Status Symbols


Status Symbols

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

It was a peaceful Sunday afternoon and I was enjoying a nap when loud noises of banging utensils from the kitchen, woke me up.

I guessed that my better half was in a foul mood and so I made my way to the kitchen, making some vague noises. She looked at me disdainfully. What troubles you my dear? I asked nicely. The rise of prices in petrol, dals and oils? For a few moments she said nothing and then turned back and looked at me furiously. “You!” she said. “You humiliate me in my friends circle.”

By napping? I wondered. Then my mind ran a list of the sins I may have unknowingly committed. Taken the trash out wearing my lungi? Burped loudly in the building lift? But nothing came to mind. I had no choice but to ask. “Why? You have a nice house, a loving husband with a nice, big salary….

She stopped me short with a dirty look. “All my friends have crores in Swiss bank accounts. All you have is nice big salary! Will it ever make headlines? Most of my friends and their husbands are always in the news,” she said with a sigh.

“Yes, but for the wrong reasons!” I replied.

“Wrong or right, who cares. Everybody is after them. ED, CBI, NCB, Pegasus…even the IT guys don’t chase you!”

“Because I pay my income tax sacramentally”, I explained to her. “I don’t have any black money.”

“Ok so there are so many other ways. You could get the narcotic guys if you had a little bit of ganja. Even a clip of animals mating could attract the pornography prevention squad. Your problem is you don’t try. See how that Kundra man is on breaking news daily!’

“Ok so that takes care of NCB and CBI.. But how do I get summons from the ED?”

“You can take a loan for a house an invest in in a dance bar,” she suggested helpfully.

“OK, with all these agencies after me how can I sleep peacefully?’ I asked.

“Arre, you have some ganja na. It will help you sleep,” she replied promptly.

My better half had clearly though it through. It was time to change tactics. Any chance of tea?” I asked her, tentatively.

She ignored me. “Some of the hubbies of my friends have also gone to jail for outraging a woman’s modesty.”

I burst out laughing. ‘You want me to molest a woman and go to jail”?

The disdainful look was back. “Those who have political connections never go to jail! They only go on News@9pm. You don’t know anything about anything. You are hopeless.”

She turned her back to me and went back to banging steel. I gave up any hope of a reasonable conversation or tea and switched on the TV. On the news was the mayor of New York who resigned due to allegations of sexual crimes going back decades. People were out on the streets demanding that he take back his resignation.

The better half was right. I don’t know anything about anything anymore.

I switched off the TV and went back to sleep.