Saturday, October 27, 2007

The simple life

A quick scan of the newspapers will reveal that the major thing, these days, is to have the right hand-made handbag, made of the skin of Peruvian llamas specially bred on caviar and cream, and encrusted with diamonds, on your arm as you settle into a satin-upholstered seat on your gold-plated private aircraft specially fitted with Swarovski crystal windows, en route to a cocktail party with the Prince of Blah-di-blah in his Crimean mansion, where there will be oysters on the half-shell and where gem-filtered Diva vodka, at $1 million a bottle, will flow like water all night.

It’s called luxury, and it’s what you’re supposed to aim for in your avatar as successful modern Indian, player of note on the global stage, Blackberry in hand and the world at your feet.

Happily for those of us who subscribe to and live on sloth and serendipity, there are still lots of low-budget situations that will give you that feeling of extraordinary luxury, the unbeatable feeling that you’re the king of the world, that there’s nowhere you’d rather be and nothing else you’d rather be doing, and if you died right that minute, you’d have no regrets.

Here’s a list of top ten, in no particular order:

-Cutting away all the white of a fried egg cooked sunny side up and, in a moment marked by the silent flourish of trumpets, popping the whole perfect yolk into your mouth, where it explodes and slides down your throat in a melt of gold, and cholesterol be damned.

-Lying about on a sofa in a quiet room and reading, your toes interlocked with the toes of someone you love, who is lying about on the same sofa, reading their own book.

-Tickling someone until they’re weeping with laughter or, preferably, begging for mercy. Bonus if it’s a child under six years old, or someone much bigger than yourself.

-Drinking a hot cup of tea in a dry house during a violent thunderstorm. This gets better if the windows are open and you can smell the mud. A variation of this is the very excellent sensation of getting completely drenched in a warm summer rain.

-Managing to kick the same little pebble all the way home, with not too much sideways motion. And firmly believing that, because you did, the thing that you want with all your heart to have happen, will happen.

-Lying on your back in cool grass with your eyes closed, with no bigger plan than to nap. Better if it’s on a sunny day that makes the scent of it rise up into your nostrils and coat your brain. Even better if you can hear the occasional bee.

-Cooking a meal from a recipe you’ve never followed before and having it turn out perfectly.

-Dancing by yourself to the oldest, tinniest, most uncool music from the worst decade in music history, which you’re not supposed to like anymore, but you still do, you really do.

-Having a sudden and acute awareness that you and the world are in constant contact, that even air is matter, and that your body, both in movement and at rest, actually displaces the universe.

-Sitting in a chair with the throat of a warm snoozing dog resting on the top of your bare foot. Especially when the dog does that weird chop-licking-and-swallowing thing that makes its throat move a bit.

There are, of course, those cynics who would call this a case of sour grapes. To them I say, sour grapes make the best whine.


AK said...

I could definitely go for the sofa and reading with a girl one; but it would be better if I was doing that on a yacht in Greece with a bottle of 64 Veuve Clicquot and a tin of Sterlet caviar.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mitali!

How great it is to think you have all these things. I can never kick a pebble all the way home with me.

Mom and I were just here in Vermont, thinking about old friends. Your name came up, so we took a peek at your column. I always do.

Love, Kiri

ruch kuch said...

the egg yolk! the egg yolk! i thought it was only me in the whole wide world....

Zareen said...

The sentence about your body displacing the universe is m.a.g.i.c.
No really it is.
I was feeling crap a second ago, read that, looked away, and like the slow golden melting of the egg yolk a couple of sentences up, I felt a smile breaking upon my face.
Wonderful writing.