‘Come on, Let us continue our story’ Lulu urged.
‘Why that smirk, Lulu?’ I asked.
‘I was smiling, I remembered your childhood. You would do three questions out of ten in your homework and run away for a break. You haven’t changed much!’ Lulu, the parrot, said flipping his wings.
‘Well, nobody changes radically. Besides, Lulu, this exercise is all about disclosure. You are indulging in exposure! Disclosure is when I tell it all, exposure is when you tell it all about me.
‘Let us get back, talk about ‘Four food/ drinks I have liked’…..
‘That’s a difficult one. The real answer is ‘Whatever is in front of me’. Let us change is a bit. Let us talk about four memorable events of having food or drink.’ I aid. ‘The first one is the lunch after my marriage with Sulabha. She was looking very beautiful in her turquoise saree. I fed her Shrikhand [a favourite Maharashtrian sweet]’ I continued.
‘Yes I remember, and what a choice!’ Lulu laughed, ‘She never liked Shrikhand. She still talks about it.’
‘But I did not know it then, leant later’ I protested. ‘Let us move back a few months in time. On the evening of my engagement with Sulabha, my father asked me to take out Chivas Regal from his cupboard. He poured a drink for me and said, ‘Son, I know you drink; now it is official!’
‘Your father was a man ahead of his times. Talking of drinks you must tell us when you tested it first, for such occasions are always memorable.’
‘You said it, Lulu. As a student I used to stay in hostel. A friend once took me to an illicit liquor bar, those were the ‘prohibition’ days of 1971. The bar was run by a Goan, I think his name was Hublikar. I said that I will not drink but will have only a soda. My friend quietly ordered two Fenis! So there I was with a Feni in my hand!!’
‘Well, Feni has such a strong aroma, don’t you tell me that you did not realise what was served’ Lulu said.
‘I did! That is why I drank it!!’ I said laughing. ‘But my conscience was clear, I was cheated’.
‘I remember the party you hosted on your 25th wedding anniversary’. Lulu, the parrot, said rubbing himself against my neck. ‘It was a very memorable one’.
‘Oh yes, how can I forget it? I had bought a turquoise saree for Sulabha and she was looking gorgeous that evening. My friends opened a champagne bottle. The cold winter breeze and gathering on the lawns was the right combination.’
‘You did not serve any non-vegetarian food telling all guests that you would not celebrate anything by taking away somebody’s life! You really know how to extract appreciative words from others.’ Lulu taunted me.
But I ignored the provocation. ‘Ok, let us now talk about Four Books and Movies that I could read and watch again…Two names come to my mind immediately. I thought that Fritjof Capra’s The Tao of Physics would make a very difficult reading, but it wasn’t so. It was interesting to see how physicists and philosophers talk the same language when they talk about deeper questions of their subjects. Both talk almost in riddles like a Zen Guru. Words are indeed the poorest communicators of message.’
‘That was an appropriate quote, but it is a good etiquette to cite the author.’ Lulu would not stop his nudges. ‘I have seen you reading Mysteries by Colin Wilson. How did you move from physics and philosophy to the occult?’
‘Yes I am interested in it. Moreover, I enjoy Colin Wilson’s writing. He is so insightful about human nature. His book ‘The Criminal History of Mankind’ is another favourite. Returning to physicists, Richard Feynman’s ‘Surely you are joking, Mr. Feynman’ is a book I have enjoyed reading again and again.
‘And what about films?’
‘I rarely watch a film.’ I said, ‘At the beginning of my career I used to screen films of National Film Board of Canada which were made with Canada’s Psychiatric Association for training. ‘The feeling of hostility’ ‘Shyness’ are some names I can recall. This was done along with the Indian Institute of Mental Hygiene personnel.’
‘What’s so special about them?’
‘I learnt so much about interpersonal relationships and about people development from those films. That learning was very useful at work and in meeting some challenges in my personal life too.’ I said.
‘God prepares us, in his inimitable way, to face many challenges that life later poses’ Lulu agreed.
‘You said it, Lulu’
‘Would you not like to talk about the first film you took “her” to watch?’ Lulu said with a mischievous tone.
‘OH, SHUT UP’