Don’t know how you spent the week since Ye Ed last decided to frighten you with the mug — allegedly mine — that accompanies this column, but I spent most of my week being baffled. Yes, baffled. Not because all I’ve been reading lately is mystery novels, but because two things have suddenly and inexplicably vanished from my life. One: our booming economy. Two: my mobile phone network. Till just last Monday I was writing lifestyle stories on how everything we do these days is courtesy our booming economy, when wham! We got galloping inflation and suddenly the only thing we’re doing is digging behind the cushions on our sofa sets, hoping to find some change. And one minute I was telling Ye Ed exactly what I thought of the mug (allegedly mine) that accompanies this column and the next I had no network. Even though I have paid my bill.
Naturally, I was very upset. As a lifestyle journalist, no-thing is more important to me than a booming economy because, let’s face it, with galloping inflation, the only stories I’ll be able to do will be things like ‘How to do up your jhopadpatti’, ‘The Coolest Slums in Town’, and ‘How to Travel to Distant Places on Your Own Two Feet (And Lose Weight Too)’. All of which are too depressing for words. And without a mobile phone network, how will the call centre people be able to tell me about credit cards? As it is, my salary is barely visible without a microscope. If there are no 50 paisa coins behind the cushions on my sofa, I won’t be able to afford even a vada-pav without credit. So I was, as I said, baffled. Till I took the advice of several earnest people and read Spencer Johnson’s Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life. When I read the ‘parable’, addressed, apparently, to people with the reading and comprehension skills of two-year-olds, about two mice who, when the cheese ran out, ran off to find some more, and two ‘little people’, one too scared to search for cheese, the other brave enough to explore, I have to admit, my life did change.
If Johnson, I figured, could not only write something so evident in such a condescending manner, but have millions of technically grown-up people sincerely believe it would change their lives, there’s no reason why I should be a lifestyle journalist in an age of galloping inflation. Instead, I shall write a self-help book called Cheese Toast Without Cheese: An Amazing Way to Make Money Via the Astonishing Gullibility of More People Than You Ever Imagined. And then I shall be so rich and powerful that Ye Ed will have to replace the mug that accompanies this column with something that looks rather more like me.
Between the Covers, dealing with the mysterious and not so mysterious connections between books and the world, will appear every Tuesday.