Nikki came back very excited from school – she had had a special Biology class. It’s a special course for 2nd graders to get a peek into what lies ahead. So, she has learnt that we have tubes in our bodies that carry blood, air and food and if we eat too fast, the food can get into the air tube and blood tube. She was already a slow eater and this new revelation has made her dawdle at the dining table till I lose the last bit of sanity.

The other thing she has learnt is that ‘Alcohol and beer make the brain bad’, which she has shared, solemnly, with her dad. Her dad, who has, so far enjoyed an occasional glass, is in a fix. Debating the issue is not an option and continuing to consume alcohol may make his brain bad. So, things are pretty much dry now.

2nd graders also get home unique benchmarks we struggle to measure up to.

‘Rashi’s mother makes very nice pasta’

Or

‘Aryan’s mother draws so well’

Or, as it was last week,

‘Marcos’ mother can speak Spanish’

I said even I could and tried to sing the Ricky Martin song, which, I believe has some words in a similar language. Nikki was not impressed since she knew the Spanish numeral beyond ‘tres’, unlike me.

Sigh, these make me shudder. Benchmarks at work seem so undemanding and effortless in comparison.

‘You want me to reduce cost of operation to half without losing productivity like XYZ corporation did? No sweat, man!’

The latest benchmark Nikki got home was:

‘Tanvi’s mother looks so good in jeans.’

So, I went looking for a pair of jeans. I must have searched 3 shops. And all that I found were ‘low rise’ jeans. Now, I don’t understand this concept. Why would anyone want to wear jeans that stop short completing their job? Aren’t clothes about, well, to put it simply, remain on the body till the wearer desires?

In the hoardings, they look cool on skinny models. But, then these models are not doing a day’s job. I mean, they are not even standing up to test these jeans against gravity. They are sprawled on a sofa or a lovely wooden floor, looking angry, as they always do.

That’s not a real test. The real test would be if someone like my friend Naveen, who is not exactly a skinny model, wears a low rise jeans and does a normal day’s job, which, for him, would be sitting on his chair, and occasionally, walk to the cafeteria for food.

This level of activity, which by human standards is between ‘very low to abysmal’ is good enough to check if the jeans stay on.

If the jeans stay on him by the time he is ready for evening snack time, I will buy one pair – that would be my benchmark.

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