I was meeting my niece who had come down from the US after nearly five
years. She had just finished her masters in Mass Communication from a
leading university and wished to take a break. I was pleasantly
surprised to find her unchanged even in the way she dressed and in her
choice of cuisine as she continued to wear salwar-kameez and preferred
south Indian food. For someone who lived in a foreign country, that
too at an impressionable age where one could get easily influenced, I
thought it was something rare.
How come you haven’t changed at all, considering that you have been
out of the country for so long? Weren’t you tempted to go in for
western outfits and their kind of food? I asked out of curiosity.
Well, if you want me to be frank, I didn’t want to, she said.
Aunty, in fact, I have noticed quite a few changes here from the time
I left the country, she said.
Changes like what, I asked not knowing what she meant.
Everyone I met seem to be talking in terms of the Four Cs, she said.
What are they? I asked puzzled.
How come you haven’t heard of what the Four Cs stand for? she said
looking surprised. They stand for – car, cell, credit card and
cocktails – which seem to be today’s status symbols.
Well, I suppose uncle has the first three, but he doesn’t believe in
the last one as he is a teetotaler, I said.
Then only uncle can partly qualify to be in the elite group and you
don’t qualify at all, she observed.
Where is the need for a home maker like me to possess them? They are
all for busy persons and people on the move, I said.
Well, you are wrong aunty. If you care to command respect in society
you too should change according to the times. Earlier, the rich
kanjeevarams and the gold women wore were their status symbols, but
not any more because they have been replaced by the Four Cs, she
Yes, you are right. That makes two of us who have chosen not to change
though for different reasons, I said.
N Meera Raghavendra Rao