I am not what you think I am. I am not anti-social. I am just not comfortable. And that is the only reason, I choose to not accompany you guys at lunch. I would rather sit and work during the lunch hours at my work station, counting the strokes of the clock’s second hand. Gulping water and filling up my hungry stomach waiting for you guys to come back from lunch, so that I could have the entire break out zone to myself later when I eat my lunch, I wish I didn’t suffer from this condition. Yeah, it is a condition. May be a lot of you don’t know about it, and I am not pretty sure if the school of medical science acknowledges it as a disorder either, but I suffer from misophonia.

Now you know I am not kidding.

can-i-eat-in-my-corset

I just can’t deal with your eating, or rather, the gross sound that you make while chewing your sumptuous meal in public. I just can’t handle it. It’s like I am just about to put my first morsel in my mouth and you start abruptly. And you continue with that highly abhor-rising sound of crunching, smacking and slurping throughout my mealtime. To add to it, you will chew with your mouth wide open. And leave every step of your food breaking down into pieces, smearing with your saliva and turning into a sloppy semi-solid paste up in the open in for public display.

How do I tell you that, perhaps there is no one in the vicinity who enjoys that sight?

It drives me so mad, all I want to do is to rush into the washroom and throwing my intestines up.  For those who think I am too hooked on to the good old school of manners and lecture me that it is okay to be a little casual and at ease when among friends, all I have to say is, I am not rude and intolerant to social warmth. I am just intolerant to grossness. Am I wrong?
And this is not only about the office cafeteria. The likes of you chase me in every wedding I go to. And then comes my mom, introducing me to the long trail of relatives I have never come across in the last 28 years of my life. Chances of meeting these people ever again during the rest of my life are pretty slim too. Yet, I need to be sitting alongside of this brigade of unfamiliar faces at dinner. Never have I been able to enjoy one splendid dinner at any grand Indian weddings I have attended so far. And if the ear gorging sound of your devour accompanied by the visual aid of the food being gloated through you isn’t enough, there is the dramatic hand licking scene to go with it.

You mash the rice and the curry using your hands, smear up till your arms, and extend that tongue out of your mouth to lick up every drop of curry on your hand.

How difficult is it to understand that the one you present to your co-diners isn’t the most pleasant scene for their eyes! This scene can produce some serious ramifications, like for example, shutting down the onlooker’s appetite – FOREVER.

Healthy-eating

I know even these relatives study my facial expression of disgust and later I hear that I am a boastful, cocky and spoilt brat who has failed my parents’ upbringing. May be that is what you all opine of me, absolutely oblivious to your own inexistent social manners. I do not intend to just keep ranting against your eating habits. I take the blame on myself. But I really expect you all to be a kind enough and understanding towards me. Guess you all are normal people, not suffering from any disorders like me.

Have you given a thought to the fact that it has been ages since I enjoyed a meal at a social gathering with those whose company I enjoy the most – YOU, YOU ALL!

It’s a pain. All I request you for is some, if not more, table manners. Something that we had been taught at nursery – not to make that disgusting sound while chewing.
If you are eating chips or popcorn, I totally get it, but I fail my understanding of how you manage to produce that amplified sound even while eating something as soft as plain roti and dal. If for once you sit in front of the mirror and look at yourself while relishing that yummy chicken curry, look inside your mouth and see how your crushed morsels look, I am sure your heart will empathise with me.

You will understand what I had to put up with for a really long time, and what exactly I am running from since then.

You still have questions on my social skills, please feel free to ask. And I will look forward to sharing my lunch box with you the next time.
This was originally published here