Econ Mom clashes fairly badly with Mrs. Phadke many times.
Whenever I meet with my innocent (read non-economist) homemaker neighbors, there is almost always the discussion on Mehengai. “Such inflation, I tell you. Everything is totally unaffordable. And this Government is not even doing much about it. Where are the Acchhe Din, tell me!” This last, rather aggressive question, is normally directed towards me, with that look in the eye that it is my personal mistake that inflation is so high and the acche din are nowhere in sight.
“Errr, well, you know, currently inflation levels are actually technically not that high,” I begin diffidently only to be drowned in various tones of indignant protests.
“But Dal is soooooooooo expensive. Soap, oil, mobile services…everything is expensive. The maids are constantly asking for a raise. And this Prem Sagar grocer will be the death of me. Everything is sooo expensive.” That’s Mrs. Joshi, who stays in my building and has got extremely set and often err..wrong opinions on what is wrong with the world in general and with me in particular.
I squirm uncomfortably but continue, in what I hope is a calming voice I adopt in the classroom. “Yes, but being expensive and being inflated are two different things, you know. And while the Government can and ought to take steps on this, inflation control is more of a central banking thing, you know…”
My problem is that Econ Mom looks at inflation rather technically and dispassionately and clinically. She knows that CPI is doing ok and WPI is in the negative zone.
Of course, such is not the case with Mrs. Phadke. When the delivery boy from the aforementioned Prem Sagar comes home with the grocery and the unavoidable bills, I too don on the tone that would put Mrs. Joshi to shame to grumble, “Such inflation! This grocer will be the death of me. Where are the Acche Din gone…”
Econ Mom doesn’t like subsidies. It’s not that Econ Mom is heartless, but she is analytical. With limited funds to spend on unlimited infrastructural wants, Econ Mom can never quite fathom how subsidies can be prioritized. But my Gods know that Mrs. Phadke is not quite averse to the thing. When I read recently about the Government now mulling over compulsorily doing away with the LPG subsidy, Econ Mom quietly appreciated the thought. Mrs. Phadke simply shuddered.
Econ Mom is quite the cool customer. She is market oriented, has opinions on Sensex movements and hates controls on anyone and anything. Mrs. Phadke is welfare oriented, buys gold and doesn’t mind controls, so long as they are on others.
There was a fun encounter between the two, interestingly, at the local cinema. Hubby suddenly got us tickets for Spectre as a surprise and there we were in the theatre, waiting for Daniel Craig to floor us with some terrific action sequences. All three of us are huge Bond fans and hence had been following the progress of Spectre quite actively.
When the Sanskaari Bond trolls started after the Censor Board put in its say, I had a lot of fun and was laughing with glee at the different things people were putting up on the Sanskaari Bond. And when Econ Mom read that Bond asks for M’s Aashirwad before starting off on a new mission, she couldn’t stop laughing. Wicked! The troll attack on the Censor Board’s action seemed to be the best form of protest to Econ mom. When humor wounds, it can wound big time. The name’s humor. Black humor.
As we settled in our seats, however, I got a bit, just that teeny weeny bit, anxious. That’s Mrs. Phadke, of course. While Lil One is now 12, coming to the theatre for a Bond film with no remote control in my hand was causing me quite the jitters. You don’t want those questions being asked in front of 35 other strangers looking at you amusedly, tittering at your awkward hushings of the indignant and i-want-to-know-right-now queries. Sigh!
But then, Mrs. Phadke remembered the Censor Board. Heehee! And Sanskaari Bond suddenly didn’t seem wicked anymore. He just seemed perfect! I tell you, had he actually taken M’s Ashirwad by touching her photo-frame hanging in his living room, Mrs. Phadke wouldn’t have minded then! Econ Mom did whisper quietly, “Hypocrite!” into my ear but Mrs. Phadke happily dug some more into her popcorn tub, content to be watching Bond with her family. Thank God for the Sanskaari Bond!