Monday, December 31, 2007

Sunday funday

Staggering. Wealth, not necessarily money, has many tangible forms, but not so many units. There are some forms of wealth you can't measure, but you can experience. Wealth of time, for example, which would not imply a surfeit, but instead a quantum of time which allows us to enjoy and sample an experience to its fullest. A meal with family, say, or sex with the woman you love. While big macs and quickies in an airplane loo might retain convenience and excitement, the satisfaction is short-lived.
I thought back to a Sunday not long ago. Went dancing Saturday night, and returned home exhausted and not a little drunk. Sweat, perfume and cigarettes were the aromas which i recognised when I awoke. She stirred too, in that leisurely manner which implied I'd have to make the morning tea.
She was naked, and it was a warm morning, yet I smirked at her modesty as she sat up with the sheet around her throat. I fetched the papers, and we leafed through them, her head on my shoulder. She reads slower than I do, and hasn't learned the art of the cursory scan, which meant that I soon found I had time to kill while I waited patiently for her to turn the page. I absently fondled her breast. She purred and snuggled closer, her smooth thighs languidly stroking mine. I felt her nipple go firm. Dropping the paper, I lifted her onto my chest for a closer reach to her bum. We smooched, and I say smooched, not kissed, because it was one of those early morning kisses which are sloppy yet sexy, and I could taste the vodka on her breath. It was high noon when we were done, and for the first time in a long long time I found myself whistling in the shower. She followed me in, boldly naked, and we had a romp again. Three times in three hours. I was spent. And here she was purring like a contented kitten as I did things which otherwise elicited a grunt and limp shove as she sought to desist.
Lunch was a big meal of tossed salad with fresh home-made mayo and ready to fry cutlets, plus lots of bread and cheese and boiled eggs. I cooked of course, but she made the coffee. We sat on the porch in the late afternoon sun, strolled with the dogs till sundown and then sat with a crisp wine and chatted about our lives.
Time passed, not just that evening, and we're no longer together, but in that Sunday I learned the value of the wealth of time well spent.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Is idealism dead – The Sunday Times

We talk of multipolar worlds, of money, of racism, of sex and what-have-you. We speak with wisdom, ancient and contrived. We talk of “way back when” and “nowadays”. Self-righteousness, cynicism, wit and intellect in some proportion constitute the whole. Clich├ęs, where applicable, are liberally used.

But the overriding factor which brings pen to paper or fingertip to keyboard, is honesty.

Let me explain. I use the collective “we”. We’re Indian. That’s our inescapable reality, with all its sugar-coated mysticism and stinking factualism. We revel in our diversity, yet enjoy a good-natured jibe. Of course we do. Week in week out we stare at our screens, doodle in our notebooks, and sweep the malai aside with our pinkys (ies?) as we wait for the flash. The signal from the mother ship. And when it comes, as it inevitably does, we write, or type. Or write and then type. Or speak into a little recorder and then type. Or someone else does the typing.

But we’re honest. Picture this; scribe with newspaper, rustling the pages, shaking head, clucking tongue. Or, god forbid, switching channels with disdain, wrinkling noses in distaste at the near menopausal woman with sagging cleavage or balding gentleman with the fringe of dyed-black hair grinning lasciviously at the buxom young intern.

Bewilderment at the ironies and idiocy of our political class, horror at the atrocities of man versus man, disbelief at the drivel we endure on the silver screen and the cold logic of defining everything in terms of our rising currency, the rupee. But what sets us apart, is our honesty, and the sanctity of one full page in The Sunday Times. That’s what differentiates the columnists from the reporters. That’s All That Matters.

There’s self-effacing and maternal self-deprecatory commentary, laconic narcissism, patriotism of course, a lot of venting and a feeling of “I hope somebody somewhere is reading this”. Of course we are. And we never fail to read Passing Thought, the graphic illustration which sums it all up, with a particular quiver full of darts to be aimed at Babudom, that depressing reality of our contemporary history.

The Fourth Estate is hardly what it was, prostrated before and pandering to an ad-hungry and glitzy layout, Politically Correct, packaged and marketed with piggy-backing cash cows that speak of “the brand”. Deep breaths, anyone? We can never compete with the immediacy of the internet or the soulless colour of television. We’re still an elitist medium, struggling to find a literate, tolerant audience with no small amount of pride in the written word, who from time to time may disagree, but with honour.

Face it, from penny intellectuals to been there done that worldly wise yet charmingly childish we’ve done it all. The driving force - the honesty, the pathos, the reality of ink on paper, the very same paper used for everything from wrapping used sanitary napkins to food, to lying in stacks that sell for a few rupees a kilo. But it still pays our bills. We greet each paycheck with a gratifying grunt. We’re crumbling, but the core is perpetual, and therein lies the satisfaction.

But no, ladies and gentlemen, you put a wry smile on my face Sunday mornings, my glasses fogging at both ends as I chuckle into my coffee cup. And that’s All That Matters.