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Kishore Singh: No free invitations


Kishore Singh  |  New Delhi 

I'm not sure this whole globalising thing is good for us all "" or perhaps it's just the way data banks of addresses and contacts are shared across the Net that lend to our frustration. Whatever it is, the last few weeks have been particularly fretful with exhortations that I should go clubbing in Kuwait, or check out a hotel in Hawaii. And no, they aren't media invitations "" also known as junkets "" but just by way of information, like someone might say there's this party in KL that you must, absolutely must attend. Or there's this chef who's cooking for an exclusive group on the last Saturday of this month in a really tony restaurant in London: should I reserve a place for you?
I don't know about others but London hasn't popped up on my itinerary in a while, so when friends of ours booked themselves a June vacation in the city, my wife was quick to complain that we never go anywhere. I explained to her about the newspaper's policy of not accepting junkets, but it didn't cut much ice with her. "Everyone else," she pointed out quite reasonably, "is always travelling." I thought I would point out that we'd had our share of vacations, but since these had mostly been to relations (hers, mine, and ours), I thought it prudent to keep quiet and preserve the peace.
But still the invitations kept piling up. A fashion show in Singapore ("you must come," beseeched the sender), a tour by invitation only to the Bahamas ("you'll be happy to learn that you have qualified to this select list"), weekly programmes and schedules from the Tube Club in Dubai ("awaiting you..."). "But where are the tickets?" my wife smirked, when I said we seemed to be flooded with more invitations than I could read out in an evening.
"Someone seems to have got the idea that we're the globetrotting, partying kind," I said to her, which set my wife off laughing. After she'd recovered somewhat, she asked, "Really, and what do you suppose gave them the idea?" "I will have you know," I said to her, "that I have just been invited to join the world's most exclusive credit card service, and it's purely by invitation." "And did you?" she asked archly. "No," I said uncomfortably, "you know I don't believe in these things." "And the real reason is?" she persisted. "Well," I hesitated, "the joining fee was 50K, which, of course, is more money than I've ever spent even using a card."
So, I may not have got my "platinum" credentials, but at least there was some comfort in knowing that I was still wanted "" to be an observer at an art camp in Johannesburg, go river rafting in the rapids of Borneo, even to a conference somewhere on the Continent where it was hoped Bill Clinton would not just speak, he would mingle with delegates as part of his assigned task.
"Las Vegas, Beijing, Bali..." giggled my son, sifting through the emails, "you're a useful man to know, Pops." I shrugged nonchalantly "" it's a good feeling when children begin to recognise your worth. "Seeing how influential you are," he continued, "can you get me to the special rock party tonight," he mentioned the neighbourhood club that's big on the party circuit. "Me too, me too," piped in my daughter, who feels she has been deprived in her life because she hasn't been allowed into a nightclub yet.
"I'm not sure," I said to them, "that this is the kind of place that is best for you." "Hmph," snorted my wife, "all you'll get from him are excuses. Anytime you want a holiday in London," she looked at me meaningfully, "come to Mama."
Sometimes, it just isn't a man's world.

First Published: Sat, April 21 2007. 00:00 IST