Friday, September 16, 2005

Crash. Burn.

Comments by Neela disparaging my chances with women and from HWSNBF disparaging the MIMIMs (Mutually Indistinguishable Management Institutes in Mumbai), made me recollect this little scene from long ago:

Scene: Bombay. Lower Parel. Summer 2004. It's Friday afternoon. Falstaff and Intern Girl (IG) are sharing a taxi on the way home. IG is an enthusiastic and ambitious MIMIM student working as a summer intern on a project with Falstaff. The archetypal go-getting intern, IG is smart (good looking), confident (good looking) and capable (good looking), but a little in awe of Falstaff. Falstaff is, well, Falstaff.

Half way through the ride Falstaff finally abandons his plans to whip out his discman and listen to Joni Mitchell and elects to make conversation instead.
(By such slender threads hang the fates of men!)

Falstaff: "So, what are your plans for the weekend?"

IG: (with a smile. Whew!) "What are yours?"

F: "Ah, but I asked you first." (Good going, Falstaff. What wit! what maturity! No one but you could have thought of this one)

IG: "Oh, you know, the usual."

F: "But that's just it you see, I don't know what the usual is." (Great. The Rex Harrison approach. Next you'll be calling her 'my dear'. Why not just throw in a pedantic lecture on types of inductive fallacies while you're at it? That's sure to charm her)

IG: "You know, go to a disc, hang out, party. The normal. What do you do over weekends?"

F: "I'm not really into discs." (Best to be honest about this. Lust is one thing. Having to listen to two hours of noise - I believe the official term is techno - in a hot, sweaty, sardine can is something else). "Mostly I'll just hang out with friends. At someone or the other's place. Grab a beer. Listen to music. Talk about life. Maybe catch a play or two if there's something good on."

(Statutory Disclosure: In three years, I've done this all of once. My usual weekends at this point consist of waking up early Saturday morning, 'treating' myself to a breakfast of cold Maggi, walking down to the Crossword around the corner five minutes after it opens, buying a couple of books and spending the rest of the weekend obsessively reading with occasional breaks for cappucino and brownies at the local Barista. My idea of socialising on weekends is to snarl at my friends a little more politely on the phone than I would otherwise).

IG: "Wow! that sounds so lovely. I wish I could have a weekend like that sometime" (Land ahoy! Houston, we have reached cruising altitude, preparing to launch second stage rockets).

"The trouble, is you see, people in my generation just have this fascination with discs and going out" (there, there. Wait! Did she say 'my generation'? What! Hello, I'm a year and a half older! I'm not a different generation! Left engine blown! Losing altitude fast!).

"I can't wait till I'm as old as you and can just relax over the weekend" (eject! eject! My chute is on fire! Aaargghhhh!)

F: "Yes, it must be really tough being that young" (and this gorgeous! Sob!). "So, what was it you were saying earlier today about the figures in the second scenario we ran not making sense..."

Passing Arthur Road Jail. Shades of the prison house. Trailing clouds of debris. (Ya, go ahead. Quote Wordsworth to yourself. That'll make you younger. Wordsworth! No wonder she thinks you're some ancient fossil).

"How can I make a cowardly amends
For what she has said to me." [1]

"There ought to be a law against Henry.
Mr. Bones: There is." [2]

[1] T. S. Eliot, Portrait of a Lady
[2] John Berryman, Dream Song 4


absolutely clueless said...

look at the brighter side, Falstaff...she took 3 FULL minutes of conversation, breathing the same air as u, to figure out your...ahem...."maturity and intelligence"....if she was from a slightly more worthy MI, all ud get is a nurse by ur side...and a superstar at stick-poking distance ;)! time try "i love robbie williams", that shd work...incid, i do too..blink blink!!!

Falstaff said...

Clueless: on the contrary, I vividly remember (as I'm sure you do too) a New Year's Eve party at a Well-known Institute of Management in Western India where I had to beat them off with a stick (literally).

As for actually acknowledging that talentless hacks like Robbie Williams exist, let alone can be enjoyed - I'd rather stay celibate. Really

Heh Heh said...

Quoting Wordworth to a young gorgeous woman is like playing soothing music to a plant.. If you think it works, you are deluded.

or whatever...

meditativerose said...

Cummings, on the other hand, could definitely work :)

Also Falstaff ... Land Ahoy, Houston, rockets .. what??? Guess should put it down to confusion in the presence of immense beauty ... the same thing that leads you to misquote Shakespeare ;)

Falstaff said...

HWSNBF: Hmmm...I think you give Wordsworth too much credit - more like playing elevator music to a plant. Also, hello, I don't go around quoting Wordsworth to gorgeous young women, I go around quoting it to myself when said young women summarily reject me, to make the point to myself that things could be worse.

MR: Ya, ya, just because you watched Hannah and her Sisters you think you know something about what poems work on women. Also, what do you mean misquote Shakespeare? When? What are you talking about? This is rich, coming from someone who thought the "All the world's a stage" speech was in Merchant of Venice.

Heh Heh said...

"soothing music" = "elevator music", no?
Personally, from whatever i've read i always thought Wordsworth was a bit sappy. Hallmark-ish.

*ducks to avoid getting stoned by Wordsworth lovers*

By extension, the analogy means that gorgeous young MIMIMans are like young plants. I can see several reasons why that is a valid comparison.

*ducks again to avoid getting stoned by legions of Female Falstaffian Fans* Heh. alliteration alert. again.

Falstaff said...

HWSNBF: I don't know - personally find elevator music anything but soothing. I suppose it's superficially soothing, but to me soothing music is more like Bach - something that brings you peace.

Agree about Wordsworth though. You should read Byron on him - he's so scathing - at one point he writes (I quote from memory, so I'm probably getting this wrong):

"He makes another plea for a little boat / And drivels oceans to set it well afloat".

Not sure about young gorgeous MIMIMians being like plants though. They may be green and clingy, but they don't seem to like all this choice fertiliser that I keep trying to feed them.

also, you hardly need to duck to avoid getting stoned (since when do you avoid getting stoned anyway) by Female Fallstaffian Fans. Even if such exist, they clearly can't see straight, so they're unlikely to hit you anyway.

meditativerose said...

Falstaff: Yeah yeah, deny it - you're the one who forgot that there was also a 'world's a stage' line in Merchant of Venice.

Also, what .. who's talking about Woody Allen ... how can 'Kisses are a better fate than wisdom' not work .. of course, you can see how this would be particularly effective on starstruck MIMIMians.

Falstaff said...

MR: Apologies. Had forgotten that you know two cummings poems, not one. Was thinking more of the 'somewhere i have never travelled' poem, which I think is a much better poem per se, though I see why the 'because feeling is first' poem might work fairly well. Hmmm.

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