Tonight I was about to write about Kishore Kumar, because this morning I read something very heart-warming about him. But about an hour ago, two friends -- a man and a woman -- happened to be passing my house and they asked me if I could come down to say Hi. They thought it was too late for them to come up. So I pulled a T-shirt over my lungi and went down and sat in their car.
Thirty minutes past midnight. Murugesan Street at its quietest best. Good time to talk. We enquired about one another's work, about common friends, and also discussed people who may not be common friends but of interest to us. This man, that woman, the babe we met the other day, the good-looking guy who has not been seen for a long time, and so on. The enquiries about the men did not interest me much -- how do I care, but my antenna was very much up when the women's names were being lobbed. The kind of names that sizzled in the chilled air inside the car: the charming best of Chennai! But then, these friends of mine happen to be high-society people, who consider any drink other than wine with suspicion. Whereas I buy my quota of alcohol from the government-run 'wine shops' and have spent most of my life in Chennai drinking from the filthy, dingy bars attached to these shops.
Whether you are a 'wine' man or a 'wine shop' man, who doesn't like to hear about women, that too when the women in question are worth aspiring for? I knew of most of the women whose names were mentioned, but I did not know anyone -- not even remotely. When one particular name was mentioned, I felt a little emboldened to press for more info, and my friend, the man, said in his clipped accent:
"Well, she is the hottest babe I know. But if you really want to know her, you probably have to take her out to dinner in one of the best places in town. Get her the best wine, the best food, only then she might agree to come."
"Oh really," I found myself whispering. He had heard it.
"Why not? Just imagine this, when she comes, she is going to dress up for you. What more do you want, brother?"
I have this terrible habit: the moment a scenario occurs to me or is described to me, I lose no time imagining it. So there I am, with Ms X or Ms Y, at the table of a dimly-lit restaurant with only a candle and a bottle of wine separating us. Two waiters are standing at a respectable distance, just in case we need something. She gets up to go to the restroom, and that's when I check out her posterior, and when she walks back, I try to assess the overall package from a distance and quickly return my gaze to the glass of wine the moment she reclaims her seat. There has been no conversation so far, only small talk. More small talk over the pasta that follows. And then the waiter gets the bill: Rs 4730! The waiters deserve 10% of it as tip, but it is much easier to square off the amount by adding another Rs 270. So Rs 5000! -- only to check out a woman! No, thanks. No, really, thanks. I would rather have a woman take me out in order to check me out -- oh, I am just joking!
But seriously, think of the things you can do with Rs 5000: you can buy 10 best DVDs of your choice, or 25 books that you always wanted to buy but never had the money to buy them in one go, or, simply, stock up on you month's quota of liquor that will perhaps make you write 50,000 words of sensible stuff. Who needs a woman!
But you need women, of course. I mean, why the hell are you slogging, after all. But the kind of women that help you slog and share your spoils are not the kind who expect to be taken out for an expensive dinner before they decide to set foot into your world. They set foot on your world, and you set foot into theirs, only because two wires have connected. Why let the hotel play the prohibitively expensive electrician who merely touches two wires to see whether sparks emanate? What if there are no sparks -- the money goes down the drain, doesn't it?
My approach has always been simple: get a local electrician to connect the two wires first. He won't charge you more than Rs 10. If there is a spark, you can regally stride into a candle-lit restaurant and get down to the business of feeling good, unfettered by anxiety and the obligation of making small talk. Chances are even she might foot the bill!
In any case, the route from the bed to the candle-lit restaurant is any day more gratifying and sunlit than the anticipated route from the restaurant to the bed, which usually stinks of a scheme and is fraught with uncertainties.
So where do you find the electrician? Well, you don't even have to dial for him. All you need to do is log on. If she says 'definite' instead of 'definate', you know the electrician has got the right set of wires to connect. And if the first sentence she types or writes makes you want her to type many more, then you know the sparks are beginning to fly. And if her sentences make you toss and turn in bed, then the sparks are flying full-fledged. You are on. You have checked her out, without spending a penny! Oh fuck the money, we are talking about quality.
Tell me honestly: would you prefer a woman who doesn't know you and dresses up to impress you, or a woman who knows you well and still dresses up only for you?