Monday, June 30, 2008

Privileged, who me?

I have more than a sneaking suspicion that I saw myself as a member of the privileged class in my childhood. No, I did not know the exact phrase for the state I imagined myself to be in. The reasons for this self-delusion were simple. I was waited upon by a couple of servants, one of them an old family retainer. We had a car. Not many others we knew had one. We took an annual summer holiday either in Matheran or Mahabaleshwar. We also used to go occasionally to Pune, sometimes staying at the Morarjee Gokuldas Sanitarium opposite the Pune Railway Station and eating out at Dorabjee's and the Railway Restaurant managed by Brandons. Our train travel was by first or second class in a reserved coupé. We lived in a fairly spacious terrace flat at 233 Khetwadi Main Road. I did not attend a posh school, though, like Ashu and Abhi. My first school was bottom of the barrel. The second one was fairly respectable. We ate and dressed well. We owned a gramaphone to play 78 rpm discs and a Bush radio I had plenty of toys to amuse myself with We went to see a fair number of movies and plays. The illusion of living a privileged life stayed with me till the time I joined the Forward Market Commission on a measly salary of Rs.400/- a month after doing my Master of Commerce by thesis.; By and by, however, the scales fell from my eyes, as Pelham ("Plum") Grenville Wodehouse would have succinctly put it. What I should have realised is the so-called privileged status is ephemeral, like everything else in this world. Truman Capote would have most likely understood.