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Humour: What’s the favourite “mistake” you’ve ever made?

A drunken tattoo, an impulsive buy, or a blind date that ended in disaster—dig in your memories and pick out yours!

brunch Updated: Oct 28, 2018 00:53 IST
Rehana Munir
Rehana Munir
Hindustan Times
My Favourite Mistake,romance ruined,bad decisions
. A favourite mistake is a delicious something you know is bad for you, but that doesn’t stop you from doing it(Shutterstock)

Did you know when you go

It’s the perfect ending

To the bad day....

I was just beginning

When you go all I know is

You’re my favourite mistake.

Thus sang Sheryl Crow in her 1998 hit My Favourite Mistake. Many believe it’s about the end of her relationship with Eric Clapton. We know for a fact that the song was nominated for a Grammy, so it clearly struck a chord. A favourite mistake is a delicious something you know is bad for you, but that doesn’t stop you from doing it. Hearing this song after years, I got thinking about relationships that we think of as mistakes in hindsight. A friendship that’s soured. A business partnership gone to seed. A romance ruined. Which relationships would you undo if you could? Which ones, though they may have unravelled, do you still not regret?

Of love, wine and starch

The concept of a doomed relationship on loop formed the core of the cult film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004). Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey portray lovers whose love has gone awry. They have the chance to clinically erase their memories of each other. To start afresh. And yet, after all the angst and torment, they begin their relationship again, unaware of the heartache they’ve been through. It’s how they’re programmed, if you will.

Sunday nights often end with the earnest protestation, “I’ll never drink again!” On the following Friday, the mistake counter is reset

From the headiness of love and its after effects, it’s easy to extrapolate to that other intoxicant. Sunday nights often end with the earnest protestation delivered in undignified postures: “I’ll never drink again!” On the following Friday, the mistake counter is reset. I personally find the bottle easily avoided. At the risk of sounding too tame, I feel vada pav is my favourite mistake. It makes me grievously ill. But I still return to it – like a potato to the frying pan – with monotonous regularity. What’s love or drink compared to the devilish combination of starch, fat and spice? Every sinful bite is made tastier still with generous lashings of regret.

Best of three

Chetan Bhagat wrote a book called The 3 Mistakes of My Life (and already I feel like it’s a mistake alluding to it), which was made into the film (2013). In the film, the protagonist makes three miscalculations: he spends a lot of money buying a shop, gets intimate with his friend’s sister and dithers before deciding to save a friend’s life. Now these are the prototypes for mistakes we all encounter. When we broke for lunch at a recent meeting, the boss lady confessed how the sweet potatoes she bought at a posh Delhi supermarket cost her Rs 1,400 for a measley 250g. (I almost spat out the piece that I had so gracefully put into my mouth a moment before.) Who knew even the innocuous sweet potato could induce buyers’ remorse?

We all have that one mistake that we make over and over again. It’s the kind of mistake that, if you get really good at getting away with it, can even define you

Entanglements with friends’ ex-partners/family is not an uncommon regret. (Think Chandler in that Friends episode with Joey’s sisters). Then there’s the altogether more important matter of not jumping in soon enough to rescue a friend from a bad relationship, health struggle or a general slump. Of these three categories of mistakes, the middle one seems is a good claimant to the favourite title, you’ll agree.

Galti se mishtake

Robert and Bhalla, to those who aren’t initiated into the madcap world of Andaz Apna Apna, are the quintessential bumbling henchmen of a comic don. Galti se mishtake ho gaya is a catchphrase for many of us weaned on tacky cinema with a classy touch.

We all have that one mistake that we make over and over again. It’s the kind of mistake that, if you get really good at getting away with it, can even define you. It’s Virender Sehwag’s legendary lack of footwork. Your kitchen failures that go into the family bible. (Never try to zing up a pasta sauce using Limca.) That three-foot high elephant statue you thought would liven up the landing outside. You hate it. But you can’t throw it away. Slowly you start to hate it less. It’s grown on you, like a fungus. Like Sheryl Crow, everyone should have a hierarchy of mistakes. It would be a mistake not to.

From HT Brunch, October 28, 2018

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First Published: Oct 27, 2018 22:24 IST