Letter from another Concerned Reader | How to help Indian economy grow faster

share this article

A crotchety curmudgeon to rival the inimitable J. Mathrubootham pens his woes about being an old man trapped within the wheel of consumerism

"You will look even more handsome and young in Adidas Sportswear."

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am reader of your paper for almost 60 years. From even before our Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II visited Madras in 1962 and waved at your building from an open car, I have been reading what we consider the world’s best newspaper.

Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived in Madras on February 19, 1961 on a two-day visit. They were received by Governor of the State Bishnuram Medhi at the Meenambakkam airport.PHOTO: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

 

Sir, it is good old men (and women we hope) are now allowed to write in your newspaper. I greatly admire your regular correspondent J. Mathrubootham, even if he sometimes uses bad language in his letters. I especially want you to give space for Senior Citizens who do good things for our country. Yes sir, “Deshbhakts” like my good self.

“Old man, your brain cells often go for a walk on the Marina Beach. Stick to the point. What do you want to tell the Editor?” my wife Zubeida tells me. Yes, I am sorry sometimes I want to tell everybody everything. Nobody listens to me. They only want to see “Good Morning” photos, “Modi is great” and “Everything is fine in India” on Whatsapp on their phones. (Why it is called “Whatsapp” when it is all about “WhatsUp?”)

Everything is not fine in India, Sir and we must all contribute doing some duty and not ask for our rights.

That is what I am writing since Zubeida asked me to leave the house when I asked if we could have both fish fry and mutton fry today for lunch. Now I am sitting in Emerald Sweets in 3rd Cross, Kottivakkam. Sir, their Ras Malai much better than Ganga Sweets.

“Old man…”

Sir, our economy is in bad shape… Sorry, sorry, no, no it is doing well, no problem, all is well. We can help it do much better though. It can cross Himalayan Heights and look down on those fellows the other side who are building something they call “one belt” or “one nada” road in Asia.

I am doing my bit for the Indian economy, Sir. Improve smiles, make our beloved Prime Minister’s popularity so high they will stop saying “Howdy Modi” and instead say “Great-y Modi”. Today I did my bit Sir and want to share this with you.

Sir, in spite of doing Senior Course (Passed with completely twisted arms and legs) in Adyar, and observing World Yoga Day every day for past 40 years, my aches and pains have started. But nobody listens. One day I got up and found very painful to walk to balcony for morning coffee and India’s National Newspaper (which sometimes is anti-national, never mind it is our newspaper). I did Google search Sir. My first search was wrong sir. It said I had Bird Flu. Sundar Pichai from Madras is wrong Sir. He is making Google wrong Sir, like Google Maps which took me one day to “Pure Ghee Sweets” in Mylapore when I was looking for “Secret Beef Biryani”.

I searched and searched and “Good Health” site finally told me I had something called “Placenta Fascitis”. I went limping to Zubeida and told her. She did not say “Old Man”. She said “Bloody fool. Have you gone and had a sex change operation and are you going to have a baby? Is the placenta not getting enough food? Is that your complaint? Idiot. Ass. Jackass.”

Sir, I need new glasses and since I got only 47% in English my spelling is poor. I went back and checked internet it is called Plantar Fasciitis… where some thing (Biology 35%) in heel starts hurting, may be because of overweight (Sir I am 5’6” and only 97 kg. Not overweight.)

It is hurting so much I consulted my good friend orthopaedist Rabindranath K. Marx (Sir, his father loved both rosgoola and communism). He gave me simple advice. “Do exercises and wear protected footwear, good shoes, not those sandals you are buying from China Bazaar in Town. And when I mean good shoes, go to Puma, Skechers, Adidas, Reebok, Nike.

Sir, only in November I went and showed bank I was alive to get my monthly pension of ₹1,938 of EPFO which that Congress government established. (Such small pension. I believe we are going to get ₹15 lakhs in every account soon in achhe din. Then I can take my beloved Zubeida on our first phone trip. Singapore, Sir.)

“Old man”…

Bank officials said, “Respected Sir, now all is biometric authentication, no need for personal verification”. In one minute pension office certified I was alive and I got new “Jeevan Pramaan Pradhan Mantri Sabse Great UNESCO Awardee Number 3947896”. And I found my pension had gone up to ₹2,047.

Is it not by duty to help the economy with higher pension?

Sir, I went to fine footwear shop… in my time in Rosemary Matric, canvas shoes used to cost ₹27. In fine footwear shop, first shoe they showed me was ₹14,000 ( I asked, is it for one shoe or two shoes?). They said, “It is new Space Boost technology. You can walk like Neil Armstrong” I said, “Young man, I want to walk on earth and not do space walk. Please show for ₹200-300.”

They laughed Sir, but took pity and showed me their cheapest shoes (₹6,999, four month pension). Good comfort. Plantar already began to start sleeping. So I said I will take them… Health is better than wealth, is it not Sir?

Then the salesman said, “Why not t-shirts, hoodies, socks, winter wear…”. I said, “Young man, all that is for you youngsters. Why dress an old man like me?

He was a very kind boy, this young man. He spoke good English; he was very polite and he had had combed his hair. He said, “Sir, don’t say that. When you came in I thought you were my younger sister’s new boy friend coming to ask me permission to take her to Express Mall. You will look even more handsome and young in Adidas Sportswear. The mothers in your building will think a new bachelor suitable for their daughters has moved in.”

Sir, I have now come home with 2 trackpants, 4 hoodies, 6 t-shirts, 8 pairs of mulit-coloured socks and one pair of ₹14,000 Space Boost shoes (All bought on Zubeida credit card; she will get many bonus points).

I am helping the Indian economy grow faster Sir.

Madam Finance Minister will be happy.

Your devoted nationalist and deshbhakt reader,

Perumal Bose

PS. I hope our senior letter writer J. Mathrubootham will approve of my letter and sentiments.

*

A letter from the Editor


Dear reader,

We have been keeping you up-to-date with information on the developments in India and the world that have a bearing on our health and wellbeing, our lives and livelihoods, during these difficult times. To enable wide dissemination of news that is in public interest, we have increased the number of articles that can be read free, and extended free trial periods. However, we have a request for those who can afford to subscribe: please do. As we fight disinformation and misinformation, and keep apace with the happenings, we need to commit greater resources to news gathering operations. We promise to deliver quality journalism that stays away from vested interest and political propaganda.

Support Quality Journalism
share this article
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor