This post was written on December 8.
How would you typically respond to the question: ‘how are you?’
Chances are, you’d say ‘I’m good.’ Or, for you grammar-conscious people out there, you might say ‘I am well.’ Or if your day hasn’t been so fabulous, perhaps you’d say ‘I’m okay’, or ‘I’m alright.’ If it’s been a REALLY good day, you might say ‘I’m great!’
In Kerala, however, there is only one answer to the question ‘how are you?’ I would be willing to bet that 999 times out of 1,000 (I would say 1,000 out of 1,000, but hey, you’ve got to account for the one person who doesn’t know even this basic phrase in English and stares at you blankly), ANYONE will automatically respond with the same 3 words, without fail, every time: I am fine.
In the US, if someone says ‘I am fine,’ they probably mean that they are NOT fine. But here, there seems to be only one state of being: fine.
Frankly, I have grown to hate this word. The reason that I had to say ‘love/hate’ in the title, however, is that now I’ve fallen into the trap, too. I am ‘fine.’ When someone asks me ‘how are you?’, it has become an automatic response: I am fine. Even if I’m not fine, I say, ‘fine.’ And if I AM in a pleasant mental state that could be likened to fine, I say ‘fine.’ And immediately after think “what is happening to me?! Since when am I ‘fine’?’!?!”
I guess I’ve got to face the fact that ‘fine’ is going to be part of my life for the next 7 months. However, I very much look forward to, 7 months from now, being ‘good’ once again. I’d even settle for alright. Or not-so-good. Anything but FINE.
One of these days, maybe I’ll tell someone I’m spec-freaking-tacular. At least I’ll know what I mean.
Update: Just so you know…all of the above is only written in mock annoyance. …Sort of :)
“Some people confuse acceptance with apathy, but there's all the difference in the world. Apathy fails to distinguish between what can and what cannot be helped; acceptance makes that distinction. Apathy paralyzes the will-to-action; acceptance frees it by relieving it of impossible burdens.” -Arthur Gordon