Free-flowing advice

Free-flowing advice

“Advice is like water, you drink it to replenish your soul”. Do I swear by this adage? Not in a million years! Mind one’s business and help in case of emergency — that’s my funda in life. However, my fellow mortals don’t seem to think the same. I am at the receiving end of advice and more advice, unwelcome, unasked for and totally unsolicited. Advice — about studies, jobs, food, fashion and of late the holy bond of matrimony. I wonder what attracts such situations to me. Perhaps, it is something about my face and demeanour.

At the ripe old age of 18 (when I was rarin’ to go out into the world), I was accosted by my ex-music master (due respects to him) in the middle of our cramped, dusty main road. Over the next one hour, with traffic nearly running us over, I was told not to worry about banal things like jobs and such-like and spend the next 15-20 years acquiring as many degrees as I could. Looking back, I wonder if he wanted me to make it to the Guinness book of records as the most qualified person on earth. Or perhaps he envisaged silly me as one of the women intellectuals of yore say Gargi, Mytreyi, Lopamudra, etc.

It is not uncommon for my friends to give me oodles of haute-couture advice, which if followed would surely lead to the greatest fashion disaster in the history of human-kind. One bearded and barefooted gentleman (No, it wasn’t M F Hussain) who frequents the park I do, spoke to me out of the blue. “You should take the bank exams due in two days,” he nearly ordered, “It would be a convenient profession for you”. “My calling’s something else, Uncle”, I grinned falsely (Useful as they are, banks give me claustrophobia).

Lately my neighbour (let’s call her M) with ‘seven years marriage experience’ and ‘two-two children’, to her credit, took the onus upon herself to educate me on men and marriage. Eligible bachelors according to the lady, fall into two watertight compartments — ‘same-age guy’ and ‘aged-person’. “Don’t ever marry same age guy”, she warned, her eyes fierce and tone ominous. “They’d go to discos and all, and then cheat on you!” An ‘aged-person’ would be suitable. My mind immediately conjured up the picture of a man with grey hair and a crinkled face, only to realise that the definition of an aged person in M’s parlance would be someone about 7-8 years older than oneself!

There have been innumerable others — young and old, the victim of whose indiscriminate-advice monging I have been. Since, I am destined to get it; I might as well listen and use it to my advantage if I can. After all, every one (except me) is a brainy know-all!

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