Complimentary yours!


Is it an individual instinct or a cultural attitude or our submissiveness due to prolonged imperialism that we find ourselves unable to resist from taking things that are offered to us at no cost or those things whose proprietorship is ambiguous?

On my recent flight to Goa which coincided with the week of  our most boisterous and colour-smearing festival of the year, Holi, there were a bunch of activities organised by the flight operators before the flight took off. All the passengers had a tikka applied on their forehead as they got in as a sign of welcome followed by the ground crew members dancing on mashed Bollywood dance tracks in the aisle. The only time when no passenger seemed to mind the flight being delayed!  Bura na maano, holi hai! a popular phrase rightly used for this festival: Don’t mind, it is Holi!

So when the dust finally settled and most people like me stopped waiting for the Holi sweet-dish, Gujiya (which I absolutely detest but would have not said NO if I was offered!), to be served, the flight took off.  I happened to notice that some flight seats had a small piece of brightly coloured satin cloth, placed on top of it. Some were yellow, some pink, and green like the one before me. The first thought that flashed in my head: is this for us to keep? I shrugged that thought off my head and settled in my seat. No sooner had I done it I noticed a middle-aged man sitting diagonally across bend down to pick up something. It was a pink satin cloth. He folded it into two and raised his left hip a bit to stuff it into his trousers pocket. He didn’t do this stealthily. It was as if it belonged to him. What would he do with it? It served no utility purpose. It couldn’t be used as a handkerchief because of its silky material. Neither his grand/children would take a fancy for it! Nevertheless, it now belonged to him and that was it all about. As soon as I alighted the flight, I happened to notice many more people holding on to these pieces of cloths and the air crew in the spirit of bura na maano holi hai, didn’t say anything! It was really meant to be only serving the purpose of decoration during festival times.

It is okay for children’s eyes to light up when they see a public space filled up with balloons. They want one or maybe more than one for themselves. But this urge doesn’t stop at childhood..the ones that I see around me in public usually. Somewhere deep down I wanted that piece of shiny cloth for myself too and if  I would have got it along I wouldn’t have known what to do with it!

More at a personal level and during the same Goa holiday, I was in for a surprise when I realised that the breakfast in our package was complimentary! It wasn’t mentioned anywhere. So what would have otherwise been three days of sensible ordering and eating turned out to be just the opposite! Nothing was spared from the list mentioned in the complimentary breakfast menu! It wasn’t the usual eat-as-much-as-you-like buffet.

Certainly there is no such thing as free lunch. If you get complimentary services, you know you have paid for it. But misusing the complimentary services! One should see many customers, including me, going mad in front of a buffet! Considering that I belong to a well-to-do family!

So instead of thanking for the 24-7 water cooler that was placed at the foot of our floor in our hotel which saved us from buying dozens of bottles of mineral water I wished there was free wifi too!

At least I didn’t pick up the satin cloth! There is a room for improvement. And hopefully, along with me there will be many more whose mindset will change.


(The in-flight Holi dance video:

(image courtesy:×450.png)

An ode to our home-grown Disney store


So for all those who enjoyed reading or watching Indian mythology like me as a child or as a grown up and wished that they were transported to the ancient magical world where they would come across holy saints and mystics who would offer you from nowhere a mysterious potion containing fresh herbs from the jungles to cure you of your just about any ailment then you would realize that this has finally turned into a reality! Transportation is of course still faraway from turning in a reality but the rest mentioned above all exists…with a little alterations. The ancient setting has been modified to suit the modern environment.  The magical saint that you would have met then can now be only seen on the posters and boards of his stores as you step in. Welcome to Baba Ramdev’s world of magical products – both edible and non.

Patanjali: a grown-up’s Disney store.  My eyes glitter as soon as I step into any Patanjali store across the country.  It is akin to a child entering a Disney store. Both take you to the happy world of magic from where you can take back home one or several pieces of magic, of course at a price. The two differences being that a Disney store has expensive merchandise and its merchandise only brings you imaginative pleasure. Patanjali products whereas, assure you of magical results. Name any body part from head to toe– internal or external- which is  a source of concern for you! And there you go, you will find a remedy! A one-stop shop for all your health and beauty problems. And instead of the label at the back of the product spelling out the chemicals used in its ingredients, this one has the names of herbs! And boy, don’t you feel organic!

So when a friend asked me recently where she could get fresh wheat grass from, I thought it was a very absurd question! She should have known! Oh yes, they have a clinic too.

This is hoping that it continues to remain like this forever – an affordable magic store for one and all. Why just a child, even grown-ups should believe in magic.

(My 10-year old daughter just read this above and asked me if I have been paid to write this! It now sounds as if it is a paid writing but No, this is just an overgrown child who still believes in magic! And my daughter, she has finally grown up! 🙂 )

(image courtesy: