April 15, 2008

Poshington Post

They inevitably make me feel conscious of the never-ending bad-hair-month. Sometimes, ill-read and uneducated. Quite often lewd and plebeian. They are the Poshingtons of Delhi. As a friend of a friend once named them. In a moment of awe and reverence.

They have country-cousins in Bangalore. Though not of quite the same sheen. Or remotely the same screen presence. They are inevitably the Thinking Lot. ( Some of us like to think we can think also, but what good is thinking, if you can't do the Think Ritual?!) They write books and make films and art and culture and exotic food, they have truckloads of sex (I am told in hushed huddles), they seduce over Lacan, and orgasm over Zizek. There are hierarchies within them (I am told by treacherous informers). I like to imagine that they have secret sexual rituals involving the chants of post-structuralist theory to tribal drumbeats, with earthy FabIndia drapes forming a shamiana. Somewhat like in Eyes Wide Shut, but in desi tones and hues. With a Monsoon Wedding element to it. Though my middle class imagination stops right there.

But I digress.

So the Poshington who reads Lacan and Assamese poetry and can do standup comedy and does some other supercool stuff that touch the boundary-walls of my imagination only tangentially, is on top of the food chain. I am told by sources. Reliable ones. The person is usually male. The source doesn’t wanna risk taking a call on his sexual preference. For fear of losing membership and access to action. Below him (no pun intended, in order to secure the loyalties of my middle-class audiences) is the PoshMeena. She carries a whip in the shamiana ritual of my imagination. Is sometimes the exotic innocent flowergirl. Sometimes the brutal goddess (to students of Lacan). At other times, the anchor of civilisation (of Poshingtons). Adolescent Poshingtons put up her poster. Gabroo jawan poshingtons sing her ballads in dark corners at drunken ritual-zones. And she sniggers at one and all. Especially the wannabe PoshMeenas who would at this point be having loud drunken conversations about the silvery-thong-feminisms. But never quite measuring upto our Lady.

Below her, on his lucky day, is of course, the gabroo jawan. Who walks into the ritual with a little velvet pouch of tricks- he has spun in the course of the day. They could range from a Lacanian joke to a raunchy pelvic thrust.

I will stop here in the interest of the Poshington informer’s life, livelihood and action.

I remain the eternal Peeping Bong to this elaborate socio-sexual ritual. Grateful that I got to witness some bits of the Lives and Times of the Poshingtons. To my utter voyeuristic glee. Forming a good part of my Memoirs of Delhi.

April 10, 2008

Of Jingo Sexualities

Over some stoned Bangali adda into the wee hour of the morning, an age-old Kolkata stereotype of neighbourhood sexual exploits resurfaced. The neighbourhood, popularly known as para, is incomplete without a protagonist- a parar dada. The unemployed youth of the 80s (not so much the 90s) with the rugged despondent masculinity. The protagonista- she could be the unattainably snooty English Honours student, the noveau riche belly-button-jeans nevermindthelovehandles item number, the demure Boudi(an erotic category- the older brother's wife) in a nightie, or the virginal high-school girl, braided and schoolbagged, with a dash of mischief in the corner of her eye.

These sexual entanglements are of a quaint nature. Mostly hidden in the shadows of intersecting boundary walls, underneath mattresses, inside covers of books. Never out in the daylight. Never in ice-cream parlours or Baristas. Sometimes in a niribili(deserted, technically speaking, but not quite- the word conveys a sense of cosy isolation) corner on Laker Dhaar. These are not sexualities of Boyfriend-and-Girlfriends. Or Open relationships. Or Messings Around. These are rampant. Vibrant. Nameless.Borderless. Sexcapades. Our braided schoolgirl is not Carrie Bradshaw, neither Bridget Jones. Nothing metropolitan about her.

Sometimes documented in angsty short stories of Sunday supplements of Anonodo Bajar Potrika, where English honours downtown diva has irrepressible lust for suburban Math Honours cousin. Mostly passed down through gossip sweet-nothings whispered across parapets of terraces by Has-been Boudis.

The visible metropolitan sexual liberations that I have witnessed in Bangalore and Delhi, fade in comparison. To the vernacular ones of Kolkata middle-classes. The politically cock/vagina-sure sexualities of Pecos and Four S, Strawberry Fields and GIR, CP and MG Road, Lodhi Gardens and Cubbon Park are empowering no doubt. But not half as mischief-making, not half as mysterious. The merrymaking too voluble to be seductive. The mischiefs too theorised. One will call me a jingo here, but I would pick a demure Boudi over an LSR liberate anyday. A despondent Jhontuda over a glib libertine.