Amit Varma is a writer based in Mumbai. He worked in journalism for over a decade, and won the Bastiat Prize for Journalism in 2007. His bestselling novel, My Friend Sancho, was published in 2009. He is best known for his blog, India Uncut. His current project is a non-fiction book about the lack of personal and economic freedoms in post-Independence India.
At a pardy on Saturday night, someone at my table was telling us about a journalist who used to take bribes in the form of bags of cement, and eventually built a house off his corruption. “I dream of a day when girls throw cement panties at me,” I said. No looks of disapproval were hurled at me, so maybe the world is changing for the better.
This was at Jai Arjun Singh‘s post-wedding bash for his friends. Rahul and I had flown down for the event, and it was immense fun, largely because of all the friends I hadn’t met for so long. Nilanjana, DD, Aishwarya, Nikhil, and Chandrahas were most entertaining, as were various other poor souls without blogs.
Chandrahas did some excellent Russian-novelist-at-decadent-party expressions, while DD told me the history of India’s opium trade, informing me that India is the world’s largest exporter of opium. Immense nationalistic pride floated. Kolkata’s “Chhata Wala Gali”, where umbrellas, opium and sexual pleasures are reportedly sold on the first, second and third floors respectively, must be visited. (DD once worked on the fourth floor.)
Elaborate plans were made to pull Jai’s leg, or at least his churidar, but the poor boy looked quite harrowed as the evening went on, and we left him alone. (He reneged on his promise of performing a striptease. Shocking abrogation.) His car was also brutalised at the end of the evening, but to my lasting regret, he didn’t beat anyone up. He has promised to blog about his water tank soon.
Various people came up to me to tell me cow stories. Aishwarya brought an element of merchandising into it, telling me about a pair of boxer shorts she had once seen with a cow on the front. If you squeezed the cow, it went “moo!” (No, there were no udders, thank FSM.) I berated everyone who told me a cow story, telling them that I didn’t like cows. The cow meme on the blog was just an accident, and it’s really dogs and bears that I like. Trying to persuade them that I had moved on, I said, “Cthulhu is the new cow!”
The reason I am quoting only myself is that I had reached there in a sleep-deprived state, and my memory of events is rather fuzzy. (No, the alcohol has nothing to do with it.) I do remember a magnificent conversation I overheard when Rahul and I were at the coffee shop of a five-star hotel after the pardy, waiting out the night before our early morning flight. At an adjoining table, a bunch of young people were arguing with a waiter about some hair they found in their biriyani.
Yuppie 1: This is the third time I have ordered biriyani here, and the third time that I have found hair in it.
Waiter: Sir, that is not possible. We have three waiters in the kitchen, and two of them are bald.
I swear I am not making that up.
Anyway, back in town I slept for two hours and headed over for a BQC quiz where I came second, for the third time in four quizzes this season. Then I returned home and watched Rasmussen, and felt quite as tired as the end as he must have.
In other words, that’s why I didn’t blog all weekend. But I’m back now!
Posted by Amit Varma in Personal
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