Saturday, July 4, 2009

Paul the Bar Tender

I love Agony Uncle Bar Tenders. And on my recent cruise, I was lucky to bond with one such person. Paul was a larger than life Jamaican who'd been working the cruise ship circuit for 12 long years.Startlingly white teeth and a belly laugh made him a genial Father Confessor to countless lost souls nursing that last drink at 2 a.m before lurching off to their staterooms and calling it a night over choppy, alien waters - inviting by day, menacing at night.
My friend Judith and I discovered Paul just before the Cosmopolitan Club Bar on Deck 14 closed on the second night of our much anticipated cruise. We were sailing off the coast of Mallorca, and feeling really depressed about Michael Jackson's death. There was no getting away from MJ. His images were on every channel as tributes poured in from across the globe. We ordered a glass each of Pinot and cried into it . Paul who had been watching us with some amusement ( was our mascara running??) asked chattily what the matter was. Judith said, " We are feeling really, really sad that Michael Jackson is dead." Paul continued to polish a Cognac snifter as he replied philosophically, " Oh.... but he died a long, long time ago. A man who does not know who he is.... is dead already." We were stunned by his reaction and gulped down the vino very quickly. It was such an astute observation. Impressed by Paul's sagacity, we felt encouraged enough to discuss more personal matters. We both had young daughters giving us a hard time ( boy friend issues). After listening to us patiently, Paul asked, " Do you have a dog?" I joked, " I have something better - a gun." Paul shook his head, " That's no good, ma'am. A gun sleeps when you sleep. But a dog continues to work." By this time Judith and I had become Paul's bhakts - loyal devotees. "Oh Master.... tell us more," we begged. Paul strategised like a true professional. How the hell did this man know so much about life?? He smiled, "My mother gave birth to eleven kids I grew up in a tough and poor neighbourhood. I've seen it all... drugs, murders, robbing, drunks..."
We were his slaves by then. But the bar had to close. And we had to get back to those naughty daughters. They were sleeping like angels when we lurched into the cabin. One of them had the nerve to open an eye and demand cheekily, " Oooh.... seen the time?? So where were you ladies? Painting the town red?" I had neither the gun nor the dog to defend me. I sheepishly went to bed. Paul's laughter echoed in my ears. I want to start a fan club for him. Or at least name a cocktail in his honour. Jamaican rum with nariel paani. It's my way of saying, 'Thank you,' to an absolute gentleman who didn't move a muscle as two , slightly tipsy women poured out their silly little tales of teenage horror stories to him.Bless you, Paul!

19 comments:

Zlaek said...

The most profound men and women are doing usually doing simple things around us.
It's a really good thing that you share this with us.

The abstract scientist said...

Hello mam,
Why didn't you ask him to write a blog?

Roshni said...

You are amazing with words ......I just love your style of writing.....carefully chosen thoughts .....wonderful observation skills ....I can go on.....I fully agree with you ...this bar tender seems a wise man

ZiLliOnBiG said...

yes paul is such an interesting character.Thanks for sharing this. We are all your bhakts.:))

numerounity said...

They are burying mikael jackson on 7th july...death ko bhi commercialize kar diya... Ppl make money out of anything...anything like death as well...

Identity crisis or support crisis...who knows what...

Good job with paul!!!

cmpershad said...

"A man who does not know who he is.... is dead already." Yes, t's like that picture's saying-KUTTA BHATAK RAHA THA DUM KI TALASH MEIN:)

curtainz_fire said...

u got a sharp eye to observe such things and kinda idiosyncrasy makes u an outta box writer. i salute u for the rhythm with which you go on writing and this words ooze out before my eyes compiling in a live picture.

Rohaan said...

Hey You have a way with words. I m sorry I know you have heard this over and over again but couldn't help telling you again. I couldn't fix myself to the content was more glued to ur writing style. Hope you keep writing n I keep reading!!

Jogeshwar said...

'A gun sleeps when you sleep. But a dog continues to work.' I like this it's an amusing and a witty reply, I wonder where did this come from?

AaaDee said...

cool Paul..even m impressed :)

kala said...

Paul is an intellectual masquerading as a common man. He seems to be wordly wise. Gun sleeps. Beautiful and thought provoking. Thomas Hardy must be chuckling now, cynically.

The Panorama said...

Love this post...and Paul the Bar tender. They are the real gurus people should listen to:)

readersdais said...

Hats off to Paul & you for sharing it with us.

Gajendra said...

He should write for a magazine probably... :)

Sidhusaaheb said...

He had little choice, didn't he? Since he had no place to run or hide, he might as well listen and add his two cents worth of wisdom.

:D

anamika said...

Wow!! Paul and his life analysis really can make any one contemplate..
Also your teenage daughter:D

krish said...

highly impressed.........profound...........dig in sum more and pzpzpz impart more abt Sir Paul.....cheers to him.....luv the rum and naryal pani combo.....cheers....

luv

kris

Nandinikakoti said...

Paul should impart his acumen as the world is in need of sensibilities.
Admire your style

Abhijit Dharmadhikari said...

शब्दब्रह्मानंदी टाळी लागते तुमचं लेखन वाचून! :-)