She: The name Plato is unbelievably pretentious. My friend had a baby the other day. We call him Hnaariram.
She: Plato. But why?
Me: (fumbles) He is wide-browed.
Me: Well, I couldn't allow him to be called Bhombol all his life without a mew of protest, could I?
She: Why couldn't you?
Me: I like Europiyo names.
She: It is intolerably pretentious.
Me: It's because they think I am a scholar (and indeed now you shall protest) but that is how they regard me ever since they caught me reading Horace's Odes at the little pre-wedding party that they had. Of course it was a Penguin Classic, the full scholarly value of which impressed upon the mind.
Be good. And do all your work.
Me: I read pulp fiction.
Me: OK. I am off.
Righto, that was the dialogue. Now let us dwell on other things. When will the rains come? My heart cries out for some healthy hilsa. Oh, before I forget. My readership consists of some non-Bengali speaking people, chief among whom is the good Elendil, who is improving much in recent time, but for his benefit I translate Hnaariram. It means, in a literal sense, Ram of the Pot/ Cooking Vessel of Quirky Shape. Anyway...I am sure the good Elendil will not take offence. And if he does, then I must remind him of the time when he identified khoi as a sort of muri, which is actually not as wrong as it sounds, except of course, that it is wrong and appalling too.
However, I forgive him because he is in Bombay and is engaged in all sorts of fascinating exercises like IPL final-watching and Naseeruddin Shah-in-Antigone-viewing. That apart, Colaba has some exciting trinkets that he will, no doubt, pick up for the beautiful N. which will put her in a lovely mood and she will immediately bake me the nicest cake in Calcuttadom. Or take me out for ham sandwiches sans kasundi.
Yesterday we went for monthly shopping to Spencers' where I ooh-ed and aah-ed at the preserved olives and gherkins. And the fancy cheese. I remember the childhood outings with ma to Gariahat maashkaabari dokaan. Those days! The fish market was just next to the grocery store. Then came Food Bazaar. Gosh! And now we even have Marks and Spencers'. The thrill has gone from the sudden smoked salmon and cold cuts that visiting relatives/parents get from foreign first world climes. Even though my mother steadfastly refuses to buy them here because of the pricing. So we settle for Meatzza (she doesn't even let me buy piggy) chicken sausages, the most inedible sausages of chicken or any other meat that you may ever come across.
Anyway, the next time any of you have roast suckling with a well placed apple in the mouth of the Baby Piggy, call me over. I shall warble in my best Bard-like tones, deliver a discourse on the beauty of memory and the art of the ancients, slice modernity into two and fart on the larger slice, and blow my nose and bid you a teary farewell.
Thank you for a good time.