This afternoon I posted this link as my G-talk status message. In the evening, a well-meaning friend pinged me. Her message was short and firm.
"I have a thought: You should take that link off."
Without wasting a moment I changed my status message. "But I liked it," I protested later.
"Whatever, but don't forget that your book is going to be out soon. You don't want people to associate you with just sex, do you?" She had a point. In fact, the thought had crossed even my mind when I was posting the link, and that is why I removed it the moment she asked me to. I was not very comfortable with the idea of displaying -- as my status message -- the autobiography of a man who took pride in sleeping with 1,300 prostitutes. I myself do not believe in the concept of paid sex, not because of moral reasons, but because I simply cannot come to terms with the fact that a man has to pay for sex.
I have been to a brothel only twice in my life, on G.B. Road in Delhi, when I was 27 or 28. On both occasions, it was curiosity that took me there: the urge to take a look at the human hiding inside the prostitute. There had been times when my friends narrated their experiences in red light areas, and the only question I asked them was: "What did you guys talk about?"
"Talk? What is there to talk? We only do."
"But still, she must have had something to say."
"All that I don't remember." That was their standard reply. They were puzzled that I should ask such questions.
So when I went to the brothel on those two occasions, my sole purpose was to talk; to check out the woman behind the whore. Whore is such an obscene and ugly word, come to think of it, but then, it has been coined by the world and not by me.
Both the visits were impulsive: me and a bunch of colleagues being dropped back home past midnight, and suddenly we decide to take a detour. The driver had no problem driving us all the way to Old Delhi as long as we paid for his cravings. Fortunately, there would always be a colleague who felt too shy to come up. He would stay back in the car, looking after our wallets and watches. It made sense to leave them behind, because once you enter the brothel -- at least this was the case in Delhi -- they suddenly hike the rates and then make you take off even your socks to see if there is any money hidden apart from what you are already carrying in accordance with the deal struck before entry.
During my first visit, the woman assigned to me was jovial. As soon as we entered the cubicle, she took off her salwar and lay down on what looked more like a small-time doctor's examination table. In different circumstances, I could have been a gynaecologist following a patient into the cubicle. But in this case, it was the patient who called the shots: she handed me a condom. I told her it was of no use. We chatted for about 10 minutes during which she told me about her family back in Andhra Pradesh, and in the end kissed me on the forehead, saying how I reminded her of her younger brother.
During my visit no. 2, the encounter with the woman assigned to me was not so cordial. She was a fat, foul-tempered woman, whose hometown -- or 'native place', as they say -- also happened to be in Andhra Pradesh. "You are so drunk, are you even capable of doing anything?" she asked me.
"But I only want to talk."
"Talk? Talk about what? If you want to do it, do it. Don't waste my time. Who asked you do drink so much before coming here." She put her clothes on.
On both occasions, once we exchanged notes after coming out of the brothel, we realised it was only the driver who had extracted the full value for money. No one else really had the courage. The thought of paid sex can be very tempting, but once it comes to you on a platter, you are likely to look for ways to escape holding the platter in your hands. I mean no offence to gentlemen who happen to be connoisseurs of paid sex. It is just that I would like to be counted out.
But why, then, did I post the scandalous link as my status message? That's because the whole thing is so well-written. If a piece of writing makes you want to clap for a man who takes pride in having slept with 1,300 prostitutes, then there is a lot to learn about the art -- of writing, that is -- from him. And it is not the style alone, but the content too. He is being honest. He speaks the truth -- at least what he believes is the truth -- and nothing can be more seductive than the truth.
And when it comes to sex, honesty is like gold, for no one ever speaks the truth. You like sex, but you can't be honest about your cravings. You don't like the sex you've just had, but you still can't be honest about your disappointment. You have your own ideas of good sex, but you can't spell them out. But this man does:
The great thing about sex with whores is the excitement and variety. If you say you’re enjoying sex with the same person after a couple of years, you’re either a liar or on something. Of all the sexual perversions, monogamy is the most unnatural. Most of our affairs run the usual course. Fever. Boredom. Trapped. This explains much of the friction in our lives—love being the delusion that one woman differs from another. But with brothels there is always the exhilaration of not knowing what you’re going to get.
The problem with normal sex is that it leads to kissing and pretty soon you’ve got to talk to them. Once you know someone well the last thing you want to do is screw them. I like to give, never to receive; to have the power of the host, not the obligation of the guest. I can stop writing this and within two minutes I can be chained, in the arms of a whore. I know I am going to score and I know they don’t really want me. And within 10 minutes I am back writing. What I hate are meaningless and heartless one-night stands where you tell all sorts of lies to get into bed with a woman you don’t care for.
It is obvious that this man is a talented wordsmith. And it is sad that a talented wordsmith should have to pay for sex. But then, he likes it only that way and in no other way, as he makes us believe with his convincing wordsmithery.