When someone says ‘Hey don’t tell this to anyone’, in my head it sounds like ‘Hey I have planted a bomb under this building’. Most people try to sound scary when they trust another person with their secret. And this secret is relevant only to them, so they could actually save the drama part.
To be honest, keeping someone’s secret was a big deal in my school and college days. Like in school the biggest secret used to be :
‘Did you know why Sweta teacher dint come yesterday? She is pregnant!!’
‘Can you believe it? Pregnant!!Now don’t tell anyone ’
The fact that I dint care one bit about her pregnancy as long as we got a free hour was something my friends probably dint get. That Sweta teacher is a happily married woman and is pregnant with her second child and in a few weeks her bump is definitely going to show is a fact that did not deter the person breaking the news sound any less dramatic.
Then was college and secrets got spicy and scandalous like ‘Do you know that Ashok is two timing her? Don’t tell anyone’ or ‘That guy cheated in University Exam.. He actually told me not to tell anyone…but you don’t tell anyone okay?’. Well some secrets stayed, I forgot others, and when that person comes later and tells me the continuation of the earlier secret I get completely lost, but still manage to pretend rather convincingly. I was no exception I told some secrets too which some friends dint think qualified enough to be a ‘secret’ so they laughed over it at the bakery.
Well after that there was a long hiatus to secrecy in general. I was job hunting . During that time the only secret about me was that I was jobless and this secret was not kept by anyone. And the only secret I had was that I was cursing anyone who set their nosey business in my life and had the guts to ask’ Did you find a job YET ?’.
Well later came love and then marriage and then there were no secrets. We had a lot of friends who were couples and we hung out, and in a couple years there was such a dearth of secrets that I forgot the entire concept of secrecy altogether. This is what marriage does to you. Single friends don’t share anything anymore, because couples discuss everything, including that of the single friend. So basically I dint know anything about anyone anymore. I came to know that some erstwhile close friends were ‘In a relationship’ or ‘married’ or ‘blessed with a baby’ from Facebook.
But now there seems to be a whole new level of secrets. Like in my building a kid fell down and hurt her elbow, and her parents were keeping the matter top secret. However the child fell down in a public place and everyone knew it but no one was allowed to probe further into the updates of the incident. However being a working woman I am completely unaware of the secrets in my building and went ahead and asked that lady:
‘How’s your daughter?’
And she was like ‘Why?’
I went on to ask…’She fell down or something na?’
She: ‘How did you know?’
Well ‘She is fine’ would have been a perfect answer to my first question, but the lady was hell bent to know who told me. My eyes told me…my eyes!! I saw her when she fell! And are kids not supposed to fall down? I really din’t know this …I fell down like thousands of times in my childhood and even have three stitches at the back of my head which the entire district of Trivandrum knows about. And now you know it too.
Other highly guarded examples of secrets are ‘Have you seen Deepika’s daughter? She was adopted…Shh don’t tell a single soul’ ‘or ‘Did you know Mahesh’s son was so ill he dint attend fourth grade exams? He may have to lose a year…Shh don’t ask them directly’ (This does not mean you can ask them indirectly). But when Deepika’s daughter becomes a topper or Mahesh’s son grows up to crack the IIT - THAT actually is a well-kept secret. Nobody wants to spread that news. And that my friend, is what secrecy is all about.
And then there are others who are extremely secretive about random personal things. Take for example a person who was disturbed about the strange disease her cat suffered from, and then pleaded me not to tell anyone. I was faced with two main dilemmas: 1. Does she think that I may spill this secret to other cats, which in turn will make her cat socially unacceptable?
2. Suppose I tell this to people…how do I start? ‘Listen I have a horrible secret to tell…my (unnamed) friend’s cat…’ does this sound like something anyone will be interested to know? Well I still keep the secret. Oh who am I kidding? It completely exited through my other ear.
Well there are real secrets too. The family secrets, and more importantly stuff people share with me because they want to be heard. Like any other secret, these too stay and may be forgotten in the long run, but never does it reach another ear, because I consider it my own.
But in the society we live in, everything is a secret and everyone thinks their lives are suspense thrillers. Like some people lie that they have two more years in Govt. service, but we know that they retired four years ago. Others fake their age even with their best friends. Others don’t divulge any details about their kids who went to study abroad. And among these secrets blooms fake friendship, something that is like a plague in our generation.
Oh and by the way, that cat died.
Dont tell her I told you.