived abroad for a while, absolutely every conversation I have had with Indians I used to know has this one perfunctory question: How much sex have you had?/ Have you had sex?
(Or basically, anything to do with sex.)
I think it is because people feel trapped in the confinements of their homes and societies. Perhaps, they believe that people severe all the strings of attachment if they exist ‘somewhere in the west’. There is a high chance people think then the first thing anyone would do is ‘unleash their wild side’. Maybe it works for some people but as far as I understand it, that’s really not how—life or even sex—works. If not anything else, you are probably just going to be too busy to have that much sex.
Anyway, coming back to the point: people have this uncanny curiosity to know if I have had sex. If so, then how much? Have I had boyfriends? Dramatic break-ups? Tumultuous relationships, bitter fights, and a crazy one night stand? You see, these things I think, seem riveting to people and that is why they want to know. We, as a society glorify drama to the point where it is actually just melodrama. Maybe television started it but now, our glassy-eyed selves want our real lives to look like romantic dramas because it has a nice aesthetic.
More importantly, we crave to know the drama—or what we tell ourselves it is—of other people’s lives. It’s the same want that has kept cheap tabloids and celebrity gossip channels in business. And the reason why paparazzi can make entire livelihoods out of sneaking pictures of Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber being a couple like any other.
For the record, I actually do not mind answering these questions. It is just that I doubt the people asking them are mere gossip-mongers and I refuse to become a walking version of the Daily Mail.
Everyone is interested in an eventful life; apparently, the one that is full of love and sex. They expect me to have a life like a late nineties romantic movie, with me completely answering to society’s obsession for melodrama. They want to know if I have drama in my life, and they want to sit wide-eyed and listen to every shocking detail. Why? So that they have something to think about while whiling away their time. Our lives fall down to something to pass moral judgment on or to feel like they are part of a situation that they would like to be in. Or somehow entangle themselves into it also, to feel like they too are cool enough to have dramatic lives.
Every middle school girl in the world aspires to live a life full of drama—boyfriend issues, friend issues, phenomenal levels of stress and insecurity, anger management issues—the entire gamut so that she feels like she has a full life. So did I, and out of personal experience, I will have you know it is an awful idea.
So, for a while now, I have been of the mind that I do not want to have anything to do with drama as I would much rather be happy and emotionally stable. This is common sage in fact, but let us be honest—something about this idea does not sound too appetising. If all we wanted was no drama then why do we spend our lives aspiring to it? Does this mean we should all start living boring lives now? Wouldn’t that be monotonous? Is that something to volunteer ourselves into? Would that keep us happy? What about emotions, hormones, and reactions? The glorification of being human?
Then it struck me – I do want drama. Just not the kind everyone wants me to have. I want things to happen to me, major highs and lows, I want to experience things. I want to be surprised, I want to be lucky, and I want life to blow the wind out of me at times. I want to be scared and I want to overcome fear. I have strong ambition and I want to feel whatever it feels like to run after it. I am passionate and I want to feel whatever that feels like.
I do not want to bring drama upon myself for no reason. I do not want to make a big deal out of trivial things that I know to deal with better. I do not want to date a guy who I know is bad for me just so I can complain about the break-up. I do not want my boyfriend to cheat on me just so I can throw a tantrum or earn sympathy. I do not want to not care about bad influences just so I can excuse my bad behaviour later on.
To sum it up, middle school Ranjini was right, she needed drama to feel like she has a full life. I want drama but, a drama that is worthwhile and leads me somewhere, not just melodrama. (Most people’s drama is just melodrama that is being dealt with in an immature manner.)
I want the drama that impacts me as a person, not something that is put out for people to see because it has a nice aesthetic. I want drama, but the drama of war not the drama of a cocktail party. I won’t answer to other people’s questions about drama in my life based on some second-grade romantic movie; I’ll live my own drama and make it worth a first-grade movie!
To read more by the author of A Different Kind of Drama Queen, click here.