My Son.

Inspiration for this post is this cartoon that depicts my situation vis a vis my son.
hamboneRanjan and self

Which brings me to this story which was told to me some decades ago by a crusty old Englishman.  A regular Colonel Blimp type if I ever saw one.

This dandy walks into the Gymkhana Club to find just one solitary old gentleman sitting at the lounge. After ensuring that there really no one else is around, he goes to the old man, introduces himself and sits across the center table from the old gentleman.

He then proceeds to take out a cigar case and offers it the old man who says, “No thanks son, tried it once, did not like it and have never took to smoking. The dandy requests permission to light up and suggests that the old man joins him for a gin and tonic to which the old man says, “No thank you son, tried it once and did not like it. Never drank alcohol since then. Don’t mind me, you go ahead.”

The dandy beckons the waiter, orders his drink and asks the old man if he would be interested in sharing some kebabs with him. The old man says, “No thank you son, tried it once and did not like it. Never had it since then. You go ahead.”

The dandy, orders for the kebabs too, and after the waiter goes away, asks the old man as to how long he has been a member of the club as he has not seen him there before. The old man says that he is not a member at all. On being asked as to what he was doing in the club then, he says that he is waiting for his son who is a member.

The dandy, clears his throat and gently asks the old man, “Your only child?”

Good Taste.

“Good taste is the first refuge of the non-creative. It is the last-ditch stand of the artist.” – Marshall McLuhan.

I may be making myself vulnerable to attack from all corners of the world with this post. This is a subject that is capable of being interpreted in many ways, but post this I must lest I miss sharing a very significant mile post in my life.

As my regular readers know, I went to a sort of school to learn how to dress properly, how to use a fork and knife, how to choose the colour of the socks to wear, how to tie a tie/bow tie etc. These were thought to be necessary for a young Indian in a profession where he was meeting people with good (read WOG [Westernized Oriental Gentleman]) taste, besides hobnobbing with visiting Sahebs from the UK. Much later in my life, it certainly helped me pass the final hurdle in getting selected for a Management Trainee position with a Scottish company, when, as the final test, I was taken to lunch by a Scot after the morning interviews were over. Till to day, I do not know whether it was the interview or the lunch that enabled me cross the last hurdle, but cross I did.

Subsequently, I had many occasions to pass on such invaluable lessons to many youngsters impressed with my “good taste’! In some cases, they came to me voluntarily and in some, I had to tactfully guide them so that they did not goof up in critical situations.

Some few weeks ago, one of my mentees had come to me to learn some tips about dressing as he was going overseas for the first time and wanted to make a good impression. I was teaching him with a lot of humour and patience, when one of my other friends, like me, retired but from the armed forces, came to visit me and threw his few bits in too. (My readers may not know this, but the Indian armed forces, till today follow the British protocol in all that they do.) Some of the idiosyncrasies of these worthies deserves a separate post by itself. But luckily for me, my friend is not the Colonel Blimp type.

After my mentee left, my friend suggested that I read “To Buy Or Not To Buy” by Keith Thomas, which I duly did. For those that are interested in such trivia, it is an absorbing read and I recommend it. But if you, like me, likes to savor whatever life dishes out to you in the form of people coming into your life, you can safely give it a bye.

If you would like to relish some really interesting information, please do spend some time on the links that I have given here. They are priceless.

The read however made me reflect on how far I have traveled in my journey of this life. Today, I can truly say that I have given up the superficial and meaningless values and behaviour for more warm and genuine ones, in which “good taste”, does not find a place. Not that I do not appreciate it, but it no longer is an obsession, which it was in those days when such things were more important for corporate success than genuine humanness.

I shall now go and wear my Kevlar vest and get ready for all that will come my way.