I got an unexpected mail from a stranger last Thursday. For the purpose of this post, let us call him Tookay. Having obtained his permission to do so, I reproduce the correspondence in full.
(The correspondence has taken a life of its own since I drafted this post and I have decided to serialise it so that the posts are short. Watch this space for more.)
At the outset, I sincerely wish to admit that you are doing a great job of writing wonderful articles on your blog, which inspire and educate folks like me – and you are doing all this at 70! That’s really cool.
Of course, I was sad to learn about 3 sad events in your life:
Death of your wife.
Your hip operation [both hips ] but could this not be averted through 1st rate physiotherapy?
Death of your friend Akbar.
Anyways, you are doing a great job.
Sir, though my questions may seem very weird, I shall thank you to provide me some good answers to following questions based on your great thought process and experience:
I am 55 years+ and retired with very little savings to support me and my wife for another say 5-10 years [ guess there is no point in living if you don’t have money!
Yes, I have one son who earns quite well but he is very selfish and we don’t wish to rely on his earnings.
Very recently since many of my relatives and in-laws have gone on Foreign Tours, my wife insists that the two of us go on a Europe Trip, which will cost us Rs. 4 Lakhs.
I told her politely that this is just not done – we don’t have that kind of money and I assured her that we will travel the whole world in next 6 LIVES since as per Hindu Sacred Laws husband & wife get re-united for 7 LIVES! [ saat janmon ka saat ] My wife is very religious but yet she harasses me no end and insists that we visit Europe. I can’t even tell her to go with a Mahila Sang to Europe because I do not have that much money to squander when same Europe and other exotic places can be seen on Travel Channels.
Sir, please suggest how best I can suggest to my wife to forget Europe? Can’t even tell her to see Europe in her dreams because we mortals just don’t have the power to decide what to dream!
My second funny question is this: is there any way I can become a multi-billionaire at this age so as to win the heart of my wife – my wife loves money like hell! And I am sure she will love me a billion times more if I become a Billionaire.
But as they say: man proposes, God disposes! Guess, I ‘ll buy a Lottery Ticket – just 1.
It will also be great if you write some articles on following:
See the world on travel Channels – don’t waste money and make Travel Agencies & Airway companies rich.
Don’t ever think of becoming a multi-billionaire after 60 even if your wife insists.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Thanks & Regards,
I responded by answering below each paragraph, but to make this post short, I reproduce my response in a running format.
Hello you too Mr. Tookay.
And the very same to you too.
Thank you. That is very inspiring. I completed 72 last month and intend going on blogging for as long as I can.
Those were events in my life like similar things would be in other people’s lives.
No, physiotherapy would not have been enough as the femoral heads were completely damaged.
Thank you once again.
I am flattered. I will try my best to come up to your expectations.
I would love to go on my long cherished dream of visiting friends and relatives in Europe, the UK, Ireland, the USA, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, and Bangladesh by going on a non stop tour starting Westward and coming around the globe to end up in Chennai. I simply do not have the finances to do that. How can I advice you dear sir? If I were you, I would simply show my bank passbook to my wife and explain the financial realities and ask her to change her ambitions. I trust that my response satisfies you.
If I had an answer for that question, do you think that I would be blogging everyday to pass my time Mr. Tookay? I would be globetrotting.
Now you are talking my kind of language. The point is that I haven’t yet found either the inspiration or the energy to leave my comfort zone to go 3 Kms to the nearest lottery ticket seller. No one to love me, money or, no money! Sad.
I shall try my level best to find the inspiration to do so Mr. Tookay.
I have responded with all humility and to the best of my ability, and I need just one favour from you. I would like your permission to reproduce this entire exchange as a post in my blog.
I now look forward to hearing from you.
With gratitude for your interest and encouragement and kind regards,
He has responded :
Thanks a lot for your lightning speed reply – I appreciate it very much.
Indeed your response to all of my questions were very realistic with lots of humor sprinkled graciously – frankly, I laughed my guts out and kept thanking you in my heart of hearts for showing my the right path.
I am still very sad to learn about your hip operation and was just wondering whether you are able to walk without using any stick or such similar stuff. I also wonder how you live without a wife – I can’t live without my wife for a single day because I just hate hotel food and unfortunately I am not a good cook. Lady cooks don’t come cheap and many are thieves and crooks – you never know. I hate burgers, pizzas, etc and can’t live on bread, butter, eggs, fruits, olive oil for even 1 or 2 days. Do let me know how you live – probably I can get some good tips from you so as to reduce my dependence on my wife.
I was happy to know that you have friends in various parts of the globe and had I been a multi-billionaire we could have surprised all your friends by actually visiting and staying with each of them for a few days.
Sure, you can reproduce whatever stuff you want but please mention my name as Tookay, because having worked in various companies I have more critics and less wellwishers. I don’t wish to be a target of ridicule for folks who may accidentally come to recognize me!
Thanks once again for your excellent advice and encouraging words of wisdom.
24 thoughts on “I Am Now An Agony Uncle.”
What fun! Hurray for blogging! I would much rather blog than travel.
Cheerful Monk recently posted..A Quote and Two Poems
As I write this response, the exchange has taken off into other dimensions and I refrain from carrying that any further in my blogs.
Rummuser, Suze Orman is retiring from her financial sanity show, so perhaps you could apply as her replacement? Or maybe there needs to be an Indian version of this?
I am thankful I got most of my travel desires out of my system when I was younger.
Looney recently posted..The Sikh Religion, Its Gurus, Sacred Writings and Authors, by Macauliffe
I am far too expensive!
I will be far more expensive!
this is absolutely marvelous! I have a small suggestion for your friend Mr Tookay. Since a lot of unhappiness is caused by not having something to do, perhaps his wife could get a job as a lady cook. One of the ones who are paid so well. Then SHE would learn the value of money and could finance the trip. And since he is thinking seriously about death, at age 55, perhaps he could become a house emptier. A lot of people over here in Germany and in the states hire out to help a family, especially with disabilities, empty a house of old junk so it can be sold. The take is agreed upon items from the house which can be sold later. Also caring an hour or two for an ill person could be done on a financial basis, and fill the trip piggy bank, or just for kindness sake. One hears a lot of great stories and is never bored, and the people are so grateful it makes you feel wonderful. Ps you make a great Agony Uncle.
Your comment has been read by him.
Interesting. I assume, from the moniker you’ve given him, that his initials are KK. You have also mentioned his name once in your reply to him – you might want to replace that to save the poor man embarrassment or danger (the latter from his wife, whom he hasn’t exactly painted in the most favourable of lights). Regarding living without a wife – as cooking appears to be the only thing that keeps her useful to him, perhaps he should take the advice he gives her regarding her travel ambitions and learn hiw to cook by watching cookery channels on television.
That being said, perhaps the lady could consider a part time job herself, using her homegrown skills for financial gain. Another thought – if she would condescend to visiting a less expensive destination. There are plenty that would cost less while allowing her to keep up with the Joneses (or the Javles).
I don’t know them at all. I cannot offer such an advice unless I know more. Mr. Tookay is of course reading all these comments and responses and hopefully will take appropriate action.
I have edited. Thanks. So typical that even if he is trying just to be funny, it is a reflection of our value systems.
i would have had to say in all honesty…
it is time to get another wife.
one who loves you for who you are and not what you give her.
i admire your answer. i am finding it harder to be gracious in such areas. i cannot relate to such materialistic people such as she.
the suggestions by fellow commenters are good!
i wish tookay the best. he sounds like a fine man.
but i also think he should maybe try to learn to take care of himself too.
he’s a grown man. not a child who needs a mother.
maybe learning to cook could become a hobby for him.
he would admire you even more if he new your fine ability to prepare a fabulous meal!!!
tammy j recently posted..quality or quantity
You will learn more about him as further correspondence unfolds and may well change your mind!
I am sitting pretty, sipping sherry and tut-tutting! If this gentleman … I am assuming he is a Gentleman… was a stranger, then how did he know your email address? From the tone and language of the text, I am drawn south not to Chennai but to Bengarulu. Please continue, I look forward to how this procès-verbal will cobble together.
Miss Marple recently posted..For Irmi
I think that I will wait till the exchange of mails stop before I respond to comments. For your specific question on how he got my email address, it is available on my “About Me” page for anyone who wishes to contact me.
Been trying that lottery ticket route for many years. Hasn’t worked yet, but it can cause one to spend many hours dreaming instead of wasting time planning unaffordable trips.
Ah, that dreaming is all that makes all the lotteries all over the world so successful!
I kept waiting for him to tell you he could get a million dollar from Africa and share it with you if you’d only send him a token of good faith like your life savings. 😀
wisewebwoman recently posted..Crazy Knit Lady
So far it has turned out to be a scam. In fact, as I write this, the exchange has gone off my blog and has taken completely different dimensions.
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