The First Meeting

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(an hour has passed)

– Do you write often?

– Oftenesque.

– What have you written recently?

– Kind of going through a horrendously draughty spell, writing wise, I mean, sometimes, I think – when I am reading Musil or Kafka – that I should drop it all off, and just come out plain honest to myself crying out loud, ‘You cannot write even if the Muses fucked you, you pretentious little fucker.’

– But then you do keep writing. What saves you? Or does anything save you at all?

– God, save! Does anything save me! – ‘save’ would be too comforting a word. I know that, in this life, I’d never be satisfied with whatever I write or with whatever others write, and even if by some baffling miracle I become satisfied at some point, I’ll give the smug feeling a week’s time and it will rot before me as morbidly as something dead. There is no saving a writer, or one who pretends to be one. I can only hope, in future, for some kind hippie critic to somehow get ‘touched’ – how I hate that word – by what I write and convince some hundred other hippies to believe that it is something that ‘touches’ them. And I do not see that happening till the proverbial ‘end of the world’. So something saving me is out of question, but ironically, and a sweet ironically at that too, the act of writing really comes close to it, even if for a very, very short time.

– (smiling) So, what has fake-saved you, recently?

– (laughing a little) Well let’s see. I wrote something about an indecisive man, a really shallow, superfluous bore, who thinks he is good at flirting, and how one day he decides to leave everything and goes to Kashmir for some transcendental quest to find himself.

– Does he find himself?

– Yes he does. He finds himself to be a boorish pervert, an immaculate lier, a heartless cheat, and yet a very uninteresting person in general. He gets so fucking horny one time that he thinks of doing it with the Himalaya in his dreams. And then not to kill himself of ennui he starts fishing, and gets pretty good at that. I am yet to finish it. May be I’ll round it all off with a really moving scene of him trying to fuck an open door.

– You are a cynic.

– Who’d you want : a bunch of well meaning optimists, liking a facebook page to stop rape, conserve water and – Oh thou Irony – electricity, and to add to it an international zing sharing a link to free Tibet, or, some ruthless cynics, who are the only ones who can see a problem as a problem and not narrow it down to something as a fucking shallow ’cause’ to ‘support’.

– But you aren’t ruthless.

– Ha! I know people who are. I can arrange a meeting if you want. They’d be so excited to see a girl! Some of them will not even find you intolerable.

– Do you find me intolerable?

– (smiling) Mildly.

– (laughing) Do you want some more coffee?

– Sure.

– What else?

– Nothing. I’m full.

– I mean what else have you written recently apart from that curious tale of the wannabe Himalaya fucker.

– Oh, that. Huh. Yes, I wrote something about being on the bad side and being on the good side.

– Yes?

– It is a kind of a handy test to ascertain which side you are on. It is rather very interesting: if the side you are on acts all intelligent, does not entertain criticism or suggestions of any kind, is loudly religious, has lots of men, and has women who aspire to be men, supports uniformity, propagates conformity, is pretty sure of itself, is rabidly enamoured of an image – be it of a nation, a person, a religion, a God, or a cricket team, – is never shy of defeating humans to uphold a non existent ideal, is unabashedly capitalist (a short pause as the coffee arrives) is relentlessly communist, is revising history, is banning books, is fascist – come on! – is dynastic, believes in Plato and his shit about forms and ideals, generalises, tries to explain – by which I mean is shameless enough to explain absurdities of human life with a straight face and then sell off their explanations as the only truth, – is biased, is ostensibly unbiased, is unbiased but only when convenient, is demanding a substantial fee for admission, has weak geography and weaker history, uses the word ‘justified’ somewhere in the same paragraph which also has ‘killing’ in it, is populist – because believe me, there is nothing as a popular opinion, only the powerful opinions gobbling up the smaller ones, – is concerned with what people do with their spare time, or in their bedrooms, is a management institution, is a big sucker for words as ‘performance’ and ‘productivity’, while doesn’t give a fuck on how you feel working for it, is inspiring young men and women to be something else that they are not, is out there to make clones of them in its own image, then, most probably, you are on the bad side.

(They are religiously sipping their coffee. A longer pause.)

– That was a really long list. What do you think makes a good side?

– (sips in one big last gulp of coffee to finish it off) Uncertainty.

– (laughs) It’s good. Will you write more on it?

– I think I will, but it won’t matter, you see, I don’t really want to write much on politics and religion, and even if I do I don’t want people to read what I write on politics and religion. I put it in the same category as that of fondling oneself in public. One shouldn’t do that.

– You mean to say that a person’s political and religious beliefs should not be on display for everyone to see?

– Yes, kind of. (an undefined pause of a minute or so) I should go now.

– Okay.

– Will I see you again?

– Do you want to?

– (smiling) Yes. Why not?

– (smiling) Why not, then?

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