Thursday, December 07, 2006

Please, sir, could I have a whole lot more?

As a family, we eat a lot. My cousin's engagement was today. Sure enough, every one of us relatives descended upon the hall where the happy occasion was to be celebrated(very close to my house in BTM layout). The already hapless bride-to-be and groom-to-be were even more taken aback at the sight of so many people arriving at their engagement. I think they hadn't anticipated so many people being there. 'After all,' they must have reasoned, 'everybody'll come for the wedding. We'll have a quiet gathering of some close relatives and friends and leave the rest for the wedding.'

But when they invited people for this event, everybody said they would actually be there. This took the father of the bride, Mr N S Nagachandra, quite by surprise and the next thing he knew, there were photographers and videographers in front of the dais, clicking/shooting away and blocking the view for everybody else. "Watch it later on CD, what's your problem?" is their strong and forceful argument. There came to the hall so many people, they were forced to make a video of the whole thing.

Being surrounded by a shipload of people who speak a very odd and rather crass-sounding dialect of Telugu (this very odd and rather crass-sounding dialect is supposed to be my mother tongue. Nay, say I, and choose Kannada. Because I can.) was something that hadn't happened to me for a long time. I was quite happy, with it being a pleasant experience.

And then, we went to eat. O how we ate! Like wolves in a pack devoured we, we who feed ourselves more than our fair share of food everyday in companies and restaurants and bakeries. It is both amazing and disgusting how much people eat in a wedding hall and in parties. And judging by this reaction of mine, I think I am growing prematurely old. I am disgusted by how much people eat, how much people spend and how badly people drive in traffic at 9 AM when I am on my way to office. About the spending, you just need to go a mall, any mall, and look around. People spend sickening amounts of money on stuff they don't really need. "Hey, you jerk, you spent a 1000 bucks on a bunch of DVDs just last week! Don't you go around judging others." Yes, but I don't buy my DVDs in places named "Nik Nish." I distrust any shop that names itself after what seem suspiciously like the Chinese gods of slow, painful excretion. No, what I spend is peanuts compared to what goes into retail shops in malls everyday. Besides, you really can't compare movies to, say, bandanas, beads, pink umbrellas, liquorice sticks and polyester pants. Come on, a movie is anyday better...I can't convince you, ok.

No, the surprising part is, a lot of people(even I used to do this before. I stopped when I realized what I was doing.) buy for so much at these retail stores, spend so much money on clothes, shoes and the like. If a pant costs 2000 rupees, they pay up quietly and leave. But when they have to take their vehicles and go home, and they have to pay two bucks for parking, they hand over a five and fight for the change with the twelve year old kid who's wearing clothes made over a century ago and not washed since, looking like he could do with a meal(and a good scuffing) in a little while. I did this once, when I bought a book for about five hundred bucks in Landmark. Later, I was driving and I realized this and felt so ashamed of myself that I went home.

But back to my family! Oh yes, we're still here, huge in numbers and eating capacity. When we're all seated at the table, I suspect if you served us even shoes, we would eat them and be all Oliver Twist, "Please, sir, could I have some more?" O we eat, my brothers and friends, we eat like the Demons themselves. We don't leave a morsel behind. My friends sometimes wonder why and how I clean up my plate so well. It's this environmental effect. When you see people eating like this, it's bound to rub off on you.

If you want to have some sort of quiet function/gathering, don't invite me and my relatives unless you've estimated the food required for, like, a stadium full of people. In fact, just don't invite us at all.


tangled said...

Ah. I go the other road: my clothes, bargain mart; my books, second hand; my meals, value.
I've always felt secretly ashamed of my stinginess.

Hmm. I smell a post. Along with half a dozen other unwritten ones.

Liked the visualization of the horde :)

Harish said...

The 'parking-boy' bit was touching. Yes, what you said there is very right.

Aadare, oota maaDuvudarali, adralloo saavakaashavaagi, udara tumbuvashtu oota maaDuvudaralli yaava reetiyaada naachikegoo aaspadavilla. Idu nanna dhruDa nambike.

Shalabh said...

all this eating talk reminds me of our days at Vidyarthi Bhavan. Lets go there one Saturday!!!

Speaking of stinginess, I was in this Sai baba temple in Cambridge layout where this guy next to me placed like a 100 buck note in the arti plate and he actually took back change of like 70-80 bucks! LAMO!

nivedita said...

Maybe you think like how Dooce thinks-

"The thought that because there are other people in the world who do not have it good as I do, other people who do not have a warm place to sleep or food to eat or a TiVo with which to record every episode of The Bachelor [..] That I owe it to those who have a harder life."

Walking out of the mall having spent 3000 bucks on one pair of denim and seeing a weak old man beg for a rupee, that makes me feel indescribably guilty and sad.

I wonder if people who get gifted a Porsche for their 18th birthday ever get affected by all the pathos.

Anonymous said...

Nee abba. Siggu ledaa ra? :D

nivedita said...

I also quote many other people.

Sandeep said...

I just changed my DNS servers to the South Indian one. All these days I was using the East Indian DNS servers!!

Anonymous said...

Requesting permission to link on blog-list.

PS : Means I'll remove your link if permission is denied. :D

sneha_april said...

"I and my family" could be on par with "you and your family"... the thought of free food makes everybody's appeite grow twice.
but the mall-thingy is a very sad reality...

Arjun Sharma said...

[Tharunya]Second hand bookshops have the best ones around. So, that's nothing to be ashamed of.
"The horde, the horde.." Ah, Brando should have been around to say it.

[Harish]The 'parking boy'? He has a name, Harish! How can you be so insensitive???

[Shalabh]Yes please, let's go there and ask for sambar, right?!

[Nivedita]Yes, if they catch you at those moments, when you're feeling pretty self-indulgent, the guilt hits you terribly, right?

But again, sometimes, those guys also do it deliberately. Play the sympathy card by wringing the pity out of you whether you want to give it or not. There was this story about the beggar mafia and how some guys maim children on purpose to get people to feel "Oh good God, how terrible!" and give money. CNN-IBN ran that story, I think.

See? Everyone makes it all the more hard for people to remain from becoming cynical.

And yes, you seem to be in love with Dooce.

[Arcane Crapper]Permission ella beda. Iden dodda important site-aa? En bekadru link maadko, esht bekadru link maadko.

[Sneha]Free food? Gimme! Yeah, the unabashed spending is sickening.

What's with the 'April'?