Making a list of a few of your favourite things, as Julie Andrews belted out in The Sound of Music, can be instinctive. The opposite comes just as naturally to most of us. And it’s a great way to let off steam. Read on…
You are in a restaurant. You can’t wait for the waiter to bring the crisp, piping hot ghee roast dosa that you ordered. The aroma, as it’s placed on your table, is heavenly. Till an acquaintance arrives and waves at you from a distance. You initially pretend not to notice him but as the gesturing picks up, you nod and flash half a smile and are about to dig in to your delicacy. But Mr. Kill Joy walks up to your table for some small talk. That’s his ‘starter’ because he hasn’t placed his order.
How could he so soon, having just walked out of the rest room. I guess there were no tissues inside or our acqaintance isn’t carrying his handkerchief. Who cares, a handshake with you will do the trick! After a ‘sole’ stirring conversation, your dosa turns cold and limp. Our considerate bloke notices it and graciously excuses himself, with a “don’t want to come between you and your hot breakfast.” The parting shot is when he asks for “a quick selfie” and you are forced to smile.
Your New Year Resolution to exercise regularly hits a milestone in June. But there are millstones in the park where you walk. They come in different shapes, sizes and ages. I have often wondered why perfectly rational, normal, civilised, educated folks forget their civic sense when they are part of a group. Common sense is another casualty. Four or five people stroll along blocking the entire pathway, engrossed in animated conversation about how the media ‘presstitutes’ must be shot or why Dhoni did not play a particular shot or how, ironically, we must all have a greater sense of responsibility.
You try to slink past them through a sliver of space but like autorickshaw drivers, they swerve without any indication. How you wish pedestrians too had indicators! And horns! As you console yourself that it’s all part of the game, another walker with an I Pod and fidgeting with his phone almost collides with you from the opposite direction. How about One Way Traffic too inside Parks?
You are a stickler for prompt payments. But good old BSNL decides to test your patience. A bill is not sent, does not reflect in your online banking page but you are greeted with a text message “Your number is due for disconnection. If you have paid your bill, please ignore this message.” Like King Herod’s order to kill all new born male babies to get to Jesus, telecom’s ugly duckling chooses to do a surgical strike against all its subscribers with the intention of ‘reminding’ a small section of those who are yet to pay up. What if all subscribers register complaints about phones malfunctioning and when contacted, inform BSNL to ignore the message if their phones are actually working? After three attempts, BSNL gets the sarcasm in your tweet, as it needs to pierce through their optic fibre cables. An executive calls you to check if ‘all is well’, 3 Idiots style! You confirm that ‘Aal Izz indeed well’. Soon enough, there’s a prize waiting for you. A tweet revealing your unlisted number and acknowledging your suggestion not to threaten customers in a service industry. Connecting people, connecting lives.
Poor Rich Organisers
You have earned your spurs as a speaker. And are in demand for many intellectual events. The hosts rattle off their long list of sponsors. The grand seminar or conference is to be held at a 5 star hotel. There is entertainment, food, celeb hopping and the paparazzi. You are approached to moderate a discussion or deliver the keynote address. Mind you, the organisers are not your buddies, but facebook ‘friends’ at best. Along with the invitation, a confession is slipped in” “We are a Not For Profit” club. What about the bevy of blue chip sponsors? “Oh that is only to cover our costs!” What costs? “Music, stage decorations, printing of invitations, designing of banners…” Ok. What’s the USP of this event? “To bring the finest minds and speakers on one platform.” Ah! So no budget for the main ‘ingredient’! “No, no. You are welcome to join us for dinner. We will also be honouring you with a recycled shawl (we are enviro friendly too) a plaque and a big applause.” When I last checked, the scrap dealer refused to take these plaques that incidentally have most of the space dedicated to branding of the ‘not for profit’ saviours.
If you invest your life savings in property, this is inescapable! The builder would promise you staggering rental income that would more than offset your monthly loan installments. But the market will ride piggyback on Murphy’s Laws and nosedive. Finding a tenant would be more onerous than getting a bride or groom! When you do, the expectations begin. “Is it furnished?” Partly. “Acs, washing machine, TV, furniture, RO water?” Errr. Not really. Just wardrobes, fans and lights.
But what’s the rent you are willing to pay for a 3 BHK? “15K including maintenance. For 3 bachelors.” Wow. Given the water scarcity, maintenance will soon be higher than rent! As for the generous offer, your conscience may egg you on to offer groceries, perhaps even a 7 course buffet everyday. How about a chauffer driven Cadillac?
Resemblance to anyone is strictly intentional!
(Sanjay Pinto is an Advocate practising at the Madras High Court, a Columnist, Author, TV Political Analyst, Public Speaking Mentor & Former Resident Editor – NDTV 24×7)