The people at Rupa – apparently there are 38,563 of them (although most are freelancers and at least one is a six-year-old) – were very clear.
“We need you to write us a book.” One of them nonchalantly mentioned, I think it was the tall one, though it may have been the squat one, standing behind the tall one. I can’t quite recall. My response, as always, to anyone who says “write a book”, is to cry. Weep copiously, and beg to be placed in ice-cold water, in order to feel less anxiety, apprehension and pain.
In the interest of getting to the point in the next three days or so, let me tell you that the people at Rupa had done their homework. Thus eliciting a quick, compassionate response from nerdy eleven-year-old school girls who always copied down all the notes, and finished their homework in time.
They had read all my earlier works, and were particularly impressed by a composition I wrote called Gate. It revolved around Indian men and their peculiar walking styles. And although the title was erroneously spelled, the Rupa people lapped it up. At least that’s what the guy with the knocked knees seemed to have said. No, it was the one with the unibrow! Actually now that you mention it, it was the squat guy standing behind the tall guy. I’m pretty much 20 per cent sure. I think.
Anyway, Rupa and I have come to an understanding based on facts.
First – regardless of spellings I use my right hand. Second – although I asked for crores of rupees as remuneration, they agreed to pay me in handshakes. And if Ebola dies down, occasionally in hugs. Third – I won’t miss my deadline by more than a year. Fourth – I will write 231⁄2 Ways To Make a Girl Fall for You. Even though I personally have used only 16 ways myself. Mostly to no effect.
Fifth – if the Mahila Mandal office, situated directly opposite the Rupa office insists (by frequently and rightfully pelting stones at the Rupa office), then I must keep another version of the same book handy for publication, tentatively titled 231⁄2 Ways To Make a Boy Fall for You. Even though, here too I’ve personally employed only sixteen ways. However, with far better results!
Lastly, if this book wins the Man Booker Prize, they (Rupa) will pay for my train journey to and from the country of England. If instead, it causes me to win the Nobel Peace Prize, I undertake to bear all costs to Sweden by myself.
Why a book on helping Indian men find love? Two reasons. First, the Kama Sutra has failed. Second, according to a study done by WHO (World Health Organization), the Indian male suffers from the most serious case of SAG (Social Awkwardness & Guilt). I will elaborate on SAG a little later. But in case you are trying to find the WHO document, let me tell you frankly, I seem to have misplaced it. And, mysteriously, no carbon print or shadow of it seems to be available now at the present time, which is ten minute after lunch, today.
The Indian male approaches women with mostly great trepidation, and even horror. He traditionally has no game. He will occasionally offset this by over-compensating and acting overconfident around women. But this is all bluster, and in 70 per cent of all cases, the overconfident one has secretly wet himself like an adolescent school boy. This fact can also be verified by the WHO., although I’m told that this document too, at the present time, seems to have been misplaced.
Let me give you two examples of the Indian male’s struggles to connect with the opposite sex.
You all must have attended “that” party. “That” party is the one where you have 125 men dancing with each other, feverishly, while the seventeen women at the do look on, less than spellbound. These, mind you, are all heterosexual men, yet they form a mob, and then pretty soon enact a dance frenzy, all sans the ladies.
You think this would happen in Naples? Such behaviour is unheard of in Rio de Janeiro. And in Crimea if 125 men are dancing with each other, shootings will be inevitable. So on god’s green earth, only in India does this phenomenon occur. All the time, as we speak...er...okay as I write and you speak.
Then there’s that great paradox – similar to North Korea calling herself a democracy. But, with far worse implications. Only in India will you see men walking holding each other’s hands whilst ogling the ladies. They check the women out, mouths agape, pupils dilated in the time-honoured tradition of the village lout, but lo and behold, whilst always, always holding each other’s hands, tenderly.
So, dear reader, I have pulled up my forty-three years of experience, spent watching and observing the Indian male at play. I quite rightfully call myself the foremost authority on him. I know his look, his odour, his language, his mannerisms, and you may not believe this but if you put him in a line with four other species, say a sheep, a bear, a log, and a snake, I’m the one person who would be able to pick out the Indian male correctly and without delay. I have authored many books already on the species, including Desi Boy, Man and Lesser Man, and Still Breast Feeding at 42?
Excerpted with permission from 23 and ½ Ways to Make a Girl Fall for You, Cyrus Broacha, Rupa Publications.