Saturday, April 30, 2011

A day well spent

Armed with my April paycheck I headed for my favorite bookstore, which sells more DVDs and chocolates than books. The feeling on arrival was a usual mix of excitement, confusion and disappointment. Excitement at the sheer variety of stuff that can be bought (potentially), confusion over what mix of stuff to spend your hard earned money on and disappointment that prices have not fallen by 80%. As I navigated through the store I noticed a new section named ‘Kamasutra’. Hungrily I made progress towards it when questions popped up in my mind. Do I want to be seen in this section? What if my boss sees me here? Why is no one to be found in this section? I scanned the bookstore for potential threats, trying hard not to appear like a shoplifter in the CCTV. Having ensured that the coast is clear, in a flash I took a U turn at the shelf on my left to enter this erotic section, only to be greeted by an over eager staff member wearing a ‘May I help you' cap.

‘May I help you Sir?’
‘Sure. I am looking for a book titled ‘7 ways to satisfy your woman’

No I didn’t actually say that. Imagine admitting to a stranger that you are lacking in that department. Never. I politely told him to search for a book titled ‘365 positions of love making – Spice up your daily sex life’. Confident that such a book did not exist, I dispatched him from my vicinity and proceeded to conduct a quick inspection of the deal available here. My attention was snared by a gigantic coffee table book bearing a done to death Khajuraho photograph on the cover.

‘Sex in ancient India’, the title screamed. I wondered what sort of place would keep this book. With two hands and some effort I opened the cover to find a note by the editor.

‘India is the land of sex. Blah blah blah. Ancient Romans learnt about orgies from Indians. Blah blah blah. The spice trade was spicy in many other ways. Blah blah blah. Lets usher in a sexual revolution. Blah blah blah. Indians are the sexiest people on earth. Period.

Despite the new found confidence in my sexual abilities as an Indian, I decided not to proceed with the remaining pages as I noticed an angry looking middle aged lady heading towards me.

‘Do you have the original Kamasutra?’ said the middle aged lady, still looking angry.
‘Er ma’am, actually you should check with the staff over there’, I gestured with a horizontal thumb towards the poor bloke who was still trying to complete the mission I had sent him on.
‘Oh Sorry’, she said with her expression of anger changing to that of embarrassment.

‘Hmm. The Original Kamasutra’, I said to myself. When you have an entire section called Kamasutra, patrons are bound to come up with such questions. I moved on. Most of the books were written or edited by people with names that were anything but Indian. Some had photographs of white men with Indian looking women in various stages of love making. The effects of the inspirational editorial in the gigantic coffee table book were beginning to wear off. The non Indian man had caught up fast. I felt defeated and moved on the neighboring section where I would feel more in control. Comics. En route to this less threatening section, I bumped into the over eager helper who was now looking triumphant.

‘Sir. I found this book’

(Hmm. Close enough. Maybe they accounted for Sundays and Public holidays)

‘Why don’t they just sell the DVD instead?’ I asked.
‘Excuse me Sir?’
‘Well, this is pretty close to what I was looking for. Why don’t you keep it on that shelf over there and I will grab it when I am done with other stuff’

The comics section was adjacent and devoid of children who were to be found mainly in the video games section. The usual stuff. Batman and other assorted American superheroes who didn’t interest me. Tintin and Asterix which I had read 10 times over. I was happy to see the book store had finally acknowledged that Calvin and Hobbes and Dilbert are not children’s comics. They now commanded a separate shelf. I made my first purchase of the day. Calvin and Hobbes Anniversary Book.

I turned right to enter the Yoga section. There were more photos of Shilpa Shetty and Bipasha Basu here than in Times of India. Baba Ramdev had been consigned to the bottom shelf. Power Yoga. Yoga in 10 minutes. Tantric Yoga. Self Realization through Yoga. Yoga – A Synthesis of Psychology and Metaphysics. Yoga for a better sex life. The Yoga section blended into the spirituality section which seemed to be getting bigger in every visit. I generally avoid this section as it emits a certain radiation that jams my thought process.

If there is one section that beats the shit out of Spirituality section in terms of CAGR (Confounding Abnormal Growth Rate), it is ‘Indian Fiction’. Depending on what sort of Indian you are, it can either inspire you to write a book (if that stuff can be published, so can mine) or choose another profession (is there space for one more?). Indians are writing with a vengeance. I randomly scan some back covers. Hmm, a story about a failed marriage. Another one about a small town guy bedding a rich city girl. Office romance. Engineering romance. Dental romance. Neighborhood romance. Romance in public transport. Frustrated MBAs. BPO stories. Another one about a failed marriage.

After completing my ritual walk around the store, I arrived at the section where I enjoy tremendous respect from the staff. The Playstation 3 games. For the humungous amount of written wisdom on sale in this gigantic store, what I really come for is to check out the latest PS3 releases. The staff here know very well that it is men in their thirties such as me who shell out the real cash on these expensive games and not those kiddos who have to promise one full year of doing homework to their parents to land one title. I pick up Resident Evil 5, Little Big Planet 2 and God of War 3. Feeling on top of the world, I finally head to the ‘World Movies’ section where the attractive intellectual type of women are to be found. I have never bought anything here, though I put on an appearance of being extremely interested. I have never observed anyone picking anything either, so maybe they are all trying to act interested and impress me.  On the way to the billing counter I pick up some chocolates and a magazine carrying a cover story on a sex racket. A day well spent!

1 comment:

  1. TOI's net edition can come to your rescue on those 65 days, yes the Sundays & public holidays, with a dedicated section on sex each & every day :p From best positions to best aphrodisiacs they teach you all!!