Skip to main content

Advice for the young at heart

As S pointed out in the comments section of the previous post, its been 2 months since I have written here. Mind you, it is not as if life has been mundane in that period. On the contrary, as I type this, I feel like one of those unfortunate animals that gets caught in washing machines and somehow survives - much lighter, ragged and half-dead.

Being struck by serious illness is never a laughing matter. When I did fall very badly ill in September, I was thankful to have a helpful room mate around. The situation had reached one of those hairy impasses where I was delirious with fever and consequently rather reluctant to get out of bed. Had it not been for A, my roomie, you'd have probably heard all about it in one of those stories that frequently make it to the papers - "Foul smell, neighbours complain, cops break door down, discover..." or something like that. It was touch and go, but a couple of weeks convalescing at home in Pune got the train back on the rails. Only to have it miraculously  derail thanks to the stresses and ornery machinations of work. All pretty exhausting, really.

The dust is finally starting to settle, just as the sights, sounds and buzz of Diwali is upon us. The timing feels especially poignant, since its the festival of lights that signals the dispelling of darkness, the welcoming of prosperity and change and what-have-you. One of the nicer traditions of this festival is that we're expected to buy ourselves new clothing, to be worn on the big day. However, this involves shopping which, to be perfectly honest, is not really a favourite activity for most guys. I like to keep the experience as efficient as a commando operation - identify target, get in, execute and get out, without fuss.

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't we supposed to be in the throes of recession, inflation, massive petrol price hikes and other portents of doom? Then why the hell are there so many cars and bikes ferrying numerous portly ladies and gents to malls and other stores? I would say we should be exercising prudence in general, but seeing the behemoths that pass for people these days sailing around stores squawking for one size larger or stuffing just one more pani-puri down their boa constrictoresque maws... well, its a lost cause. And the prices; Heaven help us. I understand that the Lee's, Levis and other 'brands' have been around for a while. But I'm from a generation that used to pay Rs. 2 for a vada pav and Rs. 400 for stonewashed Newport jeans. So the idea of paying anything between Rs. 1700 - 3000 for a pair of jeans or a shirt, no matter how venerable the name, is just not on for me. As the current Levi advertisement says "Your life is your life." Buying one of their products would make my life theirs. Or a couple of vital organs at the least. Visiting shops and seeing the various malls and the swarming mobs therein, I can see how commercialised it has become; this, the most family-oriented & fuzzily warm festival of them all.   

We went to a place called the Mega Mart, where most of the assistants took the philosophy behind the name to heart and were incredibly rude or blasé, which put me off instantly. I get that its a fuck-all job, with low pay and little to no satisfaction. The hajaar customers are annoyingly Indian. But guy, being sarcastic and haughty isn't doing you or the shop any favours. Naturally, I mentally flipped him the bird and went elsewhere. I haven't bought a pair of jeans in almost 4 years and while I covet a pair of Levis, I'm much happier buying Live-In, which fit better, age well and allow me to get 2 for a price of one of the royal denims, with spare change left over.

As I think back to the past couple of months, weeks and even today, I can't help but hope that the chaos ends soon and some peace, joy and happiness are around the corner. In this day and age, we could all use a generous helping of these.

Happy Diwali all.

Song for the moment: This time tomorrow - The Kinks

Comments

loved reading after a long time!
happy diwali to you and your family :)
G said…
Hey! Welcome back, and happy diwali to you too.

Isn't it about time you started posting again?
Gobri said…
Ouch! I feel miserable posting that comment now. Hope you are all better. The tone of the post suggests you are :)
I stand by the comment when you are feeling well though.
G said…
@ Gobri - What 'ouch'? :) Chivvying comments are most welcome, I tell you. Procrastinating is way too easy.
k said…
"I like to keep the experience as efficient as a commando operation - identify target, get in, execute and get out, without fuss." - Well said and it works splendidly for me too!
G said…
@ k - The art of shopping by men distilled and refined for maximum efficiency :)

Popular posts from this blog

Night Boat

I usually don't write honest pieces. They're true to facts but I tend to lather my emotions and thoughts with a heavy dose of attempted humour or misdirection. This post deserves some raw emotional honesty, though.

Yesterday, 29th August, a Tuesday (or should I say, another Tuesday) was about me making choices. It was raining quite heavily when I left for office, sheeted down the windows of the train throughout the 1-hour journey to Churchgate and kept going with renewed intensity by the time I made it to the entrance, looking verily like something that had drowned in a gutter and lain there a while before being discovered by a cat and dragged in. I made the choice to go to work as I suspected my boss would be there and not because I wanted to go.

I was right about my boss but that cardiac fizz of being right flattened out rather rapidly once I realised, around 11:30 am, that no one else from my team of 20 had bothered to make a similar effort. And, some of these guys live 5 …

Last of my kind

(This post hasn't come out as well as I wanted. But I'm still pissed off, so.)

Why do we have heroes? What is it about someone that triggers a decision to nail our colours to their mast? I don't have a neat answer so what you read from here on is both an explanation and an exploration. In a post-modern world driven by counter-points, certainty is a luxury.

I missed the boat when it came to India's ODI cricket madness. We moved abroad in the late 80s. When I left, my friends and I wanted to be Kapil, Kris or Sunil. When I returned, god was getting comfortable on his heavenly couch and all was right with a world I did not recognise. I had missed Sachin's opening batsman debut against New Zealand, the hullabaloo of the Hero Cup and other notable moments. So, I was interested in cricket, not any particular sportsman. Not even during the '96 World Cup. When India muffed it against Sri Lanka, I hurt for the team, not for a player.

Then came Dravid. And, personally, …

Let her go

Have you noticed how we throw things out a lot more than before? Of course, city-dwellers like us have more, now that disposable incomes are the norm. Does it also allow us to dispose of things so easily? I was the object of much mirth/ridicule at work today because I wanted to get a golf umbrella repaired. One colleague wondered if it was worth the effort, another asked why I did not just buy a different one while others chuckled when they realised neither of these thoughts had occurred to me. I trudged off, wondering if they were right. What exactly was driving me to take the trouble?

I think back to to the 80s and living in my Thatha's (grandpa) house. Today's 'use-and-throw' culture would have shocked him to the core. The man was the epitome of prudence. Since we weren't exactly floating in doubloons, the family followed suit. Thatha wore the same watch for over 50 years. A small umbrella, bought by my mother with her first salary, was well on its way to becom…