First Page: Lost Pages ( unpublished) – Black Humour/Relationships
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Note from Jane: I debated about not posting this because of the content, particularly the references to the females in this piece (not to mention the odd style choices for punctuation), but in the end felt that there was some constructive feedback that we could give here at Dear Author.
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I am talking to Max about the similarity between Paris and Calcutta when he starts rolling a joint. He has carefully stashed away some for the evening. Our taxi ambles away easily when the driver sniffs the dope and looks back…I look at Max who is coolly going about his job…mixing tobacco and grass in the right proportion…stoking the joint so that it holds…licking the rolling paper finally…French (Europeans as I get to learn later) are really fond of tobacco…Max says his biggest discovery of India is…well…cheap cigarettes…
Driving through the bylanes of Calcutta at night… dead communists lying at crossroads with dead Englishmen…Mr. AJC bose running parallel to one Mr.. Elgin…(howdy gentlemen…bhadralok…)roads are almost deserted and not all of them lead to the Park street….but our taxi that night does lead to that hallowed street…to the most classless place in the entire city…where there’s a drink for all…Olypub…where the maître d’ will ‘accidentally’ spill over extra booze from the jigger into your glass…
The taxi stops…Max and I enter Oly with great expectations, much lesser cash and quite a few stares…Max tells me he’s of sick of being stared at in Calcutta…I wonder whether I will be stared at if I am in Paris… meanwhile I am looking for a seat and true to the place’s reputation there’s none…bearded communists are drinking with the same élan as a group of college going kids…they are all here to drink…a great leveler like death…a virtual toast from my side to the sincere buggers…cheers…
Max approaches the college gang for a light and is obliged by a nymph (sorry for the lack of a more polite word, but to be honest she will behave true to the word as the night proceeds). Max is pretty cool at this…striking casual conversations at ease “ you have a light on you” or just his European good looks smile…with strangers…pretty effective…the gang is ready to adjust us on their table ( all smokers…)
We order a drink as the kids rattle off in Bengali…I can speak broken Bengali so I try to catch words and interpret…..bhalo…khabo…etc etc….but finally give up and order for a vodka for myself…the nymph asks me if I’ve heard about Parikrama…who are performing at Someplace else at the park hotel…I nod in the affirmative…Parikrama…the bestest (arguably) rock band in India…apparently they play Floyd better then Floyd themselves ( ever since Gilmour and Waters parted ways)..are playing next door… “So why the hell are we here…”asks Max ( who is high on a joint and down on a peg)…I give him a stern look since I don’t want to declare in front of a few college going kids that we don’t have cash on us (he’s smiling back..the French fool) and liquor at park hotel will burn holes into his pocket so deep that he could scratch his knees..
There is an ugly looking Bengali chick among the kids who’s staring at me. Ugly women are my forte…easier to get and and easier to dump. No…( belch) strings ( belch followed by another belch) attached. I know already I am going to detest her, her body, her feelings for me eventually. Infact I detest everything about her already except her body, the lust checks my disgust…lust for the bust, keeps away the disgust (my retort to an apple a day keeps the doctor away). In no time we are four down ( four and a quarter thanks to the deary waiter)…and life is much better…max and nymph are sharing a joint…(not so) ugly chick has placed her arm next to mine…so the intentions are clear…gulp, gulp..five down..