New Delhi, cont'd

continuing from here:


Talking about love...one of the guests at the festival was an actress in Satiyajit Ray's films. She was incredibly lovely then, and she's just as beautiful now, a grandmother of fifty-five.


My programmer friend and I were totally smitten with her. I swear he'd moan in his bed (we were roommates), and once, he invited her to meet in our hotel room. You should have seen us, airing the room, picking lint from everywhere, ordering tea and coffee, hiding all the shirts and underwear we had hanging from every available spot. He had fanned out the books he had bought--an Encyclopedia on Indian Cinema, a screenplay of The Apu Trilogy, and (you wouldn't believe how proud he was of this touch), an illustrated pocketbook edition of the Kama Sutra. "To indicate how sexually progressive I am," he said. I hissed in disgust. I hadn't had time to shop, all I had was a piss-ant book on Indian cinema and an even more pathetic one on Bollywood, plus (which was the only thing I can actually brag about) a collection of short stories by filmmaker Ritwik Gatak.


When she arrived, she looked...incandescent. She sat on the single chairbeside the TV set. They deliberated while I quietly served the coffee and tea (she refused both, to my dismay).


Oh, and she had used our bathroom. The way he described it, we took turns sniffing the chair she sat on and licking the toilet seat she had used. He put the chair in one corner of the room, and would sit on it only on special moments where, as he put it, "an electric charge would shoot straight up my alimentary canal."


Before he left, he gave me a final report--he had asked for her signature, had accidentally touched her behind, and had been able to buss her on her cheek in farewell. It turned out to have been his birthday a few days before; he considered this the best gift he could ever have. I couldn't get an autograph, but I did manage to have someone snap a picture of me beside her. We were pathetic.

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