Of course I am not serious- what do I have to be serious about, what can I do but build castles and imagine myself as King? That's what I have done since childhood, lived in an imaginary world full of stray anecdotes, dastardly stories, dismal breakfasts and books. I always wanted to win the Booker Prize, only I knew I would never get down to writing a novel. I once started writing a novel about a girl called Jane, but somehow I never related to her. I then wrote another novel about a girl called Ahona, and one day I suddenly started believing it was my diary. So I told my friends in 1997 how I had saved a baby from a terrible fire at the Book Fair that year. Only I hadn't been to the Book Fair that year. I was convinced that I had, and I visualized everything about that horrible scene- there was the baby and there was 9 year old Ahona, saving the baby from the jaws of blazing fire. And then of course, they called me a liar- instead of lauding my imagination.
Of course I was never serious! What was there to be serious about? Contemporaries solving mathematical conundrums? What was the resistance of the wire used in your geyser? (I don't know, I hate my geyser.) But you understand my problem- I was faced with an insurmountable problem: fiction. I could not distinguish between fiction and fact. This was painful, I was always looking for something reconciliatory, someone soothing who would whisper sotto voce to me; it's alright. And nobody did, only I thought they did. And then my mother used to say that Darling, your poems are beautiful, but really she doesn't get poems, it must be reading all that Sanskrit. Only today she said reading Kalidasa's Sakuntala is like listening to a waterfall. Now that perhaps is reconciliation.
And of course I have never been serious! Otherwise, would I sit here, patiently counting the hours and minutes but never the seconds, waiting for another joke, a better joke, if only I knew how to laugh. But one tends to forget how to laugh as one grows older, it's something I learnt from Thakurma- you completely forget to laugh until you're 60, and if you're lucky-you learn again. And to her laughter and her capacity to make everyone laugh, I owe a great deal. Her laughter is like champagne being swished in a goblet- effervescent, poetic, and giddy. When I hear her laugh, my heart skips a beat, there's a tangy pang, and I believe you connoisseurs call it love.
And I hope I am never serious, and that I always somehow speak to myself- and if you think I'm crazy and lazy and all those things I am, remember this: I do not provide a defense or an apologia. Know only this much; to love is also to imagine, to worship is only to construct. And thus, I too am your fiction, as much as you are mine.
It all started when the Pope got out some rope and wanted to hang his pet Doge i.e., a dog-with-an-e. Now, this was a miraculous event even when cardinals cultivated their cardinal sins. There was a Cardinal who only had clitorises for breakfast. Somewhere nearby, a young half-crazed youth shouted, "They've taken my penis away!" but he was not a member of the exalted club called Sex Sect, which was predominantly religious in tone. A lot of people told him his penis was intact, only they could not verify it as he would not let anybody take off his pants. (His pants were made of satin.) All this was happening in Europe of course, but closer home, a woman who was frenching her third husband was mistaken to be the Goddess Kali and immediately taken out of her humble abode and installed in a temple. Nobody dared to have sex with her after that. Another sly youth from the shadier parts of town wanted to do his dog but the dog bit him very hard indeed on the buttocks. With the prospect of rabies looming large, the boy sobbed until he died. He refused to drink water, claiming that water from the Ganges was pure poison, worse than dog-venom.
I do not know why I narrate imaginary stories of perverts. I have a sneaking suspicion that I am disturbed.