Six Months of “Something About Nothing?”

Today’s piece marks the six-month anniversary of this column’s existence since it first saw the light of day on 27th Dec 2008. I am neither a celebrity, nor a political commentator or film reviewer and hence it is only thanks to you readers that this column works, especially since the most angst I have expended has only been on issues such as cars blocking gates and the Rs. 90 valet parking charge at one of the local hotels, all of which make this column, in Jerry Seinfeld’s words, probably just “something about nothing”, in the process showcasing my firm belief that only small things matter in life…we have in any case, no control over the bigger issues around us.
People keep asking me where I get all my ideas for this column. Most of them come from what I see around me, and some from friends and family. If I then think that any of these suggestions is worth writing about or may perhaps be of interest to you, I then jot them down on my cell-phone for future reference.
I went through this list last week and realized that that most of these entries will perhaps now never get written up; some of them have passed their expiry date on topicality, some need more than 600 words and some others can be dealt with in less than 300.
For example, the first entry is titled, “Dumped by a Nutritionist”. This was supposed to be a rant about an upscale “lunch-dabba” person, who makes a fantastic vegetarian lunch tiffin. However, I have a specific food allergy and they had to take special care to make sure that my food was prepared separately. After five years of being together, the head honcho called me out of the blue one fine day, and told me that since the workers were getting extremely stressed out trying to manage my lunch separately, I would have to find someone else. Just like that! Not even an “It’s my fault, not yours” line.
The next entry is just titled “Jhumpa Lahiri”. When “Interpreter of Maladies” first came out, I thought it was highly over-rated and said so in a long 1200-word review elsewhere. However, she seems to have partly redeemed herself with “Unaccustomed Earth” and I thought I could perhaps make amends with a more positive review. Well guess what…I’ve just done that, haven’t I!
Then comes, ‘Mr. First Name’. World over, if your name is Mr. Kiran Shah, you will be addressed as Mr. Shah. It is only in India, that you will be addressed as Mr. Kiran. I have banged my head against an impenetrable wall, trying to teach people, correct usage. Now with increasing age, I have finally reached a stage of acceptance and so this piece will perhaps never get written.
In the middle of that list, is the phrase ‘National Anthem’, where I was supposed to write about the inconsistent manner in which our cinema theatres play ‘Jana Gana Mana’ before the main show. Some screen the fast, 52-second, “peppy” version, whereas others show the Mangeshkar sisters doing a slow, “sad” rendition, which keeps going on and on and on for over a minute, which is really irritating because our National Anthem is supposed to be a “happy”, celebratory song.
There are many other similar topics, but now that I am again out of space, I will run through the “unwritten” ones again at the end of another six months. In the meantime, this column runs on reader feedback, so please keep getting back to me.

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