Sometimes, random things hold the key to life's best kept secrets!
Thursday, February 11, 2010
The Domestic Business Conference!
Why do you eat out? What is the concept of dining out all about? No! this post is least about nutrition. It has more to say about deteriorating value systems in human bonding.
These days I loathe going out to eat in fine dining restaurants. They seem to be more of affluence exhibits than a place to eat and talk your heart out. From historic times, eating had a lot of emotional value placed on it. Food was synonymous with victory, celebration and joy. Eating was an enjoyable occasion. The men of the tribe used to hunt long and hard for the prey in the daytime and in the evenings the catch was partaken with a feeling of gratitude and happiness. There was music, dance and of course, eating! Yes, it was an entertaining occasion, more so of the exalted spirits of positivity and cheer in the hearts of men. To express this cheer, there was music, lights and food. The taste really dint matter. They had worked hard, they were happy and anything they ate would have been sumptously tasty.
These days, there is still a lot of music, lights and taste associated with eating. Yet, one thing seems to be missing - the spirit, the feel, the cheer in the heart. The miscellaneous extravagances seem created more to evoke this spirit than to celebrate it. Every time I walk into a fine dining restaurant, there seems to be a contagious code of 'formality', 'dignity' and 'affluence' in the air. More often than not, every one is dressed at their best, having worn one of their better attires, seated in the 'right' posture, and conversing in the 'right' volume just loud enough to be heard, and with the same sober expression fixed on their faces. Nothing unruly, nothing wild, nothing out of 'order'. Even if you entered with the mood of a wild teen, you would soon be domesticated by the ambience. It makes me remember fonly back to the times when I used to go out to eat with a close friend and every minute of this time of bonding was filled with involvement, heart-felt laughter, wild stories and passion-filled talking. After a while, we would look around and observe that we were the only ones who were so involved with the other. A couple near us did not exchange as much as a single word during their entire stay in the restaurant. Yes, they were probably having a fight. Yet, that was not the last couple I observed on a similar note.
Stuff like taking the family out on vacation, eating out, going for a movie has become a 'duty' , something that got to be done and gotten over with in the weekend in most of the families. These are the things that are synonymous with leisure and I must have that too - Yes, to have a 'complete' life, as along with a fat paycheck, pretty wife and obedient kids, thinks the head of the male in the family.
Going out to eat is a ritual. A plan is made to try the new cuisine in the posh-looking artistically adorned restaurant that everyone is talking about. The date is fixed. The time is set. The woman takes an hour to get dressed. She is excited to try the new suit she bought a week back. Then she makes sure the kid is dressed pretty and looks good. The man screams it is getting late and forces them out and locks the door. Yes, this is his family, a happy family , he tells himself. Kid is getting good grades - Check!, Wife has managed to remain trim and pretty - Check!, They have a house - Check!, They own a car - Check!, He will soon get a raise - Check!
Wait!What about the promotion that he was coveting? "Seems like the office rumour mill has it that Mr.Sen might get it instead. Damn! He should do something about it - probably throw a party next week to cajole his boss." As the thoughts pass ceaselessly in his mind while he drives the car, his wife looks out and plans how to coerce her husband to buy the home theatre she saw in Mrs Sen's house. The kid is busy listening to his I Pod touch at the back. They reach the restaurant. Yes, it sure is posh. They order the best course, exchange a few mundane topics which none are really bothered about and get going. Weekend Social ritual - Check!
Were they bored? Probably not, the music, lights and posh interior decors kept them engaged and made them feel important, affluent and part of the booming rich. In fact, they thoroughly enjoyed it.
The next time you are in such a place, do look around and observe. You will see them. They will be laughing, yet with no happiness seen in it. They will be talking, yet with no conversation seen in it. They will be nodding, yet with no involvement seen in it.