Of Beards and Vultures
My good friend, John* (all names are pseudonyms) wished to relive his halcyon days by returning to Voodoo on gay night last night. His sister Clara and her boyfriend have been wanting to visit a gay bar for the longest time, and finally succeeded in rounding up the gays (a harder job than it sounds-ever tried herding your gay friends into a car after a gb party while they're trying to collect phone numbers?: 'Yes darling, I'll see you Thursday week, no darling, you're fabulous, Hunnnnnnyyyyy-where have you been these last few millenia? And that hair! it's simply awful!), and getting us to town.
In spite of efforts that would make any sheepdog proud, we had to make a diversion - to Theo Brohma's - anyone knows that a gay man has three tragic loves which make his life sooo much more complicated...Ferragamo (or similar) shoes, creamy, mousse-y desserts, and his mother. We walked in, only to encounter tables filled with the 'we're cool enough to have gone to a club on Ganesh Chaturti night, but we're sooo cool that we ended up making our own little party at a coffee shop' crowd. After attempting to eat a cream cheese pastry sans cream cheese, and a fabulous vodka-chocolate-green chilli mousse, I got distracted by a vulture - stuck to a man's face.
Imagine, if you will, a vulture, gyps atratus even, with two, long, tapering, pointed wings, extending from a solid body. Flatten this image, and affix it to the chin of a man, with curly hair just on the chin, with two wings extending,and tapering to a precise point just below the ears, in a precise triangle, like the wings of a Boeing 777. Facial hirsuteness in India never fails to edify, entertain, and emotionally distress. The hair, in short, disagreed with the vodka chilli mousse, and I had to get myself home.
The image of the beard (if you can call it that) kept appending itself, in my imagination, to the faces of every man, and several women (who seemed, as a point of interest, to have faces more suited to that shape) that I saw. Jumping into one of the last trains, and grabbing a window seat I found myself sitting opposite someone chewing paan (or supari-I'm not sure which). I watched in horrified fascination as he carefully avoided his imaginary beard (or my imaginary beard on him) and spat out the red contents of his mouth from two feet away, through window bars 3 inches away from one another. The US just needs to replace their soldiers in Iraq with a few ranks of these spitting stalwarts - no rebel born of a woman could withstand what could easily qualify as a highly hazardous biological weapon, shot with unerring aim. He and I happened to get out at the same station, and, licking residual gun powder from his lips, like a true gentleman, he introduced himself as Peter Roberts. About to politely inquire into his relationship with John Roberts, I decided to refrain. Marrying as he did at the senile age of 41, bringing up the name of the Chief Justice could not but bring shame to an honorable family, who had all their other sons at least, married at half that age, to girls half their age.
I returned home, called Clara, who confirmed that her boyfriend had had an 'interesting' time in the bar: the clever boy, who had his girlfriend keep herself covered from view in the men's compartment of the train when surrounded by the rest of us, had cleverly worn a tight, stretchable, black T-shirt to a bar filled with people who - lets just charitably say, would make my spitting soldier look like Mr. Big (with a vulture shaped beard). He stood, ass to wall, the entire night.