My dears! It was so so lovely to see you all at the great little bash we had to celebrate the launch of our wonderful Southern Crossings blogazine. Who cared that we were not allowed to reserve tables inside the pub? Who noticed the thunderous pouring rain in the courtyard amid the cacophonous warmth of southerners from the subcontinent and the island-continent? My dear nephews and nieces, you set the bar (ha ha, pun intended) really high with your revelling that night. Joy of joys, some of you even came and revealed your heart’s secrets and appealed to me for comfort, like old times. Now that I have had the time to think deeply and deliciously about your concerns, here’s some skerricks of advice from your loving Meddling Mammi.
Kanchi was always the sensitive one, may Buddha bless her soul! Here’s what she said in her plaintive sweet voice:
My co-worker stinks of strong perfume, possibly bought on special from David Jones. I can see the little purple and gold bottle sitting on her shelf, next to her tube of hand cream. I have seen her spray it on in the Ladies when she thinks no one is watching. The strong perfume is making me sneeze often and loudly. The others in our open plan office think I’m being inconsiderate and passing my germs around. How do I get the co-worker to tone down her OCD (Olfactory Compulsive Disorder) without offending her?
Oh dear! It never ceases to amaze me how sensitive to smells the world has become just in a matter of two centuries. Not so very long ago, Napoleon Bonaparte, returning from campaign, sent ahead a messenger to his beloved Josephine, “Coming home in three days. Don’t wash!” Now we balk at Napoleon Perdis and his ilk who are in the business of making us all smell to high heavens in non-human odours! No wonder the corporeal sensory overload that many of us encounter in subcontinental topographies has become matter of legend and much olfactory anticipation and exoticisation.
However, once we leave those populous smelly, sweaty, body-and-curry-odory, farty, teeming crowds behind, our resistance to and tolerance for such nasal treats goes for a sixer. My heart goes out to both of you: to the co-worker who probably wants to safeguard her natural characteristic subcontinental body fragrance and sprays herself often to avoid being swarmed by said open-plan co-workers, and to you for the copious sneezing, which is your nose’s way of expelling uninvited intruders. Much of your involuntary reactions are to be blamed, of course, on the preponderance of domestic and everyday chemicals in our daily lives in the developed world, which lower our resistance and make our olfactory and other nerves really frayed and frazzled. We knew a thing or two about immunity, us subcontinentals!
One line of action would be to leave politely-worded “In my humble opinion…” notices around to the effect that many people in the office are craving authentic intercultural odours and to keep perfumes and other allergenic culprits to a minimum. The other is to burn really strong incense at your table or heat bombilli fish curry in the lunchroom microwave, till another braver soul brings in the Occupational Health Services wardens and forces a conversation around odour preferences at work places. The last, and this is the one I hope you take, is to say nothing and continue with sneezing marathons till such a time that your germs infect everyone and thereby increase the collective immunity of the office. You’ll be doing the whole nation a great service and productivity will double after everyone returns from pulling relay sickies!
And now, a short and sweet complaint from a very charming and accomplished young woman, who shall remain unnamed, so that you don’t pitch in with your two-pice worth of pestering:
“What level of talent do I need to have/achieve so I’m never pestered into finding a husband?”
Darling! You have already achieved it! Clearly the very ability and audacity to ask such a question indicates the highest level of talent that does not need the validation of a husband to announce itself to the world. The only thing you need say, in the firmest possible tone, is: “I need a wife!” for as we all know, in this patriarchal paradise of ours, “Every woman needs a wife!” That’ll stop them in their tracks. Continue along this path dearest, climb every mountain, ford every stream, till you are at such a heights and depths that annoying questions by pesky meddlers (not that I mind a little bit of meddling) just do not reach your ears. & if by chance, at that very tallest mountain peak, or the deepest ford, you find another similarly-oppressed soul, seeking to escape Babelian hordes of pesterers, why, just take down your parka-hoodie or snorkeling gear, and shake hands. Who knows what might transpire at the ensuing follow-up filter-coffee sojourn as your commiserate with each other about people who do not mind their own business!
Blessings darlings, and write to me soon with your questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Image Source: http://madovermarketing.com/2015/07/12/5-advertisements-shah-rukh-khan-would-want-his-fans-to-forget-2/