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Quarrel therapy

By Nickunj Malik - Feb 07,2018 - Last updated at Feb 07,2018

I know it is an irritating habit, but whenever I am driving past any large billboard, I tend to read out whatever is written on it, in a loud and lucid manner. It can be the name of a shop, a road sign, an advertising slogan or even a plea to vote for a particular political party, I simply announce it clearly, as I whizz past it.

In a new and unfamiliar town, this turns out to be quite a useful undertaking because the moment I come across the same self-broadcasts repeatedly, I realise for certain that I am lost. After which I have to make the necessary amendments but when the journey is long, some of the innovative names printed on the boards inevitably become a source of amusement.

For instance, in one stretch of the highway in North India, there are several restaurants with the same name. Believe me, it is true. One is called “Lucky”, another one is “Lucky Deluxe”, the third is “New Lucky”, and the fourth one is “Pure Vegetarian Lucky”. Not to be beaten by any of these, the fifth eatery is known as “Air Conditioned Vegetarian and Non Vegetarian Lucky”. What is most astonishing is that they all have their own set of loyal clientele and are almost always full. It must be because of their lucky charm, so to speak. 

Several years ago, if you took a train to New Delhi, about a few kilometres before reaching the destination, bright graffiti would start appearing on the walls that were adjacent to the railway tracks. Most of the scrawled messages would implore you to visit a particular Marriage Bureau for arranged matrimonial alliances. Alternating with this, were hand-painted advertisements, praising the importance of one particular dermatologist who had the cure for every possible skin and sexually transmitted disease you could think of. As children, my siblings and I would rattle off the names on the list in a singsong manner, having no clue about the ailments they implied. Our hapless mother would try to shush us, but we were unstoppable and provided much merriment to the other travellers.

With the arrival of affordable airlines in my home country, all this came to a sudden halt but as more folks populated the cities from nearby rural areas in search of a better livelihood, a fresh crop of problems arose. And as usually is the case, a number of new solutions followed, the most interesting being the sudden appearance of a “quarrel therapist”. 

Quite recently, the minute I spotted a catalogue that was glued to a pillar, I began to read it aloud. In block letters it stated that if there was any conflict in one’s family, discord between the parents or children, marital tension, siblings bickering, neighbours fighting, in-laws giving one a hard time, friends backbiting or one’s boss or colleagues being unreasonable or disagreeable, in all such scenarios, one should call the printed number — urgently!

I was enthralled because there was nothing better than having all my real and perceived grievances resolved in one go.

“Don’t plan anything tomorrow,” I instructed my husband. 

 “We are going to a quarrel therapist,” I informed. 

“To resolve our quarrels,” I continued. 

“But we have none,” he protested. 

“Yes, we do,” I said. 

“No, we don’t,” he said. 

“Yes, we do,” I insisted. 

“No, we don’t,” he insisted. 

I stopped to take a deep breath.

“Let’s go quarrel with the therapist,” my spouse suggested.

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Comments

Delightful read .... pitying the quarrel therapist, god knows if he survived !

The journey of a lifetime in the vignettes depicted here, the signboards and graffiti themselves evocative of a society in transition. Presents a new dimension to social studies, altogether.

The concluding tete a tete, as always was delightful. Create a quarrel to save money on inaugural offers, an extension of consumerism which oxymoronically convinces us of saving by spending.

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