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     Volume 5 Issue 91 | April 21, 2006 |

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Slice of Life

Stirred and Shaken!

Richa Jha

"WHAT is life after all…", said the great Creative Genius and looked around the semi-lit room for support. Even in the low visibility, one could clearly discern scores of heads nodding their silent approval of every word that escaped the Master's nicotine tarred lips. He sat there in one corner of the room holding forth, almost in the fashion of a king from medieval times, a semi burnt Marlborough in one hand and a glass of some dark bubbly in the other. Deep in thought as he was, the Master remained alert to his immediate surroundings. No female guest in attendance in the party room for instance, could ever complain that the 'Great one' had failed to take notice of her, even though his eyes remained half shut. He seemed in deep meditation, though am convinced the drowsiness was largely alcohol inspired.

Allow me to explain the background of my presence in these bizarre surroundings. You remember surely how in one of my pieces I mentioned about my inability to attend a great bash because the promised invitation never came. Well two things have happened since then. Invitations to DOs have started coming my way thick and fast, and more often than not, hosts have started couriering two separate sets of cards by two different sets of couriers, just to make sure. While in most cases I have successfully managed to fabricate an appropriate excuse, 'The Hubby has an upset tummy', 'Son is in the throes of tantrums', 'Daughter's demanding quality time', etc. etc., I could not help drooling on an invite from this great Creative Genius, who God alone knows how, chose me, above many-many other worthies. It was much later that I learnt that while drawing up his guest list, the Master, like an able General, first chose the big names who could pack a punch, and then came down to foot soldiers like me, to make up the background.

"All around the world, the poor remain poor, while the rich get richer…", said the genius as he let go of a soda aided burp. The spirit was beginning to take its toll on his carefully cultivated accent. The cronies all dressed in their designer labels, nodded consent. I sat there quietly like a forgotten piece of furniture in the corner, but by now, was beginning to get desperate for relief from the monosyllabic chatter around me. They say necessity is the mother of all creation. I was drawing up on my once vast repertoire (while in school) of excuses to make a quick but dignified exit. 'An upset tummy' did not seem too lady like and 'an upset hubby' did not appear out of the ordinary. The mind was conjuring endless possibilities, but none of them seemed to fit the bill.

While I was deeply engrossed in weighing various possibilities to vamoose, words to the effect of "…ask her…she's a writer", came to my ears and in an instant I found all eyes riveted to me. For a moment or two, I remained nonplussed by this sudden attention; especially as I had no clue as to what was being discussed. But it is at times like these that I rise in my own esteem and have often surprised myself with my ability to think on the move. I gained composure quickly pausing briefly while gazing intently in the vacant corner, as if trying to weigh my words carefully. "I couldn't agree more", I said pausing theatrically to lay emphasis, "with what has just been said. I remain, as I have always been in the past, an ardent admirer of the genius of our host today. He has a way with words and I am particularly impressed with the manner in which he combines the depth of his conviction with a forthrightness and bluntness that is endearing…" My host looked upon me with benign eyes when I was through. Not only had I not let him down but had fully justified my inclusion in the guest list.

The cheeses came on a silver platter and I helped myself to a couple of healthy slices. The party for me had begun in right earnest now, and I was beginning to enjoy myself more than ever before. The rest of the evening was a blur but I distinctly remember having remained throughout, in a rather chatty and expansive mood. The host was at his gracious best as he bid us all personal good-byes. I may be wrong but I got a distinct impression that he lingered on for those extra few moments with me, and for once, I did not mind the attention.

A dear friend who stays close by offered to drop me back as my driver had had quite a few late nights in the recent past, what with my new found celebrity status, and I had decided to pack him off early. I found the friend rather glum faced and withdrawn which I attributed to all the attention that I had cornered leaving him totally eclipsed. But since I was, as I said in an expansive mood, I thought I would help him unburden himself and asked what the matter was. Folks, following is a brief gist of the conversation we had and I report verbatim:

He: You want to know the matter…Ok, tell me, do you really believe authors and writers are people who believe in wasting their own time and that of the gullible public who choose to read them…?

I: What do you think I will say to an obnoxious question like that, haan?

He: I am no longer sure, because before that hallowed drunk, you whole-heartedly agreed with this and more…

Friends, I seem to have finally arrived on the party scene here; there is yet another invite awaiting me from the Creative Genius. But this time, I have decided I have an upset tummy and will tell him so. Lady-like or not, I don't care!

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