Radhika's Diaries

I see humor in the mundane.

I remembered Julius Caesar when I opened our Gulf newspaper recently, and read a report about how scores  of people were duped by a time-sharing company, into parting with several thousands of their hard-earned dirhams.

How did Caesar come into the picture? Well he didn’t (bless his soul), his words did. “Et tu Brute?” I thought to myself as I read about those hapless people. Why?

Because we (the husband and I, i.e. ) had been in a similar situation with the same company some months ago!! So, while wholeheartedly sympathizing with those people it’s nice to know there are others like us!

It all started when the husband got a congratulatory phone call one fine morning. We  had apparently won a prize – a holiday package and a free dinner voucher!

Tracing it back still further, we can pinpoint the beginning of this saga to when we filled up a couple of forms at a concert we attended. The chap outside the entrance of the auditorium was pretty persistent as he shoved paper and pen beneath our nose and assured us it was for some survey. Just to get rid of him we duly filled in our name, Tel no. and mail id.

Many Full moons later (when we’d forgotten all about it) came the above mentioned phone call. And the guy followed that up with 3 more calls through the day, to remind us to claim our prize that evening!

So we went in our Sunday best. For the prize and for a free dinner!

At the venue it was the Meet & Greet session first where a guy at the counter took down our details – just to confirm, he said, murmuring darkly about imposters and false claimants and all.

We were then escorted to a small Hall for the Presentation Ceremony. But first there would be a brief Counselling session they said. Just a formality they assured us and we followed meekly, innocently, like sheep to a slaughter-house.

Once we entered, as our eyes got adjusted to the scene inside, we noticed there were several other couples seated at small round tables with staff members scouting around like sentinels.

I muttered to the husband that I didn’t have a good feel about the whole thing but the well trained sentinels had already shepherded us to a table and put us in the care of a Deputy Manager and his stooge.

The scheme it turned out was to get people to sign up for time-share contracts which would then award members access to selected hotels worldwide, besides a plethora of other benefits including health insurance, discount vouchers, Gym membership…. for a fee. A hefty one. Of course!

The duo at our table began proceedings with a question/answer session, ostensibly aimed at putting us at our ease and catching us off guard, to sign on the dotted line. The session lasted good and long, in the course of which, the chap shared a lot of his personal stories and asked us a lot of ours; admonished us twice for turning and looking around and once (believe it or not) for not sitting properly with our legs tucked beneath the table! It seemed like it would go on and on! I finally took it upon myself to end it when the conversation moved in this direction…..

He – “So what does Uncle do?”
Uncle (I mean the husband) – “I work in a bank.”
He (turning to me) – “And what about ma’am…. What do you do?”
At this juncture, I could have very well told him the truth like –
“I cook 3 wholesome meals a day – sometimes 4. I wash and clean and keep the house spick and span. Without a maid. I raised a pair of boisterous twin sons. Singlehandedly.”
And more ……..
But instead I said “I’m a house wife.”
And you know what that nincompoop tells me, “Oh I see. Uncle works hard the whole day while you relax at home!”

Well really!!! Grrr…..

If you’ve never seen a dragon before, then that moment you would have right there! I was breathing fire and there was smoke coming out of my ears but …..all of it was wasted on that utter idiot!

To cut a long story short, the more we tried to get up and leave the more they tried to sell us their schemes, none of which convinced nor impressed us.

Finally I got out of the room citing a desperate need to visit the wash room and then flatly refused to get back in again.

And that was how we came out of the whole thing, thanking God that we’d lost nothing more than our time that day and resolving not to be tempted by such offers next time.

And the dinner voucher? Apparently we misunderstood.

So we returned home and we ate dinner – cooked by the house wife. The one who relaxes at home remember!!

:/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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There is no other species in the world as contradictory and confused as humans!

I’ll tell you why I think so and by the end of this blog I’ll have you nodding your heads – wait a minute – I said nodding in agreement; not nodding off to sleep!!! 😉

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Ask people what they think is the greatest invention of all times.

Most men would say its the wheel. Duh. They would. Men will be men!!

Most women would probably say it’s the dishwasher or the Blender or something equally unimaginative. No comments!!

Ask me and I’ll tell you – the most important invention in recent times has got to be the WhatsApp.  It is, for us Indians anyway!

Nothing else seems to have revolutionized the country and the way the average Indian eats, sleeps, thinks, feels, acts, prays and plays…… as this App.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but ever since I downloaded the little bugger, my  life has changed drastically and dramatically.

  • For starters – I don’t recall how my mornings were before WhatsApp (BW), but certainly after WhatsApp (AW), every single morning is turning out to be an awesome one thanks to the Good Morning wishes flooding my WA Feed. I am overwhelmed by the fact that so many people seem to want me to have a good morning and therefore flood my phone with GM images complete with flowers, butterflies, lisping babies and the works. The sun is not yet up when I  start to hear the pings of Good Morning, every single morning. Yaawn!!

Reliable sources report that Indians rank among the highest  “GM wishers” through WhatsApp!!! Proud to be an Indian!!! 😉

  • I am a much much better person AW – the 2 dozen and more motivational, inspirational, philosophical quotes and messages forwarded to me every day ensure that! I am calm, meditative, patient, relaxed, contented and at peace – for all of the 2 minutes it takes to read or listen to these messages before I revert to my usual nasty grouchy self.

I am sure I’ll get to that permanent elusive state of bliss and inner peace eventually – when I have time to look up from my messages that is!! :/

  • I am, and everybody else is too I imagine, slimmer, fitter and healthier with all the health tips and cautionary diet injunctions going around the WhatsApp world. And happily for us indolent folks, once a message is sent out, it then rotates around for eternity in the WA realm making periodic appearances in some group at some time  like the Comet – thus ensuring that I do not just read it, shut it and forget it!
  • I notice that I am more alert and aware than ever before; I have to be with the deluge of audios and videos warning me of this and that and the other. The days of ‘Ignorance is bliss’ are gone with the wind and now we all know that our tomato ketchup is made of pig blood, our rice is made of plastic and that juicy red watermelon is actually injected with red ink!! And that the Indian National Anthem has just been declared the best in the world by none other than the UN. Proud to be an Indian all over again!!! 😉
  • I am pleased to note that, although my brain has become numb and dumb due to non-usage, my fingers are nimble and agile with all the frantic commenting and forwarding and thumbs up-ing that I do!!! I have to be quick you see, if not, someone else will do it before me. And we can’t have that can we!!

And for those of you who’ve been trying hard to counter the downpour of fake news and hoaxes on WhatsApp, I have some Breaking News for you : The WA company is planning to come up with “educational videos in Hindi and English aimed at helping people identify the hoaxes”. 

They needn’t bother if you ask me. Nothing is going to stop us from hitting that ‘share and forward’ button. We Indians can do it with our eyes shut and hands tied behind!

So, one last time: Proud to be an Indian!! 

And while we’re about it, I’ll be even prouder if you Like, Share and/or Forward this! 😉

  

 

 

 

On popular request (all of 2 actually, from both my sons!! 🙂 ) I’m posting my article which was published in The City Times, the Saturday Magazine section of The Khaleej Times, the National newspaper of The UAE.

The people over at Khaleej Times very kindly gave it a beautiful backdrop as you can see below. 🙂

 

You can read the article by clicking here.

🙂

 

I’m sick and tired of hearing our Indian Society being called a patriarchal one. And of hearing how our men dominate, suppress and oppress our women.

Google defines ‘Patriarchal society as one in which men call all the shots, so to say…” Come now! Our Society is nowhere close to this definition surely!

If you ask me it’s women all the way. In most homes in our villages, towns and cities it’s the women who crack the whip.

Skeptical? You think I’ve lost it? That I’m talking through my hat? Stay with me guys and if you’re not convinced after this then – I’ll eat that hat!! :/

All I ask you to do is to spare 1/2 an hour of your precious time and watch any of our so-popular serials running on Indian Television! If art imitates life then there you are! In almost every episode running at any given time it’s the women who rule – for that half hour at least! Well ok – 15 minutes to be precise. The sponsors rule for the other 15 minutes, but that’s neither here nor there!

It’s the woman – impeccably and elaborately dressed – who reigns supreme and in her presence the men stand no chance. They’re mere puppets dancing to the tune of the wives, aunts, mothers and mothers-in-law!

It’s kind of like a hierarchy in Indian television serials, get it? Let’s break it up for a clearer picture. Right at the bottom features our female protagonist – the youngest bahu or daughter-in-law – a pious do-gooder, a hot candidate for sainthood! Then come the other female members – in increasing order of all that’s evil and cunning – the other bahus! And there’s always a bua (the father’s elder sister) to add spice to the proceedings. Her presence in the house is something of an enigma actually – whether she’s a widow, unmarried, divorced, separated …… is a never-to-be-revealed mystery! She’s omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent though. Amen!

And sitting royally on top of the hierarchy is the reigning Queen – the Saas or the mother-in-law; who has her kingdom and the cowering subjects wrapped around her bejewelled fingers; and who (I strongly suspect) devours iron nails in her spare time!

The bindi or the red dot on the forehead marks out these Femmes Fatales. The bigger the bindi and the more elaborate the design – the higher the degree of evilness and cunningness. It makes it so much easier for the viewer – one look at the forehead and we know who’s who and what’s what!!

Now for that million dollar question – what about the men? Are there no men in the stories beamed into our living-room 24/5 (weekends are rest days, thank god) through the years, ad infinitum?

Oh, there are, undoubtedly, plenty of men – but what exactly is their role and position in the house, hierarchy or in the story,  is the trillion dollar question!!!

And here’s what I’ve gathered from random viewing of some of our soaps – men are merely part of the furniture – the To-Be-Seen-Not-Heard type. They’re all looks and no sound! One really can’t help feeling sorry for the poor chaps. The Indian man (TV would have us believe) cannot breathe, think, speak or even  ‘ahem‘ 😉 without the permission of The Woman of the house – the one on top of the hierarchy, remember??!! One look from her and he cowers behind his own shadow. And whenever a fiery domestic scene is about to unfold the guys are shown slinking furtively off to some vague ‘important meeting’; leaving behind much sound and fury and fireworks among the womenfolk!!

Sigh! Need I say more?

This then seems to be the pattern running through most of our serials and apparently the public loves it, if TRPs are anything to go by!

So – patriarchal? Or matriarchal?

You tell me! 🙂

 

 

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