Once, I read a book, Love in the time of Cholera. It was a beautiful love story which spanned across decades. Now I see a new love story being written almost everyday. I call it — Love in the time of Recession. The other day, I met my cousin, a 17-year-old street-smart guy. I asked him if he had started dating. I expected a nervous, or at least a shy response. Pat came the reply, “Yes, I am.”
He takes his girls to the to a dosa counter across his college. That was slightly unsettling, not to mention downright tacky. How would he even hope to impression them in such a setting?Limited means
But in the time of recession, he expects the girls to understand. Wow! Whatever happened to fine wining and dining!
I backtracked to my college days when I had asked a popular girl out on a date. To my surprise, she agreed. I had no idea then how to woo a woman. All I knew was that I had to take her to a fancy place. So I asked some of my older friends for tips and finally zeroed in on a fancy joint.
With my limited means, that meant a huge chunk out of my pocket money. The date began with a fancy auto ride. The down side about these glitzy places is the staff, which is trained to take advantage of a man on a date.
There I was, pretending as if I knew my way around these places. The captain handed us the menu cards and enquired if we wanted bottled water. Before I could answer, my date nodded her acceptance. On my tight budget, that was indeed a luxury. I smiled at the captain. When I glanced through the food menu, I kept peering to the right to check how much I could splurge. My friends were wrong. This place was expensive.
The date was making me nervous. And I was worried about the impression I was making on her. The captain was back with a smile and more unwelcome suggestions on what we should order. My date ordered according to that. He asked us if we wanted wine or champagne too. I was scared that I would fall short of money if she did.
Before I could panic, she refused. Relief! My mental calculations prevented me from ordering anything for myself. I pretended that I wasn’t hungry and just sipped water. The captain asked me with a smile if I would like some salad or soup. I was fuming. But I managed a smile and a polite refusal. When I finally called for the cheque, I realised I had still overshot my budget. I explained the situation to the captain.
I hoped he would understood my predicament and not embarrass me in front of my date. I paid him the balance on the next day. Now the dating scenario is balanced. But then, it’s a smarter generation which is aware of the recession scenario. As for my cousin, maybe the recession is an excuse, it’s all in the genes, I guess.