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Why so many people to do same job in India, asks Mrs. Mathrubootham

Dear Madam,

I got one WhatsApp call yesterday from son in the U.S. It seems he lost his father in the hypermarket. They were searching and searching for two full hours before they finally managed to find Mathrubootham in the deep-sea fishing department. Thankfully they had purchased some potato chips earlier and he was sitting on one stool and munching quietly when they found him.

I was deeply astounded and asked Mathrubootham why he went to some section where he has no interest. He refused to reply but my daughter-in-law is saying he was following some signs on which was written ‘Lure for Gourami’. He seems to have read it as Gouthami.

When he came back to phone I asked again, but he said rubbish, rubbish, they’re all talking chumma reel.

What can I say, Madam. This man has got no sense even in old age. His Tamil picture craze is too much only.

But never mind all that. I immediately became interested to know how somebody can get lost in shop. My son is explaining to me that it is not just any shop but it is 12,000 square feet of monstrosity. Naturally inside this even clever elephant can get lost, then think what will happen to absent-minded man like Mathrubootham constantly thinking about heroine and dialogue.

I asked Mathrubootham why he did not ask passing salespersons for directions. He told me there was nobody there.

Impossible in India

Nobody! This situation is totally impossible in India is it not Madam, where it is salesman-saleswoman everywhere you turn. More shop people than shopping people hahaha.

When my nephew is visiting us from Australia very first evening he is showing us video of his home and the route he is taking to work by car.

Scenic route, Madam, and very beautiful road but then I am asking whether he is doing duty on Sundays?

Never aunty, why you are asking?

Because roads are empty, what happened to people?

Hahaha he is laughing. That is all people there are in Australia aunty! Then if so much people shortage why they are sending them away even if they come to settle? No answer.

Why no money?

Can you imagine? Deserted road, empty footpaths — all these sights I have never seen. This only will be sightseeing for me. I am planning one Australia holiday for long time but Mathrubootham is always saying no money no money. But only tell some new model triangle screen quartz image retina function television set and he will be leaping into shop like starving kangaroo.

Now that he is in U.S. I am busy clearing house of all items of junk he is collecting over the years. Yesterday I sold one large cardboard box of old magazines for ₹200. It is mystery to me why any person will want to keep 100-year-old copies of India Today and Illustrated Weekly and National Geographic. There is not even anything to cut out and keep. No recipe no crochet pattern no ikebana tips nothing.

Uselessly men are collecting things and expecting house without mosquitoes that too in Madras. Twenty-two types of screwdriver he has collected but when fuse goes it is I who has to change bulb because he is afraid of electric shock. Bring rubber chappal. Bring wooden ladder. Bring long stick. It is better I change it myself, less work for me.

But back to Australia Asokan, my nephew. We took him to huge mall in Chennai to impress and in the food court he is asking me opposite question. “Aunty, why four people in toll booth and two people in parking meter which is giving automatic ticket? Why so many people to do same job?”

Madam, I had no answer. Maybe The Hindu has answer?

Yours respectfully,

Mrs. Mathrubootham


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Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 7:00:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/so-many-people-ask-mrs-mathrubootham/article27161083.ece

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