“The best place to begin,”
an old geezer who knew a thing or two about horses once told me, “is at the
beginning. Then, one should go on to the middle, and if the end is in sight,
make a dash for it.”
He was referring, I believe,
to the Grand National in the year that Kais-Kous won it by a nose from
Muslintang, but I’ve generally found the approach to work just as well in
telling stories. But…I don’t know, one gets restless – it seems to make sense
to try something different, even if for no particular reason, and of this urge,
I suppose, the following story is born.
It all begins (though this
is really the middle, if anything) at the Socialist Club of Upper Mumbai, that
hoary bastion of the anti-Capitalist movement, ensconced comfortably between
the woods of the National Park and the club’s own golf course. A picturesque
post-colonial structure houses the club, which is the meeting ground of the
leading members of the Socialist Party and functions, for all intents and
purposes, as the Party HQ. It was the last day of the monsoon session of the
State Legislature and we had won a significant victory over the ruling
capitalist coalition, blocking a new Bill that proposed preventing employees of
private flour mills from forming a Union.
The sounds of revelry
ringing through the halls of the S.C.U.M were unmistakable. Glasses clinked,
uproarious laughter broke out in places, and every five minutes or so came the
sound of someone slapping someone else’s back. Wine flowed like water, and I
had the distinct feeling that getting the stains of red wine off the carpet
might turn out to be rather an ordeal the next day. But that was for the next
day; for now we were celebrating a significant political victory, and it was a
time to clink glasses, laugh uproariously and slap each other’s backs.
"Look at the sky, Ana.
Isn't it beautiful!"
gorgeous! I think it's never been so blue."
"And there's still snow
on the far mountain tops."
"Not to mention grass in
"And...listen - is that
the sound of a caribou rubbing against a tree?"
"Umm...Percy, that is the
sound of the couple in that tent over there going at it."
"I think that was
"NOW? At ten in the
"There's no such thing as
a wrong time to make love, Percy, when it's with the right person."
"Uhh...moving on, wasn't
it nice of the lady at the visitor center to give you a Spanish-language audio
"Hmph. I thought it was
condescending of her to presume I wouldn't know English well enough. I speak
excellent English. I'm listening to that Spanish audio right now and it's not
"Yes, but you curse in
Español and you were cursing when you entered the center. She probably thought
your first language is Spanish - which it is."
"I hurt my knee against
the door. Of course I was cursing. You curse in Hindi yourself."
"Only occassionally, actually. But
how is it now? Better?"
"Umm which knee did you
"Ana, there isn't even a
"You're so insensitive!
You should be kissing it to make it better."
"It also hurts here. The
door handle struck me too. Here. See. Kiss me here too."
"Ana, I can't kiss you
"Well, ahem, children
hanging around the campsite and all that. It would be so inappropriate."
"Lets go inside the tent
"That...yes, that's a
"Was this a ploy by you
to prove yourself right?"
"There never being a
wrong time to make love?"
"Look at the sky, Percy.
Isn't it beautiful?"
"Hey there, come in, I
was just starting a movie."
"I found this Bollywood
movie - Preeti from Apartment 1022 gave it to me."
"Oh. I hope it's a good
"Ana, Please tell me it's
not 'Happy New Year'!"
"It is Happy New Year, actually. Why
what's wrong with it?"
"Good Lord! What is
"Uh..that's Shah Rukh
Khan, he's kinda a big deal back in India."
"Yeah? Maybe you've seen
his poster around, like I said, he's popular. Especially with the non-resident crowd."
"No, I meant he looks
like that mummy I once saw in the museum of Natural History in Washington
"Well, don't go saying that too loud, he's got rabid fans."
"He was rather charming
and snazzy in his younger days."
"Which would've been when
I was in pre-school."
"Ha ha ha, what a joker!
This part is pure fiction, right? There isn't actually a place called Parsee
Colony in Bombay, right?"
"And is it full of
"Err...hot in here, let
me put on the AC."
"And do the actually talk
like that and have overbearing mothers?"
"Dinner? Let's order
character representative of the community?"
an...ahem...exaggeration, of course."
"Farah Khan, you have
much to answer for!"
"Uf! Que es este
"That's Abhishek Bachhan,
my dear. He's the second lead in this movie."
"Seriously? He looks like
the homeless fellows who hang around Boulder creek at night."
"His father is kind of a
Very Big Cheese. Think Marlon Brando - meets - Dwayne - Johnson."
"Uh yes, that's Deepika
"Indian women are so
"Ana, looking at Deepika
and saying 'Indian women are so beautiful' is a rather incorrect
generalisation. It would be like concluding Colombian women are beautiful basis
you and Sofia Vergara."
"Uh anyway, let's just
get through this, shall we?"
"It was hilarious.
Terrible, but hilarious."
"And that woman - wow!
Do women in India walk around dressed like that?"
"And she can move! But those dresses! You should get me one. Or two. What's it called, a saree?"
"Not every Indian dress
is a saree, Ana. Most of the time what you saw her wearing in this was a
lehenga - choli."
"The dress hasn't been
invented you wouldn't look good in."
"Aww, Percy. You say the
nicest things. Is this a good Bollywood pose for my Instagram followers? Do I
manage the Deepika whatshername look?"
"It's provocative, shows
cleavage and if you were any less beautiful, would look crass."
"Sigh...yes, I mean
"Now get here, I want to
make you say YESSSSS!"
*** Ugh, what is this
|This be mackerel|
"Bluefish curry. I was
hoping to find mackerel, but there weren't any. This looked somewhat similar.
Hasn't turned out too bad, has it?"
"Thanks, I wasn't sure
how it would turn out!"
"Is all Indian food this
"I'd say not all of it.
This is a coastal dish, Malwani, it's called. But there are other sorts that are less brutal on the palate."
"Yes, variety is key. My mother she told
me the same thing about Colombian cooking."
"My father did the
cooking at home. When mom cooked we suddenly remembered we were on a diet. My
father always told me, 'Ana, your mother is a wonderful woman but you're lucky
your father knows how to cook'."
"My mother is a brilliant
cook. She makes Parsee stuff, Maharashtrian food, Goan, Italian...why are you
taking off your t-shirt?"
"Because I'm sweating!
This is HOT FOOD."
"Actually, if this curry
makes you take off your t-shirt, I think I just discovered an entirely new
level of meaning for the word HOT FOOD."
"I should instagram a
photo of me right now with the caption 'Bluefish curry and me' "
"Right, of course...you
know, a friend just suggested I compile my Facebook posts with our
conversations into a book."
"I love the idea! Wait a
minute. Check this out - there you go; use this photo!"
"I can't use THIS photo.
Mine is a family-friendly feed!"
"Is that why you don't
give me your Facebook password? Worried I'll post inappropriate photos?"
"Not so much worried as
"Maybe you would prefer
it if I shut down my Instagram too then?"
"Miss S, I would never
dream of censoring YOU. But it's MY Facebook feed. You see, where you come
from, and the people you know, are very different from the where I come from,
and the people I know. I don't even use your full name on here, because, after
all, as Shakespeare said...."
"Yes, I know, but where
does water come into it? Shakespeare wrote in English, not Spanish. Maybe
you're thinking of Marquez."
"I swallowed a hot
pepper, you priceless ass! Give me water!"
"New caption for new
"Sigh! I'm getting back
"You never pay me any
"Here I am, in a state of
partial undress, and you're still eating! Fish, I mean."
"Here you are, in a state
of partial undress, and you're still eating, too."
"This is so good,
"We will need ice-cream
"We don't have ice-cream,
"Blegh. So we will have
to go out then?"
"I hate wearing clothes
when I've removed them for a purpose."
"You generally hate
"That's....like...so...agua. Dame agua!"
"Let's concentrate on the
food and talk less, yes? That way maybe you'll eat more fish and less
|This be Frozen Yogurt|