The Old Guilt Road…

Friday, June 03, 2016

“Sir, why are you sweating so much?” asked Sanju Udhasi, my friendly neighbourhood liquor storekeeper…

I was checking out at the till and paying for the beers that I had bought last Sunday… and was soaked in sweat that I worked up on my 2 km walk up to the liquor store from my home… and… of course… I would work up more sweat on the same stretch on my walk back home…

“Sanju Bhai… Maine socha Paap se pehle Prayaschit kar loon (I thought I must ATONE… before I SIN)…” I said…

While his name is Udhasi (sadness)… Sanju has a hearty laugh about him… he let that out… without guilt…

With his big hearted laugh… Sanju drew me into a deep-seated heart-searching trip… netting in an immediate, positive, feel-good, spirited disposition of sorts, about the walk that I took… but for that walk and burning off some calories… I would have gone on a long brick road guilt trip… for having my beers…

—–

“Throw that pencil now… you can barely hold it between your fingers anymore…” Lucky would often chide me in school…

My childhood friend and a close confidante as we were growing up… Lucky had often seen me saving things that I used, till that one last time that I could use them… pencils, for instance, would often cause a verbal duel between Lucky and I… and on occasions, a healthy battle too, to see who outlasts whom on the length of the pencil and its usage till the last functional lead that allowed us to write…

I would often win…

Call it middle-class upbringing but adversity of most sorts draws me into long-winding guilt trips… whether it was people, hearts or things… my attitude towards frugality irked many of them…

The most traumatised of the lot was my SOAP… the soap in the bathroom had to be used till the last possible point till the innards of the cake and the oils used have most conveniently dried up… I had this habit of then pressing the last part of the remaining soap into the new cake of soap so that both are an integrated lot… and none of it is wasted…

And what with my father’s fetish to try out newer soaps that hit the market every now and then… and as the buying decision making in the family was always volunteered upon him… over a period of time, the soap in my bathroom had many smells and flavours… because of all the integration that used to happen over months…

Until one fine day… my father decided he had enough of this integration business… and brought home LIFEBUOY… the world’s leading health soap… which took weeks before I could say I couldn’t use it anymore… and lo and behold… Lifebuoy was made of oils that would make it impossible for it to stick to any other soap…

So… a natural next life for the last piece of Lifebuoy was its use as a hand-wash at the washbasin… at least till the time it resembled the length of my pencil that I could not use any more…

And… Lucky would win this time…

The toothpaste and the talcum powder were not far behind… my pestiest pet peeve as a kid was when somebody squeezed the toothpaste from the middle of the tube… come on… if you wanted to use the toothpaste squeeze it from the bottom and locomote it to the top… and if more-than-you-need paste dropped out… force it back into the tube… fold the tube as it finishes by the day until it can’t be squeezed no more… then cut it with a pair of scissors and extract the last molecule of paste from the tube before you consign it to garbage…

Don’t recall the last time I did that… the plastic tubes do not allow me to do what I used to do with my tin toothpaste tubes as a kid…

My tailor bore the biggest brunt as I grew from adolescence to an adult… my custom made clothes… particularly trousers… always had margins enough to last me a lifetime of growing… up and wide… a customary annual visit to the tailor with the same pair of trousers… and he using his scissors and scalpels to open them up and stitch them back to suit my new height and new waist… till he refused to perform any further surgery on my trousers…

Because it was surgically impossible…

Till most recently when my travels take me into hotel rooms where I use the hotel bath and toilet supplies… half of which are whisked away by the hotel staff because I just opened them and used only a half of the bottle… often send me down the guilt road… till I started leaving hand written notes for the housekeeping staff to let the used stuff be… because I would use them the next day…

And my incorrigible friends… who give me all kinds of scrawny advice on my scrimping and saving… particularly when I last wanted to carry a few left over drops of my aftershave from my Bengaluru hotel…

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1263021073738713&set=a.142808862426612.17062.100000924962483&type=3&theater

—–

And last Sunday… a few good friends and I had a good binge over the IPL finals… the beers added to the fun and excitement… a good part of that without guilt because of some walking, that weekend…

My HEALTH GUILT taken care of…

As years of growing up socio-economically has lessened the guilt around my conscious frugality… spending my own hard earned money the way I want to is a new conscientious guilt that I have been living with…

Well… should I…?

My WEALTH GUILT… Hmmm…

Happy Weekend…

Ravi Kodukula

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2 thoughts on “The Old Guilt Road…

  1. Loved each line of this piece..could so well relate to lucky as Gaurav belongs to the same community of ‘squeeze till the last drop’…smiling all the way

    Liked by 1 person

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