Wednesday, May 28, 2008

PC Gone Wrong

Political Correctness can be hard at achieve at times. For example, last week in Goa I saw a sign in the government bus that I was traveling in saying something like the following – “Differently Abled Passengers will travel free of cost...” So far so good. But then it continues on to say – “… on display of their Government Issued Disability Card.” (Emphasis at both places is mine.)

Ummm. Are they “differently”-abled or “dis”-abled? Make up your minds. And if they’re differently abled then why do they have disability cards?

Monday, May 05, 2008

“Couples Only”

I was at Apache last evening, a local pub, and I ran into what seemed to me (at least initially) to be some pretty strange behavior. Let me explain.

Firstly, I’d gone there with a girl. (No, that isn’t the strange thing!)

Now, the upper floor at Apache has two sections, which I shall refer to as the Outside and the Inside. For some unfathomable reason, the management running the place has decided to reserve the Inside strictly for couples. There’s a board saying “Couples Only” at the entrance to this section. (Okay, that’s strange all right, but it still isn’t what I’m talking about.)

So the two of us have just climbed up the stairs, onto the upper floor, and are looking for a place to sit – in the Outside section – when the waiter tries to usher us into the Inside. “Sir, couples ka andar hai. (Couple seating is inside)”. But Inside looked a little too gaudy and the music was too loud, so we decided to ignore the waiter’s “recommendation” and found ourselves a table on the Outside. A table for four; it was the smallest one available.

Soon the waiter attending to our table arrives and repeats what the earlier one had said, “Andar baito, couples bahar allowed nahin. (Sit inside, couples are not allowed outside.)” Not allowed? This seemed like a little too much. As far as I understood, the board “Couples Only” implied “Only couples can sit here” and not “Couples can sit only here”.

I tried to explain this to the waiter, but he didn’t really seem to get the difference. I was half-tempted to tell him, “We’re NOT a couple. We’re just friends!” But I have a feeling that would have been a waste too. However, I have a penchant for stubbornness, so I finally managed to convince him that the music inside was too loud and thus we would be sitting outside, thank you very much and if he had a problem with it he could go complain to his grandfather.

After he left, I thought about how strange this all was. But within seconds I realized that there was a simple reason that the management had ordered the waiters to ensure that all couples sit inside. A very rational one at that.

The client̬le of the place were mainly male. Consequently, the Inside was almost empty Рonly one or two tables occupied Рand the Outside almost full. The two of us had plopped ourselves down at a table for four. Thus, by sitting Outside, we had denied place to some other group of stags, who could not sit Inside anyway. Assuming that the situation remains like this РOutside full, Inside empty Рwe had effectively taken up six seats!

You don’t have to be an Economics Major to figure out that that isn’t the best outcome for the pub.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Weddings: Suddenly Less Fun

It’s like an epidemic and an extremely contagious one at that. Everyone I know - my age, a little older, a little younger - seems to be either getting engaged or married. Literally everyone.

When I was younger, I used to believe that I would NEVER want to get married. I’d picture myself as a single bachelor (pardon the tautology) - the person all my friends would complain to about their wives at parties and other such occasions. A single bachelor accompanied a different girl each time. Or maybe the same one might stick around for a few months, or even a year, but certainly no such bond or commitment as frightening as “marriage”.

In my fantasy little world, I’d imagine them casting lustful glances at the girl I’m with, followed by sleisha fearful ones in the direction of their wives to see if they’ve noticed. “Why does this fool get to enjoy his life as he pleases,” they’d think, “while I’m stuck here with this ol’ hen!” I have a vivid imagination and it’s biased toward me.

Yes, that was the stupid old me.

I think it all started to change about a year or so ago. I can’t put my finger on exactly what triggered it - in fact, it probably wasn’t anything in particular - but I do know that slowly weddings seemed to be going from just happy events to happy events tinged with a bit of sadness and jealousy. I had reached “that” age and I realized that I DID want to get married - and how!

These days, when I hear of an upcoming wedding, I’ll still be happy for the couple - especially if I know one or both of them well. But I’d be lying to myself if I said that deep down - real deep maybe - I didn’t wish it was me instead. Not with that bride, of course, but well, you know.

Basically, I think I’ve had enough of the chicks, I want the hen - and I want her for life.

If you’re getting married and I know you, invite me. But if I appear a wee bit sad at the wedding, you know why.