First World Problems: A Mithai Mistake
First World Problems is a weekly advice column for India’s first world population. Write to Judy at firstname.lastname@example.org (confidentially!) if you’ve broken a nail, felt a little blue, yellow or green lately,
or had a strange encounter of the any-numbered kind.
PROBLEM: Help! I made sweets for Diwali and sent them out to all friends and family. Problem is I’m an idiot and when I tasted the leftovers later, I think I used salt instead of sugar. They taste terrible. Do I call everyone and apologize? Do I send new boxes?
There are a few things you could do, but before that: Hahahahhahahaha. Sorry, but you’re hilarious! Heh heh heh heh!
All right, I’m really done now. Some suggestions:
- Tell everyone it was a practical joke – a fun new Diwali tradition because, let’s face it, Diwali has no surprise element. Christmas has Santa; Halloween has all kinds of scary; Eid may not come with a surprise, but it comes with biryani so all is forgiven; and Easter has that whole ‘oh-what’s-inside-the-darned-eggs?’ thing going for it. (It may just be the same old marzipan, but you see what I mean.) SO. Your hilarious new tradition is going to add the much-needed extra sparkle to Diwali.
- Pretend it was a public service campaign — to balance everyone’s sugar intake during Diwali. This will work if you maintain a deadpan expression while delivering the news.
- You could just admit you’re a scatterbrain and send them real sweets … but, err, not the homemade variety. I’m sure they’ll be very nice about it, have a good laugh at your expense, and all will be forgotten — but B-O-R-I-N-G. I think I dozed off writing this one.
If nothing works, look at this way: No one is going to want to try anything you make henceforth, so this absolves you of all future takeout crimes. No one is ever going to expect you to cook Anything Ever Again. What? You’re wondering how you never thought of this? You’re trying to find a way to thank me for pointing this out to you? Oh, please, no sweets — err, thanks — necessary.
PROBLEM: My maid often talks to me about how her husband beats her. My heart feels bad for her, but it’s really depressing and I feel uncomfortable. How do I redirect her confidences?
Tell her you’d be happy to call a helpline for her, and they’ll come over and sort out the bastard. For her sake, I hope she’ll take the offer, but from personal experience with maids and abusive husbands, I think not. And that’s the thing about most people who need help — they don’t take it. In these situations, I prefer to just shut them up with a real offer to intervene. It might sound cold on the surface, but I don’t think we’re really helping people when we encourage their cycle of complaining when they make no effort to get out of it.