Those that were impacted by my last trip to a phoren country will now be shuddering. That`s, if I told them about my forthcoming trip to Cape Town in South Africa for a week.
Last time I was in Canada (and also managed to stay in London for a few days thanks to a technical snag in the Air India flight!)…I had returned with what is known as reverse cultural shock.
This was way back in 1997, and Dr Manmohan Singh`s liberalization policies hadn`t affected my family yet. After I was back from the all-expenses-paid-by-the-Government trip, when still in college, I was a changed man. For starters, I hated my parents. My mother didn`t wear trousers, and didn`t visit the pub on weekends…my father didn`t have a pick up truck to take us on weekend outings. Gosh! What losers for parents, I had got.
It had started the day I was back. “Mom, aren`t you bored with this dosa and sambar? Have you heard of Bacon & eggs?” I remember asking.
The innocent mother that she was, she replied: “Son, I know eggs…but what is bacon?”
“Mom, bacon is strips of a pig`s thigh…and it makes for sophisticated breakfast – unlike this messy dosa & sambar.”
“But meat early in the morning? And since when did you start eating pork?” she sounded concerned.
I didn`t bother to respond.
It took me close to a fortnight to realize that that I was back in India, and I was in a state of denial. Thereafter, it took me another fortnight to apologize and return home a prodigal son.
Here is the twist in the tale – I will be off to Cape Town in South Africa for a week long crash course. Guess what…the keyword for the course is ‘innovation` and is being conducted by Harvard University. More details on that later.
Since, I had shared the story of my last trip with her…my wife is really scared. As a matter of fact, she went to Food Spencers in Mega Mall, Gurgaon yesterday and bought three packs of Bacon and put them in the freezer. Today evening, she is buying eggs.
As with most women, my wife also wants me to plan my activities. After being reprimanded by her couple of times, I took the effort and came up with a list of things I need to take on my trip to South Africa. Here goes:
Rekha has been helping me pack. If you make a trip like this and if your wife insists on packing your suitcase/bag…keep a close watch on her. And the moment she finishes packing, re-check if your return ticket is still there.
Since we Rajans are selfless sacrificers, let me give you another tip: Always, take a bigger bag during your phoren trips… what if you find out that the hotel staff doesn`t scrutinize the bags during check out?
In a recent survey in the United States of America, it has been found out that 90% of the men want to wear pink, silk boxer shorts…but are scared of being found out (accidental discovery!). Extrapolating the same logic, I had decided to take my newest, brightest & best-est Jockeys (the yellow one, which says ‘Champ` on the back, the red one that says ‘Play Boy` on the back, and the Black one that says ‘Great Stuff` on the back).
I had even reasoned out with my colleagues that it was always better to be prepared. What if I was JUST strolling near a night club and the night club`s bouncer pointed a gun at my head and asked me to walk in? Wouldn`t I just walk into the Night Club to save my life? After all, South Africa is the country where they can kill their own National animal – Springboks – for delicacy. Why would they think twice about a 165 cms tall, dark skinned (that`s another negative!) young man? Now, don`t you think, me packing my brightest, newest & best-est of jockeys made sense?
Since I am leaving on Monday night, I thought I should give my wife sometime to decide on what she wants from South Africa…so asked her today morning. “So, what do you want from me, from South Africa?”
“Unconditional love.” She didn`t have to think to give the answer.
*I made a small change in my checklist…have removed the line “The newest, Brightest, & Best-est.”
**In my absence, please take good care of my country. It is a blink & miss role…I will be back soon.
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