Delhi is tough. The so-stiff-you-can’t-unpeel-her kind of tough. And I presume it is her personal, silent strategy that makes congenital rebels out of so many of her people.
Kids, for instance. I stare open-mouthed as my masis and chachis (aunts – in convenient English) battle with their juveniles. Sometimes, it’s about school. Or about classmates and stuffing Maggi in tiffin boxes. As the years rush along, the subjects for post-puberty girls become far more complex – washing or not washing your hair and nail enamel colours for instance. With their male counterparts, subjects like calling a girlfriend home or going out for a vacation with well-fended-for classmates take precedence.
I wonder if it’s just my err, social circle that has such a rebellious composition or if it’s the same everywhere. Markedly though, I remember Pune being more generous that way…little kids would troop into bookstores holding hands with Mamma and Pappa and would spend many a gleeful hours browsing the shelves. The capital, in being the business-money-page3 capital of the country, loses out on the associated calm and peace of the non rebellious being.
Sample a few case studies:
Girl of ten, with a talent for felt-tip art, doesn’t concentrate at school. Bespectacled teacher recommends a tuition center.
Ma: Wouldn’t you love to go there darling? You will find so many friends and we’ll get you new books –
Girl: What happens to my art class?
Ma: Oh that happens on weekends, it wouldn’t be affected at all.
Girl: I am attending only one of the two. I am packed for time.
Ma meticulously cooks an exotic chingri ‘prawn’ curry for lunch and keeps it on the table for sonny boy to eat. She returns from work in the evening to find the contents of the bowl emptied into the dustbin.
Boy: (in response to a thrashing threat) but how could you expect me to eat up a dish so infested with cockroaches?
Ma: You could have left it lying there! Am I insane or blind to cook cockroach curry for you?
Boy: I can’t be bothered with ugly-looking food Ma. Mitali says I need to keep up the fitness.
P.S.: For the uninitiated, prawns aren’t the prettiest of sea creatures.
How you met my mother
It’s a Puja lunch at home and aunts and uncles in their best traditional finery are gathered around the buffet tables. Enters diva in a backless costume paired with a shorter-than-your-underclothes skirt.
Diva: Hullo, I am his girlfriend.
The ‘his’: Should I show her around Mom?
Mom: (aghast) Does she need any more showing? (To husband) I told him to have her wear something more traditional. He says skirts are a part of our culture.
My, my, my. Kids today, I tell you. I wouldn’t have Delhi harbour all the blame, though her big city lights do have a role to play in all that’s cooking. Years down the line, I am sure these kids will have the necessary skill-set to rise up corporate ladders or the ones laid next to a lover’s window. But while they are at it, the parents have one out-worldly time. Gives me nervous pimples, it does.
*all incidents reported in pure jest. Lest anyone reads a connection, I am just a story-hunter. 😀