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The two-timers



In Mumbai, you would probably say, "Ek cutting chai laana bhaiya" and in Bangalore, you'd order, "One by two tea maadi". Welcome to an everyday tea-sipping ritual that is controlled for the body as much as the conversation. This gesture of sharing the beverage could extend to more than one occasion in a day, but it will always be one tumbler of tea or coffee for two. In that there is a rather impetuous expectation that the dispenser in the kitchen might just pour out a little extra in each tumbler. But the businessman has figured the con out. Now available at wayside stalls is a plastic tumbler that can hold four sips at best. You wouldn't share that, would you?


Mobility first came to the typical Indian middle class family with the good old Vespa, at least a decade or more after Gregory Peck side-saddled Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday. Those days one would book the vehicle and wait for a couple of years before the dealer broke the news of its arrival to you. Even today as then, the twowheeler has been the lifeline of the parivar. It's a cargo carrier when the owner is not carrying his child and a couple of her friends to school. On holidays, the wife can also wriggle on to the back seat in what could be an example of family-life balance.


Ram aur Shyam, Seeta aur Geeta, Gora aur Kala - like two peas in a pod. Separate them at birth, spin the roulette of fate and you have a Bollywood drama on your hands. Judwa roles are a challenge of histrionics for the actor and a multi-starrer benefit for the producer. Often, the look-alikes need not be siblings;they could be simply chance-doubles cut from the same cloth because the scriptwriter believes there are at least six people in the world who look like us. All the same, aren't two heads better than one? Even if they're bald like Raghu & Rajiv of Roadies fame.


Ek phooti kaudi bhi nahi doonga!" an angry father hollers in a Bollywood movie and the audience knows he doesn't mean a broken nickel. It's all in a manner of speaking just like a landowner talks of "Do bigha zameen" when he means a sprawling farmhouse. And "do daane" would imply a sackful of grains. The oft-used expression with the two-word would relate to timekeeping: "Do minutt mein aa jaoonga" or "Mantriji raaste mein hai, do minutt mein pahunchenge". You'd be lucky if they reached in 20 minutes.


Just as the idealistic-nationalistic fervour of the independence era began to evaporate and reality set in, the government's mantra for the builders of the Indian family was "Do ya teen bas". After the turbulent early 1970s, the recommended size for the small family got scaled down. Everywhere you turned, the slogan, "Hum do hamare do", supported by the sketch of a couple and their smiling son and daughter, stared at you. A wag then added, "Jab tak teesra ho". This has since remained the most popular government slogan after "Garibi Hatao".


Make it two. For many who love sumptuous dining, the second helping should come along with the first. Ask for two eggs in an omelette, double crust in pastry, double chicken in sandwich, even a double biryani for those extra calories. If you're in Hyderabad, you'd even ask for a double roti dessert (murabba, for instance). Double roti, food historians say, was called so because the yeast or baking powder puffed bread up into double the size of a chapatti or roti. Wash it all down with a double coffee, if you please, and be up all night.


Vicky and Pinky are a DINK (double-income-no-kids ) couple. He earns a lakh and she brings home Rs 80, 000. They eat out all the time, visit a resort every month and take long holidays. Both go to the gym. He buys electronic gadgets;she buys books and junk jewellery. Peers envy them. Two years later, Vicky will dream of early retirement and Pinky of motherhood.

Reader's opinion (1)

Muizvhora Oct 24th, 2011 at 14:36 PM

Wonderful collection of TWO's role in our daily life...good and entertaining article.

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