Monday, April 04, 2005

... Glories Galore 

This is a sample conversation between my Mom and one of the gazillion aunts any Indian has.

Aunt: My son calls me every week from US.
Mom: Mampan (that's me) calls us twice every week.
Aunt: Yes but Bapi keeps talking when he calls. Finally, we ask him to keep the phone and only then does he keep the phone down.

Yes! That's what it has come down to. With neither Bapi nor me doing anything Nobel Prize worthy, it has come down to the battle of the International Phone Calls. I was recently told that 10 years back making a call to India was quite a deal (apparently people needed jobs before they could afford weekly calls). However, now words come cheap. That's what glory is for us. I don't know abt people from other parts of India but back in Kolkata it's a battlefield between all the relatives as to whose son/daughter is triumphing in the foreign lands. Here are some absolute non achievements that people still think are worthy of mention:

1. "My son/daughter earns 30 lakhs a year." Well, my dad says and I agree that if you are telling your salary in rupees while staying in US that just means that the amount doesn't sound that cool in dollars. (There are obviously people like me whose salary doesn't even sound good in rupees :) )

2. "My son has a web site and an email id." Oh yes! And so does the tea stall owner below my house in Kolkata. Happy?

3. "He travels so much to India - every month." Don't boast about that too much. There is a high chance that they are thinking of outsourcing his job and he is only visiting India to train his replacement.

4. "Even when he is in India he is working sooooo much. He is very busy." And what exactly are you boasting abt? The fact that your son can't even afford a proper vacation?

5. "(S)he has a laptop." Tablet PCs are here. Laptops are no longer the "In Thing" :)

There are so many other "raves" I can rant abt but then I have to make an International Call by first using my laptop to receive an email of the pin for the call. So - later!

Havent posted a comment for ages but couldn't resist this line of urs: There are obviously people like me whose salary doesn't even sound good in rupees. Now, thats modesty or is it because there are so many zeroes in u r salary that it sounds too long when converted to rupees?
Ah ! if you will take that away, what else will be left in their lives, which will make them feel important amongst their peers ? The successes of husbands and sons and daughters, I guess, are the only source of recognition in old age, when the charm of golden ornaments, costly saries, and amenity gadgets has dwindled.
@Ari - nothing like honesty being perceived as modesty :) i wish your words abt my salary having too many zeroes come true :)

@Anshul - very true! my post was in good spirits - for the fun of it - pure unadulterated fun :)
some things never change do they! nicely written :-)
@m - thanks.
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