Monday 24 June 2013

No one gives money for free to anyone

I love the advertisements that the government prints in the newspapers, or makes posters out of. Not the life-size-so-unlike-life ones of smiling faces, glowing halos and hands joined. Those seem fake - the flawless skin, the supplicant’s pose and the halo, all. I like those textual ones which can double up as moral science teachers. Like how a baby needs mother’s milk till 2 years, or how life without paying income tax is like a painting without colour. Plain in design and simple in both thought and language, these adverts seem to come from mills which haven’t seen too much technology as yet. No big words, no fancy graphics just ‘Last Date for Filing’, ‘Remember’ and ‘Beware’ always printed in bold to catch your sleepy minds unaware. Something almost endearing about them, as they instantly take me back a few decades to the ‘rukavat key liye khed hai’ chart paper used on DD once upon a time, every time they went figuring out why on air is no longer on air. 

Here’s an advertisement I spotted in TOI a few days back. 

Isn’t it sweet? Much to my husband’s amazement and my son’s fascination, I stuck it to my fridge and wondered why this one really impressed me. Apart from the fact that I can draw that graphic with my right hand, answer all the questions it pops at me and not find a single grammatical error, what caught my attention was the moral at the end of the story – 

‘Remember … no one gives money for free to anyone’

Indeed! How insightful! Just who in the RBI thought of this excellent quote? Look how true it is:

If there is one shop where the registers (and bells) don’t stop ringing, it’s the Department of Worship. I have seen many notes-worthy temples all across the country, only to wonder still – is God material crazy or does man know of no other way to please Him? Jewellery, gold bricks, silver ornaments, wads of cash, sheets costing lakhs, metric tons of ghee and milk or a meal-for-10000 on the house, these are just some of the goodies in God’s coffers. When it comes to the Divine’s pleasure man is oozing generosity and no, he’s not doing it for nothing! A wish list here, a marriage proposal there, an entrance exam round the corner, a property deal a week later; man needs God and certainly more than God needs the Usha fan spinning on His head, donated by the kirana shop man with his name rightfully printed on its blade, in bold red. 

No one gives money for free to anyone. Not even to God!

Wedding season, and out comes the packet of glittery envelopes that carry what we call Shagun – blessings in green for those tying the knot or their parents, whoever came first! We put inside what we got ourselves, or expect to get when our own Lucky gets married. So slip in a pink grand, a one rupee coin, tie the golden thread and don’t forget to cello tape it. While ‘congratulations’ is small case, make the from Mrs & Mr. bold and clear. Once done drinking, start eating. Fruit tikki mini-dosa chaat (slow down, have to have dinner too!) continental Indian Chinese halwa pudding ice cream chocolate sauce paan and there, paid Rs. 1001, ate 3001 calories, burped twice in the process, farted only once and we will surely have a better caterer for our Sunny’s wedding, ji, such quality is not becoming of our class at all. Burp!   

No one gives money for free to anyone. Not even on their grandest occasions!

Not even Diwali bonus to the maid, no! Sari or suit or money with fruit, in decreasing order of desirability, is given with much fanfare just so she knows you are the best memsahib she can get and remembers it until next Happy Diwali. You better not gossip about me, suna? But just generally speaking, did Mrs Sharma actually get the whole of her legs waxed? Let it be, sannu kee! So you like the sari or not? Colour looks good on you. No one can give a better one. I went myself to Tilak Nagar and got it for you. Will you just water the plants before you go? I know you are getting late but you see the gardener has not come today. Aur haan, just a cup of tea for me, please, the market was so tiring you know! When do you wear the sari to show me? Oh! Just take the dry clothes off the line as you leave, will you? Come in time tomorrow, please! 

No one gives money for free to anyone. Not even on Happy Diwali!

From the coin to the beggar in the name of charity to the minimum Rs. 5001 to the eunuch for a son’s birth, nothing is given for free. One for feeling like a do-gooder and ensuring a place in Heaven (which may have been bought in the 1st paragraph itself) and the other sum for ensuring the son gets home a better sum than the neighbour when he gets married (in the glittery envelope or on 4-wheels). Even neta ji knows that support may come for free but the vote mostly needs a little greenery! 

No one gives money for free to anyone. 

Perhaps Pappu’s Pappa wished for something too, 
When he got Pappu a Pajayrow, and a trip to Singapur. 

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