It is just the way we are !

I had just about settled down to pen (or type, if you are a stickler for accuracy) my column for the week, and was about to dive right into it, when my wife asked me a question.

Now, before I tell you about the question that my wife asked me, which will bring me to the point of the column, I must tell you about what settling down to write means. It means getting myself a cup of coffee, checking my email to see if anybody has written to me in the last thirty seconds (for it’s been that long since I checked), checking my Facebook page for no particular reason, making sure that the laptop is plugged in and charging, getting up to change the fan speed to 3 rather than 2, and then checking mail again. It is only when I realize that nobody except Prince-with-an-OFFER-TO-MAKE-MILLIONS from Nigeria wants to communicate with me that I finally sigh and open a Google Docs. Us amateur columnists have the kind of rituals that will put veterans at the Varanasi Ghat to shame.

So anyways, where was I? Ah yes, the wife asked me, just as I was settling down to write what you are reading right now, what I was up to. The tone implied that I would be asked to Do Important Things Around The House, so I hastily replied that I was about to start writing my column.


Well, I mean, I’m a reasonable man – I wasn’t expecting her response to be along the lines of the Gettysburg address, but neither was I expecting it to be this short and caustic. And what, I enquired cautiously, did that mean?

“When was the last time you wrote anything positive in that damn column anyway?”

Now, two things: one, her response may have been because of some gentle leg-pulling in the weeks gone by. And second, I was hurt. I mean, I know that I tend to sound like a querolous old granny every now and then, and I’ll be the first to admit it, but it can hardly be the case that I don’t write anything positive at all. One may have to dig deep into my columns and read between the lines every now and then to find anything cheery at all, but that’s just the way I write. Subtle and nuanced, those are signature Kulkarni moves. Ask anybody.

It’s just that saying something straight up, and making it sound gentle and well-meaning doesn’t sit easily with us Puneris. What’s the point of being Captain Obvious and Captain Kind at the same time? Particularly when Mumbaikars are so very good at it anyway.

We’re better off doing the biting sarcastic wit and the unexpected punchline. It just is who we are.

Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish is a confirmed Punekar, which guarantees eternal undying love for the city, but also mandates an incurable sense of cynicism about it.

He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime
Ashish Kulkarni