The Man from Madras Musings could not care less about the recent coronation but he did notice that outside of Ol Blighty it was perhaps in this, our land, that the excitement was at fever pitch. MMM would perhaps not be too wrong in saying that the interest in the whole proceeding was far higher here than even in that sceptred isle over which Good Queen Bess ruled for long. Makes you wonder as to why the old man with the glasses and the stick and the loincloth and others of his kind toiled so hard. But then looking at it from another angle, we Indians love a spectacle, and we got it, for free. In fact we Indians never had it so good – on the one hand there was the never-ending cricket series and the on the other there was this aged man getting his first job. It was all pomp and circumstance MMM was told, by those who watched the whole thing on television. Some admitted to finding it all boring. Others sneered at the expense – to which MMM has only one thing to say – this one-time extravaganza is to be compared with events on a smaller scale happening once in five years elsewhere and perhaps it all adds up to the same.
In our city of Madras that is Chennai there was a coronation party thrown by the local representative of that country. MMM was not invited but he does wonder as to what was served. The last time he was asked to come over for something similar, there came a supplementary note that said that buffet dinners will not be served, and bowl food would be circulated instead. Now MMM is an old-fashioned man, as befits the magazine he writes for, and he really could not comprehend as to what bowl food was. He had visions of himself, and other guests being chained to posts and then having food in bowls placed before them which they had to eat while on all fours. That scared him off and he did not attend the event, excusing himself with a polite email. But you know how these Government agencies can be – they never take cognizance of what you say and so the invite kept repeating itself until MMM decided to ignore it. And so if it was bowl food once again for the Coronation, MMM is jolly glad he did not receive an invite.
Those poor european nations
But all of this makes MMM wonder about the financial health of the once HQ of the Empire. It would seem the place is in a bad way if cost had to be cut to the extent of bowl food. MMM wonders as to what the state of the drinks was, for he knows of many who make it to Embassy and High Commission dinners for nothing else but. MMM on the other hand, being abstemious to a great degree, likes his food.
Talking about the economy of the European nations, MMM still cannot help chuckling over what happened at a dinner several years ago. The Ambassador of a lesser European nation, the one from which we were warned to be wary of gifts, was visiting, and the local consul had invited people to meet him. MMM was one among the many. The dinner (and no, it was not bowl food) or was it lunch MMM cannot recall now, was good and during the course of it, MMM was introduced to His Excellency. MMM extended his card and the consul bubbling over with laughter asked him (MMM) to await the sequel. His Excellency in return held out a photocopy of his business card and once MMM had seen it, put it back in his pocket! The local consul then informed MMM that money was so tight that the embassy was not even allowed to print visiting cards. And to think such people once colonised much of the world. The rest of us must have been real sitting ducks.