Monday, June 19, 2017

The bad old days - Adult

Old age is when almost all that remains of life is reminiscences. (Not that I am old, you know. After all, a chap who has remained single is always young. As in, check out any marital ad. It is always "Boy aged 54...." and NEVER "Senile dolt aged 54..."). AND once you get on to the 'old days' it is not only about when you were kicking and screaming about your dad refusing to buy you your toy train. It is also about the time you found the missing decimal point and saved the day for your company.

You know, those were the days when it was either Engineering or Medicine or, quite likely, finding out the joys of unemployment. Of course there WERE other jobs - it is not like people wanted ONLY engineers to turn lathes and only MBAs to fill in ledgers, but there were not enough going to be sure of employment. (Going by what I hear, THAT is more true of these days! People seem to NEED engineers even to change bulbs, going by what people employ engineers for!) I love unemployment and have always regretted the need to work but the problem was that I also loved to eat with reasonable regularity. The pity was that this need to eat sort of overcomes all other needs if it is not, yes, things were sort of stressful in the bad old days.

The problem, though, with these days is that, unlike then, the stress does not END with getting employment. THEN, once you were employed you were all set. There was scant little you could do with money beyond a point. Once you got a color TV, a fridge and an ambassador car, you had achieved the acme of success. You could wait till 40 before you started thinking of owning a house and, generally, you could afford one. By and large, a job meant that you were set for life, except if YOU chose to change it. The ultra ambitious anyway vanished beyond your ken by taking themselves off to foreign shores and restricted themselves to bringing 'Dove' soaps and Toblerone on their annual visits home.

Which roughly meant that, once you had become an Engineer (and wonder of wonders, an MBA too) and got a job, you were a guaranteed gold-plated success. AND if you did not, a lot of the people around you were sailing in the same boat. Plus the ones who did manage also realize that 'There, but for the grace of God, go they'. So, there was none of this 'You loser, I winner' thing. True you may starve but you starved without someone sneering at you for starving.

NOW - the day you joined a job, you have to get a vehicle on loan or you are a loser. Within a couple of years or so, you buy a house or you may never be able to buy one with dwindling outstanding years of work and escalating EMIs. Gadgets, household goods, foreign vacations - keeping up with the Joneses (Guptas?) is a full-time expensive proposition. AND, above all, the Damocles' sword of losing your job and needing to get one that pays enough to keep up with the EMIs! Thank God I lived in the 'bad old days' for the most part of my life.

AND, going to office through THIS, I am not going there, after all I am not into writing horror!


  1. So much truthfulness in this. The consumption cycle is really quite something, and it remains virtually impossible to escape without making some serious sacrifices as an individual and resigning oneself to being treated as some kind of lunatic.

  2. Absolutely right....Even after doing great in your industry, you can still find yourself unemployed, these days...

  3. I fail to understand how you can do this on such a consistent basis. Would not be honest with myself if I won't say that this is something I cannot do myself, and I would be willing to count on the tips of my fingers the people who can do what YOU do. Rib tickling comedy interspersed with honest social commentary of our times--I wish the youth of today took some time out of their humdrum credit card driven lives and read your posts--would give them something to smile--not sure they have a lot else going for them!

  4. Totally agree with this post. People buy so many houses (earlier it was one house) on EMIs and the fear of losing job is the biggest issue these days. Foreign vacations are also quite popular today :)
    Btw I love your blog name.
    -Ashwini (from the Neverland grp)