Tuesday, May 14, 2013

These Are The Days

Like it or not, we live in the days of ‘Days’. Yesterday was Mother’s Day. Before that there was Women’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Earth Day and Blah-blah Day... and after this there will be Friendship Day, Youth Day, Chocolate Day and Whatnot Day. The problem isn't with having all these days crowding the calendar, but the hype, hoopla and air of expectation generated around them. People often ask me, “Do you believe in this stuff?” More importantly, I often ask myself, “Do I believe in this stuff?”

Well, let’s see.

There was a time when life was simple - uncomplicated by all these ‘Days’. Back then, I did believe in the few that existed – Teacher’s Day, for instance, was always special. But then, the whole world and its auntie started competing to have ‘Days’ earmarked for anything and everything. Now, it’s come to the point where you have ‘Jelly Bean Day’ and ‘Dance Day’ jostling with ‘Hug a Plumber Day’ and ‘Squirrel Appreciation Day’. Yes folks, come January 21, you must go out to your backyard and shake the paws of the squirrels you meet, and give them a handwritten card. And don’t forget to dish out the jadu ki jhappi to the plumber on April 25 every year, to be assured of free-flowing drains and a stink-free home...

(I do NOT exaggerate. In fact, this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Doubters, please visit http://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/2013/04/)

Anyway, coming back to the point... with each growing 'Day', my belief wobbled and weakened.

And on went the wobbling, till the day I walked into a neighborhood novelty store just before Friendship Day, and saw youngsters buy ‘friendship bands’ and gifts - all in multiples of 50. While the man at the counter grinned gluttonously and counted the obscene amounts of cash being handed over by these kids. That day, my belief crashed completely.

It was nothing but crass commercialisation, the adult in me rationalised. But even so, the child in me wanted to believe. Fuelled, I daresay, to a great deal by the tamasha the world around me was putting up...

You see, till a few years ago, it was easy for me to turn my nose up at people who asked me about Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day, with a “You really don’t think I believe in all this meaningless, commercial bullshit!” – in a tone that would have chilled a polar bear. But now the world around me is making this bullshit harder and harder to ignore.

Just look at what happened yesterday. I got up and unsuspectingly picked up the morning papers - to be immediately bombarded with stories of people with boundless love for their mothers, and outsized commercials holding forth on the virtues of various items as gifts for your dear Mater – from diamonds to Volini balm. The TV, and Friends On The Telephone or FB are no better. Whatever 'Day' be it, the world around you seems to conspire to remind you that celebrations are afoot... and you are not part of it. 

And it definitely does not help that half of my closest friends are teachers. It naturally follows that they have a gaggle of students fawning over them and deluging them with cards and goodies at the drop of a hat... and as for Rose-day, Chocolate-day, Teachers’-day, Valentine’s day, Friendship Day – I suspect they need to get special cupboards built for the booty they collect!

The rest of my friends are in the “Have Money. No Commitments - Except to Spend Money” age bracket.  And they just can’t keep their big mouths shut around Friendship Day or Valentine’s Day or Whatnot Day. They start talking about gifts and cards a month before D-day... and afterwards, follow it up with discussions related to the loot.

And the feeling of inadequacy deepens...

Meanwhile, this Mother’s day came and went just like umpteen others did before that - uneventful. Well, almost - if you don’t count the slightly drooping stem of lilies my daughter brought me. She and a friend had each swiped one from the decorations on the car of a newly wedded couple in the neighborhood – with the noble intent of gifting them to their respective mothers!

Well, what the heck! I guess I’ll have to make do with that for now - after all, she was willing to take a risk for me!

And meanwhile, the jury inside my head is still out, debating, “To believe, or not to believe, that is the question...”


  1. I loved your expression, "But now the world around me is making this bullshit harder and harder to ignore" and that lovely cartoon.
    Wish you had made one on your affectionate daughter bringing those lovely little flowers that melt your heart and made you even ponder to be or not to be :)

    1. Hey Ramjee...thanks! Hmm, ya, I could have made a cartoon of that too! But not being a pro at cartooning, even one is a huge effort!

  2. Why not "have a fight with wife day" and perhaps "Shopping Day" if it means no shopping on other days! and yes while at it, high time you fix a blog posting day too - once a week at least. Therapy for you and us readers too. Poor little Ananya - the humour at her cost - wish she too could read and give back. One loyalist fan you have there in her. While at it, I am goign to have a deaf day for not hearing anything; and a snore day for providing you snoring a plenty and celebrate it too :)

    1. Go ahead, have your days!

      My personal favourites are - 'No housework day', 'Goof off day', 'Wife appreciation day', 'Be late for something day', 'Ask a stupid question day', and of course, Chocolate day and Ice cream month... ;)

  3. Super nice :) this year, mother's day was so overwhelming I realised all my friends and people around were in the trap. anyway in the guilt of not writing paeans or buying gifts , i wished my mom two consecutive sundays leaving in her in utter suspicion of my intentions

    1. I so agree. This guilt thing is too much... one feels guilty for both things - not buying gifts, and not getting gifts!

      And wishing on two consecutive Sundays! If Amartya had done that, I most CERTAINLY would have had a cardiac arrest... :D

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