I’ve spent eight hours sitting in a wifi cafe, have already consumed seven hundred recessive rupees’ worth of Lemongrass Tea, Marinated Lamb Sandwich, Bisleri and Superb Coffee Ice Cream, and am now seriously eyeing the Gooey Chocolate Cake, all in an effort to find something to say in this week’s column.
One reason is that I’ve been an accomplished wastrel of late. I have watched, in quick succession, Milk, Brick Lane, In Bruges, Burn After reading, Slumdog Millionnaire, Luck By Chance, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People (the last two back-to-back at the mall, with a drink at Geoffrey’s in between and after), Doubt, Frost/Nixon, The Reader, and W..
En route I discovered that the Oscars were seriously off-track this year, no offence, and that despite being a committed reader of Maureen Dowd’s columns, my mother had actually not, in the last eight years, made the connection between ‘W.’ and ‘Dubya’. I find it strangely reassuring that hundreds of millions of people must refer to the ex-POTUS as ‘Dubya’ without having the slightest idea why. There’s something moving about a world bonding over some core issue while gamely ignoring the cultural gaps. I also now know for certain that if I had to watch movies all day, every day for the rest of my life and complain about them, I’d be ready, willing and able.
So anyway, my column-writing day has gone I don’t know where, possibly because looking at a screen that is blank and immobile has caused my brain to explode in disorientation and grief. Finally, after the sixth time that I had to ask someone to close the café’s balcony door so that their accursed, blighted, benighted second-hand smoke didn’t float in—I’ve just given up again, and am in Zealous Convert mode—I finally quit trying, opened the top button of my jeans, took my first full breath in hours, and continued to aimlessly surf the internet as I’d been doing.
Amongst many other things I learned that someone thinks that reality TV star Jane Goody has had a wicked spell put on her. The item on Goody, who has terminal cancer and has decided to live out her final weeks on television, elicited much sympathetic comment as well as a cryptic note from an anonymous reader who claimed that Goody had been cursed and that if someone would forward an email address, anonymous would fix it.
Further down the thread, someone ventured that this curse must have come from an Indian upset with Goody over the whole Shilpa Shetty affair (in which Goody said rude, allegedly racist things to Shetty during an episode of Celebrity Big Brother, and India’s Ministry of External Affairs began to shake its portly jowls in sovereign indignation). That turned the direction of the debate ever so slightly to the subject of the ever-increasing Indian immigrant community. Reading a string of stupid, mostly illiterate comments was all worth it for the following anguished comment:
“I KNEW SOMETHNG LIKE THIS WOULD HAPPEN I AM 100% SURE SHE WAS CURSED BY THE INDIANS THEY'VE SPREAD ALL OVER BRITAIN, THEY GET RID OF THEIR CO-WORKERS BY GIVING THEM SAMOSAS.” [Sic]
That’s how I feel about samosas too, in general. But more to the point, I see in this notion the seeds of a real, achievable strategy for world domination. All’s fair in love and recession: Let them tax US businesses that outsource to Haryana and Bangalore; we’ll just fry, spice, fatten and transfatten the competition into oblivion. We should up our production of rabri and kalakand while we’re at it.