Sunday, June 2, 2013

Talking Turkey

The turmoil in Turkey ! And I was right there in Taksim Square, strolling past the disputed Gezi Park, just a few hours before the rioting began. These images of Istanbul and Perge ( in Antalaya) remind me of the quieter, more peaceful time I spent in this country, enjoying the glorious moonrise over thhe Bosphorus. I clicked that picture from the terrace of the magnificent Kiragan Palace Hotel, where we were dining with local friends. The gate you see is one of the many entrances to what has to be one of the world's most exquisite hotels, carved out of marble many centuries ago - a tribute to the Ottoman Empire that dominated the world. And Perge, where we feasted our eyes on Roman columns and other architectural wonders going back so very many years. A few days later, the country is in the grip of violent protests. And we are dealing with the absurdities of BCCI shenanigans.
This appeared in Mumbai Mirror yesterday...

                  We’re all going on a summer holiday….
One of the most annoying tv commercials airing these days, shows a school boy coming home early from  cricket practice and cribbing to his father about being the only chap in the group not going on a summer vacation. At this point, a little girl pipes up and says in an irritating sing- song way , “Papa… papa… even I want to go on a holiday.” The poor dad looks a little sheepish, recovers quickly and assures his kids he’ll organize a chhutti for them.His wife ticks him off  sharply (yup, right in front of the kids), saying, “Why are you lying to them?” And that’s the cue for the father to grin broadly and inform the family he has switched EMI payments to some other bank. Why do I find this commercial so intensely irritating? For the same reason, I find most lifestyle ads disgusting. There must be countless fathers stuck in similar situations, unable to fulfill the unrealistic demands of their children at this time of the year. There is so much pressure to ‘get away from the heat’ ( like we know any other weather!) , it has become a social disease that claims more victims than a heat stroke. We are bombarded on all sides by peddlers of holiday packages. We fall for these cons  We succumb. And if we are left without the option of that face saving vacation, we are doomed.Neighbours one runs into in an elevator , stare pityingly at those  staying put, as they themselves load bags into waiting cars… and drive off smugly to the airport. Aaaargh!
As a school girl in Delhi, our summer breaks were car trips with the family, often to destinations that were even hotter than Delhi ( Agra! Imagine!!). We stayed at government Dak Bungalows and ate inedible oily meals cooked by  drunk khansamas. But we still managed to have a great time. Yes, even sleeping under discoloured and torn mosquito nets, with blood- thirsty mosquitoes buzzing around our ears. Like Karan Johar stated many moons later, it was all about loving the family.Today, holidays have been converted into competitions. It’s all about impressing the neighbours.  And the pressure exerted on poor dads and moms to make sure the kids can boast about a dream vacation is such that large sums of money are being borrowed to placate these brats. Of course, the only holidays worth taking and talking about are foreign ones. Who wants to see India, I heard a kid scoff  last week.
How on earth do young parents deal with this nasty zabardasti? Should moms be totally candid with their kids and admit how tight the money situation really is? Should dads be discussing EMI problems in front of  innocent bachchas?How should harrowed parents deal with the disappointment of children who expect them to produce funds and plan swanky holidays – just like the parents of their more affluent friends in school and college? Tough, tough, tough. Today’s kids are well informed and cunning. They think nothing of ‘shaming’ their parents into shelling out money for what in the old days were called ‘wasteful expenses’. An older generation of more cautious parents knew how to traipse around such landmines. Not that it placated kids. But at least, kids didn’t make them feel guilty and inept for not whisking them off to Mount Titilis. These days, the bachchalog have become fully besharam! They not only make unreasonable demands but hold the parents responsible for not fulfilling them. The comparisons with Sweety’s dad and Munni’s mom, never end!And kids don’t really care where parents produce that extra cash from – so long as it’s there!

This year’s top ticket destination is Turkey. I am headed there myself. Am I glad I don’t have pesky kids in tow. But what’s the bet, the flight to Irresistible Istanbul will be packed with brats bleating, “Papa… Papa…  forget visiting Topkapi … let’s go and see JohnAbraham’s home from Race- 2 .” Abraham’s ‘home’ in the movie was, believe it or not,  the super fabulous 560 rooms Mardan Palace Hotel in Antalya Why not? Bollywood has always been the most reliable tour operator in India.The Bosphorus beckons. And I am right there! The hell with those EMIs.


Jogeshwar said...

I have not watched television since quite a while but yes, I did notice on FB, people showing their 'happy' holidays. What better platform to showoff than social networking sites. Checking in on Facebook, at hotels. I find it amusing they hardly post any asthetic, scenic pictures.
I remember our trekking trips while in school. One year a private adventure company showed up, while in eighth standard. They promised great adventure but at a price many times our normal school trek.So called affluent friends ditched us. We felt sad about the split. I tried coercing my parents, to no use that I am too young to be spending such money. Anyways that year, we chose a trek to Hemkund sahib. We trekked from 8000 ft upto 15000 ft over a period of two days covering 14km of gentle slope on day one and next 6km arduous climb the next day. I forgot the return trip as well, totalling 40k. It was the experience of a life time, beautiful hills, streams, scenic valleys, all this in the company of best friends. It turned out to be the best trek ever.
Also did you read in the paper a team from Lawrence school Sanawar, climbed Mt. Everest. It's a great achievement by the school boys, but am sorry the students of other schools might wish to, but climbing Everest is an expensive affair, getting a permit only costs a few thousand dollars.

KK said...

The thing about advertisements is that these show life as only two things: your problem, and the solution that we offer for it. Totally ignoring everything else. In the end, it effectively targets about 0.01% of the population, because those who could buy the thing, would and those who won't, won't.

The part about kids using any_means_possible to get their parents to do things is not the newest thing :-)

Unknown said...

Blaming the kids for being insensitive is laughable. They did not ask to be brought into this stupid world! The problem is every Indian wants to become a parent whether he or she can afford it or not! We are not animals to produce litters.

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tNt said...

Yes Mam,

This is what happens these days in India. And that's what makes our India and its people so peculiar indeed.

In that SBI EMI commercial I think the wife asks the husband why he lied when there are no kids actually.

Your entire post is damn true. :)

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Tsomo85 said...

LOL,,,,so true but thankfully my secondary school in India does not have such a annoying and show off bachaaaas. Never felt like competing with other kids over holiday trips. Here in US, it's all about camping up north. Everybody does the same thing and nobody cares much about traveling outside state,,,,ditto American mentality. I should say thank God for that advantages. LOL

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