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View: Why celebrities should complain about 'silly woes' and tag 'bigger celebrities'


In the hierarchy of ills plaguing humanity, a food delivery company’s failure to deliver food probably falls in the lower echelons of complaints. With so much else rotten going on – climate change, flimsy display of cricket, communal bigotry, consumption of recreational drugs, hyper-hugging, malnutrition, food inflation, rampant Facebookery, etc – actor Prosenjit Chatterjee‘s complaintwitter against Swiggy about how ‘after some time, the status of the order changed to delivered’ even though he never received the food, may seem puerile to the Puerile Police.

Some worthies have been especially irked by the fact that he addressed his complaint to ‘Respected Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Respected Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee‘ – covering ‘both sides’, as we did during the Cold War, imploring both Reagan and Brezhnev to avoid planetary destruction – bringing to their notice something as insignificant (sic) as a ‘Swiggy complaint,’ as opposed to, say, the existence of a Chinese village in Kolkata’s Tollygunge film studio complex.

Others, more radical-minded than the ‘How dare you bring such a petty (haute bourgeois) matter before the members of the country’s highest service industry?!’ lot, are appalled by the CC – celebrity concern. While the AQI and fiscal deficit is soaring, and American actors railed about Trump, this fellow is complaining about food non-delivery. Let him have Marie biscuits!

But ghoulish as it may sound from someone who does want (others) to save the world, Chatterjee is on to something. In the great concerns we (rightly) have for things that are up there, is our society too lackadaisical, even embarrassed, to consider and then fix the more everyday, more banal, ‘under our nose’ issues that mess with us directly? Do we think being concerned about a neighbourhood manhole missing its cover too, er, below us? Are we too tough to get worked up about namby-pamby grievances like air pollution, power cuts, garbage heaps, terrible roads, etc?

A day after his tweet, Chatterjee went on to explain that he had brought the PM and CM into the line of his whine as he wanted ‘people in the service industry to be more responsible’. I don’t know which end of the Mason-Dixon mistri-affliction line you fall under, but I have felt the full blast of the service sector. I personally know enough senior citizens who frequently depend on such services. And even if they didn’t, shoddy service doesn’t really help Indians’ notorious ranking in the ‘ease of living’ index, does it? After all, living in a dump can be considered one’s ability to live peacefully in a dump.

Which makes me come to the next point. ‘I have tweeted not as ‘actor Prosenjit Chatterjee,’ but as a fellow citizen so that no one faces this kind of problem in the near future,’ he said. Bumba-da, that’s not really true.

When Shift Freight, a reliable packing-moving company shifted our household goods between cities earlier this year, it was horrendous. They took double the time to pack and deliver – ‘Only when you pay the remaining amount, sir’ — while some of our cutlery and framed pictures came in the form of lego set pieces. Countless complaining calls led nowhere, and I’m still looking for a missing tile I had acquired as a lucky totem.

Now, as a celebrity, Chatterjee’s traction quotient – not as high as PM or CM, granted – is higher than yours or mine. With customer services in most places turning a deaf ear-to-ear grin at our complaints, celebs whining about bad service is so very helpful. A society that takes the ‘petty things in life’ as being ‘too silly’ to be taken seriously is a dysfunctional one.

So, well done Bumba-da. Let many more celebrities air their complaints. and for sure measure, do tag the even more important celebs (defined as those who are celebrated) whose interventions matter. That way, we’ll feel less shy about complaining about our woes that lie several notches below concerns about the end of the world, the end of civilisation, the end of… all those small things that make our lives still mighty miserable.



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