‘News is what somebody wants to suppress- all the rest is advertising’.
While the main newspaper tells you stories of maids being assaulted in Delhi, the magazine supplement (Gurgaon Times) tells a different story. As you read the newspaper supplement where they tell you that Gurgaon residents are looking for maids with passports, a sinking feeling envelops you like the dust haze embracing NCR.
Here is my problem with the magazine supplements. Reading them brings out the disgruntled activist in me. It makes me knock on the editor’s door and ask, ‘Who the hell is gifting diamonds for
festivals? Where the hell do these people work? If they are salaried people, how the hell do they manage to splurge on a vacation for their maid when I am struggling to buy vegetables?’
The fact that I live in Gurgaon exacerbates it for me. At a time when inflation is battering us black and blue, publishing stories about the privileged is more like dangling celery and asparagus on every woman’s face who is struggling to dice onions and tomatoes for salad.
But Gurgaon being Gurgaon, one learns to live with the feeling that you are nobody unless you wear a Herve Leger, carry a Fendi or flaunt a Tissot. No, don’t get me wrong. Gurgaon’s newly minted residents, bless them, are modern, but rooted in culture. My newspaper tells me that they celebrate all festivals from Holi to Halloween with fervor, albeit with a futuristic twist. While the women religiously fast for their husbands on Karwachauth, they prefer to break the fast by using an app which turns their smart phone into a channi. Likewise, there is always a reason for Gurgaon- wallas to party. And Halloween is an interesting one. Another paper tells me that social creepers were planning to buy expensive Evil Queen costumes and skull shaped diamond earrings to celebrate Halloween on foreign shores. I am assuming the maid with a passport accompanied them.
Well, nothing wrong with that at all. I am pure jealous. Don’t judge me, I am human. Who wants to be a struggling writer, when you can be a household cook and enjoy a paid vacation on the beaches of Seychelles?
Every morning after reading the newspaper supplement splashed with advertisements, the urge to get intoxicated and numb the feelings of emptiness and inadequacy overwhelm me. As it happens, there is a 24/7 online home delivery of wine and liquor in Gurgaon. That is if you can decide between a kilogram of onions and a bottle of booze.
But frankly, there is little point in cribbing and whining. I have two options. For minimum impact, I am contemplating reading the national daily with a glass in my hand. As I read the magazine supplement and snuff wine, I can imagine myself dressed as a billboard, hopping on my chartered plane and celebrating festivals in style. So what if Diwali is over, Christmas is on the horizon.
The other, better option is to read the main newspaper. It tells me that there is a slowdown in the festive spirit as price rise has hit sales. It also tells me that Gurgaon’s top cop suffers from dengue and that two people were stabbed to death in a call center.
Bad is never good until worse happens. One kilogram of onions hitting a century is better than one onion hitting a century. To hell with the maid with a passport - there is joy in simple things. Like watching television with the family. Like taking a walk in the park. And news? Well, as they say, ‘No news is good news’. All the rest is advertising.
Picture Courtesy: Thinkstock, Gurgaon Times (The Times of India)
Originally in Friday Gurgaon.