I’ll be frank, when I started this column, the aim was absolutely clear. I wrote it to make the world a better place. By the third line of the first column, I gave up that idea. Now the aim is a little different. It is to tell a story. Mind you, somebody else’s story, without that somebody finding out. We do this in two possible ways: (a) Keep the readership down, and (b) Tell stories about people who don’t read. Luckily, the latter is about 97% of Earth’s population.
So, here’s a story about someone who will never read this column. Her name is ‘my wife’. (The writer is not comfortable sharing her first name Ayesha, as in the case of someone forwarding this article on WhatsApp. And as everyone knows everybody, the whole world’s populations, compulsorily and mandatorily, read WhatsApp forwards). So, please don’t belabour this point with me. On a matter of the highest principle, I refuse to name my wife Ayesha in this article.
A few of you may not have registered this, but, the past week, Diwali was celebrated. As a consequence of Diwali, we, in Mumbai, inherited a five-day break. This break is very interesting on a personal level. As someone who is on a break workwise, this second break, or shall we say break from a break, was as welcome as Shreyas Iyer batting at number four for India. People erroneously think that if you are on a ‘break’, the last thing you will need is another break. However, the truth is quite the opposite. Never does one feel so in need of a break when they are already caught in the coattails of an existing break.
Now, let’s move this story along, er… geographically. My wife decided to take us out on the break to a place called Alibaug. Of course, the place we stayed in was not Alibaug, but miles away from the actual Alibaug. You may have noticed this as a quaint Indian custom. In Mumbai, we have New Cuffe Parade, which is miles away from Cuffe Parade, and if you set off on foot from Cuffe Parade to New Cuffe Parade, you will never find it.
Navi Mumbai is closer to Delhi than Mumbai. Mangaluru is more than just an alphabet away from Bengaluru. This place we went to for the break, turned out to be high-maintenance. I mean, what kind of break is it if you make your own bed, food and chai, and keep in mind, I don’t even drink chai. Then spend the day plucking nimbus (lemons) from a nimbu tree. I mean, who even knew nimbus grew on trees. Like all educated, professional urban males, I presumed they grew on carts in markets, or shelves in supermarkets.
But, the final coup de grâce (excuse my er… French), was the company. In the evening, we’d join an extended group of revellers. The only issue was the age factor. Its very hard to have a riveting conversation when the other party is saying, ‘Sorry, I didn’t catch that?’, ‘Pardon?’, ‘What did you say?’, ‘Huh?’ and my favourite, ‘Are you the waiter’? And please don’t call me an ageist, I’m over 50, so it would be a clear case of the pot rightfully calling the kettle black.
The only question left to answer now is, ‘Do I need a break from the break I took from the break’?