It is 12 minutes past midnight, and after a long time I am sitting down to write a blog at this hour, even though I have no clue what I am going to write.
Maybe I should write about my trip to Calcutta. Ever since I got married last year, I have been visiting the city off and on, and I must say that I am falling in love with the place. Not that I am any less fond of Chennai, but to tell you the truth, Chennai is beginning to bore me now. Chennai is the city I grew up intellectually (that in no way means I am an intellectual) and discovered myself. But having discovered myself, I suddenly feel the need to move on -- to a place that suits my temperament better.
I went to Calcutta for Durga Puja, and the moment I stepped out of the airport and got into the car, my wife asked for the FM to be switched on. The first song I got hear was, Bachna ae haseenon lo main aa gaya (Kishore Kumar, from Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin). The second song, Jaanu meri jaan (Kishore Kumar and Rafi and Asha and Usha, from Shaan). The third song, Ek main aur ek tu (Kishore and Asha, from Khel Khel Mein). The music for all three have been composed by R.D. Burman. It was as if the RJ knew I was coming to Calcutta!
Such luxury is not possible in Chennai, where FM channels mostly play Tamil songs. Not that I don't like Tamil songs. I have a playlist of awesome Tamil songs sitting on my desktop, even though I don't really understand the language, but you know what I mean. I have grown up with Hindi songs of the 1970's and 80's, and that's where my heart will always be, no matter where I am.
But as of now, I am a resident of Chennai, and who knows, I may live here for another 15 years. Only this evening, I was discussing Tamil songs (with the very few Tamil words at my disposal) with my driver. Maybe I was a little drunk. I was humming some of my favourite songs for him, and suddenly, I felt so proud that I live on the same street as Illayaraja. I can listen to his Raaja raaja (sung by Yesudas) a million times and still not tire of it. And then there is Guruvayurappa, sung by S.P. Balasubrahmanyam and S. Janaki -- a song that makes me fantasise to be the conductor of Illayaraja's orchestra.
But end of the day, I am an outsider here -- that's what every trip to Calcutta makes me feel. That city stands for all that I am about, even though I have hardly lived there. Am I speaking the mind of my wife who is a hardcore Calcuttan? I do not know. Time will tell.
Meanwhile, I have a confession to make. Sometime ago, a fellow blogger, who had mentioned me among his five favourite bloggers, had asked me, in return, to list five of my favourites. Now, I am not a regular readers of blogs, or anything for that matter. It's been ages that I've even read a book. But a list had to be made, so I picked up five blogs at random and praised them. One the blogs was that of Compulsive Confessor. If you don't know who Compulsive Confessor is, you are not seriously into blogging. I had seen her blog a few times, thanks to friends who would forward me the URL, but I never got down to reading it seriously.
This evening, a colleague forwarded me the link to an article in London's Telegraph, which was all about Confessor's popularity as a blogger, thanks her projection of herself as a woman who smokes and drinks and loves sexual adventures. All this while, I was not very sure about Confessor's identity, but now I know. I have seen her as a child, and that's because I'd worked with her mother years ago. But that's irrelevant. What matters is that she writes really well -- and only when you write well that you get readers for your story. Badly-constructed sentences, no matter how confessional and graphic they are, won't engage you, leave alone titillate.
After reading some of her posts (and re-reading the Telegraph article on her), I was tempted to abandon Ganga Mail and start a new blog under a pseudonym that would describe my adventures. There is so much to write. But then I thought: should I? Maybe I will, when I am 65, when the women concerned are too old to be bothered about being mentioned provided their names are changed. But who would be interested in the past conquests of a 65-year-old man? That's the disadvantage of being a man.
If a man were to write, "An insect bit my nipple", it would evoke either a laugh or no reaction. But if a woman wrote the same, you would hear the collective gasp of the (male) readers. Ok, you could still hear the gasp if a man confessed, "I playfully bit her nipple." But if a woman confessed, "He playfully bit my nipple", you wouldn't hear a gasp but a collective moan.
So I would rather let my stories remain buried in my heart. I've got a big heart.