Sunday, 23 February 2014

Being VIP Madams


They say Seriousness is a very serious disease. I say, ditto! I also add that it is the only disease on the Planet of the Apes which you can guiltlessly laugh at. 

You know, like one-hand-on-the-stomach-the-other-on-the-mouth, moving forwards and backwards, going Ha Ha in gay abandon. No thorns of conscience pricking in your bosom. Between those guffaws, saying ‘Oh God! How they suffer, and make suffer. Have some pity, on them and our aching tummies too, Prabhu!’ Yes, quite like a symbiotic relationship. Quite like – ‘You give me your Seriousness, I give you my Laughter’. And laughter as we know is the best medicine, after a gooey yummy bar of chocolate that is.

But I should furnish specimens examples of those who I think suffer from this Condition of Seriousness. Let’s say we talk of … of certain governmental wives. Just a handful, I promise you, but there very much so.   

Now, if you were to attend a party of such VIP madam log who happen to be married to men who happened to have cleared their UPSC examination at some point of time in the past, you will know what I mean (although, I wish you no such ill luck!) 

In such a gathering, every breath you take, every move you make is according to the year your husband became an afsar. Which means, when I get up to introduce myself to the gathering of silk and skin, I say – ‘Hello respected honorable madams, pairee pna, I am Sakshi Nanda Mrs. 2006’. No more is needed. This is the most important identity that you have. In fact, the only one relevant, in all Seriousness. And just like our age (hiding cushy under the wired push-ups), the lower the number of the year the closer you are to VIP Godliness, of course. 

So, Mrs. 1980 may have lost all her teeth but not the bite, for her husband is still the Chiefest of Chiefs you can find. She will arrive late, solemn expression on her face as if this is a funeral of all things sensible and not a Diwali get together, occupy the highest chair around, swivel ever so nonchalantly towards all reverentially staring faces and stop at an angle which suits her best. One smile, barely there. Rings on all fingers, there! The rest of the Mrs will adjust their sofas, chairs, stools, cartons, door mats accordingly. For the best view of her feet which they may want to touch any time. After all, she is the chief guest welcomed with an orchid bouquet. And this is Serious.  

Mrs. 1990 will fuss over her, but will make sure she is fussed over amply in return too by the lower in order. While she will deliver the welcome note, a Mrs. 2000 will dust her chair with her dupatta for her. Mrs. 2004 will stand around ready to catch the command of the duster. A mutual co-existence as if giving a purpose to your life on Earth. Food chain - with primary consumers, secondary consumers and grass, or prey! And all this while, Mr. 2004 sits on his white-towelled office chair, oblivious to what clearing his UPSC so late in the century means for his wife's VIP social life. 

Once the royal behinds find their deserved-n-designated destinations, introductions will begin. Numbers of years will flow around. ‘Myself 2001’, ‘Hello everyone, I am Mrs. 420 1 triple 9’, and so on. Some whispered some said with full gusto. So many numbers you wish you had never failed your Maths exams, or could tattoo them on their foreheads as reference numbers. Seriously!  

And then there is chai to be had, with chips, salted kaju and burfi, to down all the pyramids of hierarchy floating around. It comes in gold-rimmed bone china, but sans any respite. The first ‘sssslup’ has to come from the high command, like a signal. The cup touches the saucer thereafter, and the other ‘sssslups’ will follow suit. Age no bar, rank bar bar. Cashews will be served in descending order of men’s seniority, no matter that by the time the tray reaches the lower rungs, you are still in queue for your first ‘sssslup’. 

Everything is orderly, don’t mistake me. Disciplined and orderly, and so Serious you will forget what your father looked like when the share market dropped. Who laughs first, who sits first, who stands first, who picks a plate first, who burps first. Yes, Mrs 2006 has to hold hers in till the biggest one burps! Sometimes, it dies a natural death inside, trying its best to come out the other way. But then, you don’t know if the senior most fart saw the light of the day in the celebration today. So Serious the scheme of things, so serious the Condition. 

And finally, when it is time to leave, Mrs. 1980 gets up with her stiff upper lip and back, while the rest of the room bows at angles according to, you guessed it, their husbands’ ranks, before shuffling out of the room to where the cars are parked. The valets understand the Seriousness of the years, and get the official cars in line with that order. Waving hands and a dozen kissing handshonoured to meet you’ later, Mrs 2006 hails her auto and goes home, promising to avenge her sore bum and aching back. After all, she had to bend a full 180 degrees of good bye, no less!

I know you cannot truly understand. After all, I suffer from a serious case of hyperbole myself. I exaggerate, a little, maybe. So I took a picture to illustrate my point about this encounter of the strangest kind.


If there was a single bar of chocolate to be had between the VIP Madams, the scene around the plate would look something like this. No points for guessing who gets to have it. Actually, the one who rightfully rank-fully gets it needs it the most too. Like I said, this gooey yummy chocolate is the best medicine for the Condition of Seriousness that I speak about.

Don't you think so?

Disclaimer, from under the table - No hard fillings for anyone, seriously!


63 comments:

  1. Wow, this is excellent! I have seen this since my dad was an afsar at one time and all parties, functions looked like this. I loved the way you've describes hierarchy. Great!

    Good luck with the contest :)

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    1. Kajal darling, thank you. I exaggerate a little, but by and large I don't lie. :P
      Thanks for the luck.

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  2. haha...well my mom avoided being to such parties precisely due to this... Nicely put Sakshi...
    All the best :)

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    1. Oh, I understand her sentiments, Naba. :D Thanks for the wishes.

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  3. Oh my brilliant Sakshi! Can't stop smiling :) :) seriously!!

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    1. Seriously? That's great to know, Aditi. :D
      Thanks for reading!

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  4. Hahaha...Age no bar, rank baar baar ;) and then the years attached to the Mrs....Mazaa aa gaya as I imagined the convo...All the best :)

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    1. Mazaa aaya, toh mera post kamayaab ho gaya. Thanks for reading, Rover! :)

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  5. Nice one Sakshi ! Seriously smiling :) All the best for the contest.

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    1. Seriously Smiling is something I should have used in the post. That is what I do through these meets. :D
      Thanks a lot!

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  6. My, my - that was an interesting insight in the lives of a "sarkari afsar" and their families. Boy, so much of hierarchy and ranking eh? And people say the "afsar's wives'" have it easy. Good luck for the contest :)

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  7. LOOOOOOOOL!!! Are you serious about this??? Year wise categorization..ahahaha

    "SHE MIGHT HAVE LOST ALL HER TEETH, BUT NOT HER BITE" LOL

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  8. Brilliant Sakshi...cant stop guffawing! Reminds me of someone I used to know! Lol...

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    1. :D Laughter is good for health. Thanks you for reading, Rajrupa. :)

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  9. Sarkari biwigiri aur corporate biwigiri kaafi miltey jultey hain :)

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    1. Dipali, you are an honest woman. I don't think any other Mrs. Corporate would like to admit that here. After all, when there is something wrong, blame the government. And where there is something wrong, it must be in the government again. :D
      Thanks for reading!

      Delete
  10. Sacchi kya? Thank heavens, my father belonged to old batch :-). You know who I have seen following the hierarchy and brashness to the T -- the bade saheb's drivers :). Loved that pic. Good luck!

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    1. Sacchi. Yes, old batch would be pre-1980 era, I can guess from your Thank Heavens. Indeed, thank Heavens! Your mom would not have seen all this, mostly. :) Where was your dad posted and as what?
      Sigh, drivers is yet another story. Again, there is a madam involved, sitting in the rear seat. :P
      Thanks for reading, Rachna! Yes, I like that picture too. :D

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    2. Dad was I think '67 batch IRS who retired as Member CBDT. He was posted in a lot of places including Delhi :-).

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  11. I have heard a similar experience awaits those who marry defense officers :P loved the peek you gave us into that life, break a leg for the contest Sakshi! :)

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    1. Yes, madam. And like someone said, corporate world is not far behind. We are a "bureaucratic" society. This is everywhere. :D Thanks, Seeta. I always wait for your comments. :)

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  12. This reminds me of official parties in Japan. Everything from pouring the sake to eating the raw fish is done according to rank. By the time the poor new joinees sitting right at the end get their turn all that is left for them is a few drops of sake and few pieces of unappetizing fish !

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    1. Okay, THAT is really really interesting. I wish you would write a post for us on that, Ruch.

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  13. Lol! Had a good monday morning thanks to your post :) I love the way you describe the seriousness of these parties... I wonder that if I have to ever attend one, will I stop yawning

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    1. :D Thanks for stopping by, Sugandha.

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  14. haha :D good one. and loved the pic too. All the best.

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  15. Brilliant satire... I like the way you can be an audience while being a participant

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    1. I like what you say. You took this to another level. Happy me! :)
      Thanks, Neha!

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  16. All hail the Blue Book :
    ww will live and die by the Civil List -
    Until Retirement doth us part :
    Then we will wallow in our incredible rank protected lost Glory .

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  17. Hahahahaha, have encountered this so often because my father was afsar and Ma took being afsar's wife a bit too far! Oh gosh! You took me down memory lane, right down to salted cashews, chips and kaaju barfi, and those gold rimmed cups of tea and fussy cloth napkins. Oh my God! This was awesome

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    1. You know, I think they are serving those kajus and chips ever since. As well-ingrained into the system as the white towels on the swivel chairs. I wish those fussy cloth napkins were still around though. I had heard lots of tales about ranking-shanking in the ladies log circles from your dad's times too. But I think it was done with more class then, than it is now. But it was there, no doubt. The GoI will never fail to charm me. :D
      Thanks for the 'awesome'! :D

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  18. I have heard enough stories of army wives with similar experiences, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that IAS Officers' Wives have similar ordeals as well :D And loved the pic that you ended up composing at the end of the post quite a bit using N's toys, quite creative, even by your very high standards, I must say :D

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    1. Well, in a way, all services and even the corporate world functions in this "hierarchical" way, Jairam. So the similarity you find is right! I found the picture quite a show stealer. I realise it needed no written matter at all. :P Quite self-explanatory, no? :P
      Thanks for liking this, Jai.

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  19. Oh yes, I can recognize the lady with her bite. The solemn expression maintains its gravity according to the official hierarchy.

    Good luck with the contest Sakshi.

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  20. Mrs 2006 had to do her Salam,lol! Poor you! Sashi!!! You got your revenge by pouring all on the blog. Sweet victory and time to munch choco:)

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    1. Time to eat that choco indeed. No revenge, all in good humour. :)

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  21. Hah! That was very funny...and quite an eye opener, too. Clearly, Mrs 2006 will wait patiently for her turn to get her own 5 Star. Treatment, that is. After all, who wouldn't want to be Chief Guest at a kaju biskoot event?
    Good luck with the contest!

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    1. Waiting already! I know a red beacon strapped on my head will add manifold, both to my beauty and authority. Also, I love salted cashews. Love them! Orchids too. Oh God, Rickie, you make me impatient already. When will time fly. Do you know someone in the Ministry of Time who I can contact for a favour. ;)
      Thanks for the 'very funny'. :D

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  22. LOL!! I can imagine. Does the crisp cotton saree still rule these parties? :) Hilarious Sakshi. All the best for the contest.

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    1. Pooja, some of us do wear them. :)
      Thanks for laughing with me. :D

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  23. Sakshi 'agar Mrs 1980 ne ye padha tp tumhara future serious hai' !

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    1. :D No no. All in good humour. Like I said, I exaggerate. :D

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  24. I never had such experience but I imagined at all
    I witness some times at weddings but thankfully till now never a part of a celeb with only the MRS's category :D
    Those hot wheels are so apt.. Must be your kid's treasure!
    As always stylishly humorous post :)

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  25. All the best, the cotton sarees remind me of all the kadak teachers in school and college.

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    1. :D Me too. I feel like one too when I wear a stiff starched cotton. :D
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  26. So You really are a Vip Madam , ir was this just for the blog ,
    If yes then you have my condolences for having go through such bizarre crazy seriousness. Sounds like an indian virsion of mean girls ,
    Loved it !
    Id say lets be a rebel n let the rickshaw hv d 5star ; p

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    1. Hehe, I am Mrs 2006. Even if the post is a little hyperbolic, 2006 I indeed am! :P
      I ate it, Disha. I ate the chocolate immediately after writing this! :D I deserved it, after all, I was home only. :D

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  27. loved it.... absolutely hilarious! It felt like I was watching it all happen right in front of me :-) .... all the best!

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  28. Vintage Sakshi. There's a hierarchy in the burping too. :)

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    1. Yes, Spunky. If we were allowed to take guests for those parties, I would take you and you may witness it for yourself. :D

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  29. Wonderful take. We really need to undergo a crash course to attend the parties.

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    1. That's a good one. A crash course. But I gate crash these without the relevant skills anyway. And fun it is. :D
      Thanks, Neo!

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  30. wonderful reading!loved your take on unofficial heirarchy !oops or is it "the"order? satire definitely conveys things in a lighter tone!The pic in the end is a brilliant composition!Did I see a hitkari saucer in between?

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    1. Yes, Hitkari it is. :D Ha ha, nice observation.
      Thanks for liking this, Harpreet.

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  31. Ha ha! I have attended many a afsar meeting and the scene was pretty much the same. It was absolutely hilarious to see the fawning that goes around the higher ranked officer and how every one was ready to lay down their heads as carpets for them to walk on. And I totally get the salted kaju reference. Every.bloody.meeting they had that with the awful tea to accompany it. You reminded me of those funny days!

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    1. He he. I hope it was a funny and fun looking back for you and not disturbing to your sanity. :D
      Thanks for stopping by, Swapna.

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