A friend told me a very interesting story. She, her husband and their eighteen year old son were to attend a wedding.They were invited by the bride’s father, who happened to be loaded. The reception was at The Leela Palace Hotel in Delhi.
Now these friends of mine were an average middle class couple without that deathly urge to show off which pushes so many people to live beyond their means. They wore their nice clothes, got into their faithful decade old WagonR and headed for the venue.
As it is the Leela is sort of an overwhelming experience. And when the host pulls out all stops, it has to be seen to be believed.
“We turned into the glittering driveway of the plush hotel,” narrated my friend. “We espied long and expensive cars turning in… here a Merc, there a BMW and even a red Ferrari. Suddenly a hush fell in the car. Our tiny, battered Wagon R was looking a bit conspicuous. I could see my son’s face turn red with embarrassment. Ahead of us the valet was parking the long cars as their owners trundled in displaying their diamonds. Goes without saying, it was to be the wedding of the season.”
“Mom, Dad, I surely am not going inside in this. The valet will refuse to park our dilapidated vehicle. Look how ridiculous it is looking here. How many times I have told you to get a bigger car!!” The boy was puce with anger and mortification.
“Hey come on,” the dad tried to reason; “It’s not all that bad. Our car will stand out here,” he jested.
“Like a sore thumb. We should have taken a cab,” the boy shot back.
By now they were coursing the ramp to reach the main entrance. Faced with this steep incline, the poor WagonR chortled and stuttered. The engine failed and had to be restarted. After all it was ten years old and well-worn at that.
“Now this is all we needed. I wish the earth would open up and swallow me,” the boy spluttered, the gear shift slipping from his agitated hands.
Fuming and fretting they reached the reception hall. The valet did not refuse to park their car (although the boy was sure he spotted a condescending look in his eyes). All through the wedding the boy kept badgering his parents to buy a new car, the bigger the better.