How? Why? What?
An examination of some of the abiding mysteries of life
You know all those abiding mysteries of life that people lie awake and think about? As in: how did the world come into being? Why are we here? What is it all about? Is there such a being as God? Well, I don’t really waste much sleep over them. Instead, I am constantly mystified by people and the baffling things some of them get up to.
I mean, how do you explain the fact that there are some women who apply toner after cleansing their faces and before moisturising? Who are these women and how do they have the time – not to mention the energy and the patience – to undertake this three-step cleansing routine twice a day? I feel incredibly pleased with myself for smearing on a spot of sunscreen in the morning and managing to clean my teeth before collapsing into bed. And there are apparently women out there who actually manage to not just cleanse and moisturise, but also ‘tone’ their skin? I know these mythical creatures must exist (or else how would you explain the sales of toner?) even though I have never met any of them. But I can’t help being mystified by their devotion to cleansing rituals nonetheless.
Of late, I have been puzzling over another abiding mystery of our time. Who are all these women who find Fifty Shades of Grey (not to mention Fifty Shades Darker and whatever the other Fifty-something book is called) so ‘erotic’ that they are have turned it into the best-selling title of all time, outselling even J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series? No matter where you go these days – the bookstore, the supermarket, the grocery shop, the airport – you find a wall of blue-grey covers staring balefully at you, daring you to pick up your daily dose of porn in full view of the public. But even if you ignore the troublesome issue of the mainstreaming of pornography as it were, how do you explain that enough people find this kind of puerile writing sexy and exciting? As someone who has tried reading the book and given up after a 100 pages (yes, even before the ‘sexy’ bits begin), I certainly can’t. How could anyone find this risible prose remotely arousing? And yet, astonishingly enough, they do.
And while we are on the subject of kinky sex, are there really any women out there who are applying ‘whitening’ and ‘tightening’ creams to their lady bits in the hope of improving their sex life? Actually, on second thought, even if these creatures do exist, I really don’t want to know.
As the cliché goes, it takes all sorts to make up the world but even so, there are some people – and some kinds of behaviour – that remain unfathomable (to me, at least). Those folks, for instance, who actually enjoy getting up at the crack of dawn, pulling on their sneakers, and pounding the pavements until the sun comes up, and then spend the day banging on about their ‘endorphin high’. If you ask me, never mind their hamstrings, it’s their heads that need examining.
Then, there are those strange creatures that our fashion glossies write for. You know the ones I mean. Those who are happy to junk their wardrobes every few months or so and run off to stock up on the ‘new season’ look. Those who spend hours stuffing tissue paper into the sleeves of their jackets and dresses before packing them so that they don’t crease (have these people not heard of a steam-iron? Or laundry services?). Or those who treat a summer vacation as an excuse to exfoliate, wax and embark on a new diet.
And don’t get me started on those intrepid souls who dare to negotiate the perils of airport check-ins and air travel in vertigo-inducing high heels. Do these women have no pain threshold? Have the soles of their feet no sensation left after years of systematic abuse? Or have they been brainwashed by Fifty Shades of Junk to believe that pain equals pleasure?
There are many things that mystify me when I check into a hotel but top of the list is the horror known as the mini-bar. No matter where in the world I am, the prices listed on the mini-bar list leave me dumbstruck. Who can possibly afford to pay these rates? And yet, apparently, there are people who do just that. Drop the equivalent of a cool Rs 500 for a miniature bottle of whiskey. Spend around Rs 150 for a bottle of water. Or Rs 200 bucks for a packet of crisps. Or Rs 300 for a packet of peanuts (I’m sorry, but that’s just plain nuts!)
While we are on the subject of crisps, though, who are these people who can open a packet and then just stop at one, two or even ten? Do they really exist? Or are they just the stuff of urban legend?
And don’t even get me started on those who can stop at the last chapter of a spy thriller or a good murder mystery, slip in a book-mark, turn off the lights and then go off to sleep. Don’t they want to know how the damn thing ends? How can anyone drift off to sleep without reading the denouement, especially when it is just a few pages away? Quite honestly, it beggars belief.