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The problem with meeting with people, as against only interacting with your dog and the television remote, is that people tend to give unsolicited advice
And our Bangalore city is full of wise people just dying to tell you what to do. Go to my doctor, try this massage lady, take this route—it’s endless! You’re sweating it out at the gym and Ms. Slim Do-gooder from the cross trainer comes and starts advising you on good sports bras. You’re sitting in a restaurant waiting for your friend to arrive and some random woman will come and tell you about this salon that gives a great facial. I mean what the hell? I really don’t remember ordering for an obnoxious woman. Waiter, I would like my salad now please! (Secret: It’s actually never salad, usually a steak or something with cheese.)
Unknown people you can growl at and ignore. Harder to get past are acquaintances, friends and family. Advice pores from this lot by the bucketful and sometimes you’re stupid enough to actually take it. Below are the top 5 “pieces of advice” taken and consequences thereafter.
Advice: Drink 3 litres of water a day.
Expected benefit: Your skin will glow like a 300-watt bulb and you will lose weight.
What actually happened: For years I lugged around a bottle of water with me everywhere I went. The only thing I lost were many rolls of toilet paper and my dignity when I had to pee behind trees and bushes. And as I write this I have a pimple on my left cheek which mocks me and says, “You got bad genes, love. Forget the water and just go and buy some good foundation.”
Advice: Oil your hair once a week.
Expected benefit: Shiny hair to match your svelte figure and glowing skin.
What actually happened: Oil stinks! Literally, it does. And it stains my pillow covers. And each time I wash my hair after oiling it, my bathroom floor turns black, brown, blonde and red (I’m very experimentative with hair colours) with all the hair that falls. And my husband refuses to come near me with my greasy scalp. It’s just not worth it, especially since the shiny effect can be easily achieved with a visit to your closest hair salon.
Advice: Finish dinner by 7:30 in the evening.
Expected benefit: Tons of weight loss. (I get a lot of advice on how to lose weight.)
What actually happened: Well, actually it never happened. Not once in my life have I been able to finish anything by 7:30. In fact, each time I resolve to eat early I end up working late and only eat by 11:30-12:00. So, technically the 7:30 dinner thing is un-followed advice. Maybe one day I’ll try it and tell you how it worked out.
Advice: Start learning to cook by making simple dals, rice etc.
Expected benefit: In a few weeks I’d be Tarla Dalal, making 7 course gourmet meals and writing books on the joy of cooking.
What actually happened: There’s no better way to get someone off cooking forever than by making him or her make dal. It’s boring, the cooker never works properly, strange liquids gush out of it, you wait forever for some damn whistle which never blows and by the time you serve it, it’s a salt-less yellow paste, fit only for babies with undeveloped taste buds.
Advice: Let’s go to so and so’s party.
Expected benefit: This is more of a suggestion rather than advice actually, that’s been made and taken too many times. The ultimate aim of course is a fun-filled evening.
What actually happened: The greatest thing that happened is that I didn’t strangle the person making this crappy suggestion. I cannot even count the number of evenings that have been wasted going to frightfully boring so-called parties, all for the accomplishment of one person in the group’s agenda. That agenda of course always involves a member of the opposite sex and more often than not does get accomplished. What does get accomplished is a live demo of your most boring nightmare. Spending the night in high heels, with a styrofoam glass in your hand, while trying to ignore DJ Sami’s latest rendition of a 60s Hindi film number. I cringe at the thought!
Having had all this experience I’ve concluded it’s best to do what you think is right. That way things not going the desired way can be termed as ‘a learning experience’.
My advise? Don’t take any advice. Although you should take this one.