Sorry about the pics being agdum-bugdum. Am still in a trance after meeting Steven Spielberg last night!
I particularly like the way my books were displayed at the Lit Fest. And as you can tell from my beaming smiles in all the pictures, I had a super fabulous time in Dubai. I am seriously considering wearing the head gear more often. Your verdict???
This appeared in Mumbai Mirror...
“ I don’t believe in ladies’ first,” declared the young man clad in a too-tight shirt as he tried to snatch the bill out of the hands of a young woman wearing a too tight skirt. Obviously,both were in a tight spot. But the person in the tightest spot was the poor server who clearly didn’t want to take sides. So, he shrugged and waited for the attractive and affluent couple to slug it out for the cheque. Both were flashing impressive credit cards as they jumped up and down, she on her high heels, he on his ( yes, men do wear high heels a lot these days). Other diners in Mumbai’s toniest restaurant ( hint: the same one which witnessed an ‘exchange’ between a Nawab and a pleb not so long ago), watched this little drama with much amusement. Soon this couple was joined by another couple. They were also wearing tight garments and flashing credit cards ( Platinum? Black? Gold? Diamond studded?). It now looked like all of them wanted to pay the bill. The ladies in particular, were getting pretty agro about it. I wanted to butt in and suggest they pay for everybody in the restaurant while they were at it. But my husband kicked me under the table. The server was totally forgotten by now. And the four of them attacked the cashier minding his own business and staring fixedly at the computer. A loud and spirited conversation ensued. It had to do vaguely with women’s rights and how these chicks could afford to foot their own bills, and how the men were behaving like old fashioned uncles by offering to get the tab. The poor men were beginning to cut tragic figures as they shuffled their feet ( the heels made it a little difficult), and shrugged a lot ( the tight shirts didn’t help). Finally, the women won. And the two fellows slunk back to their table to order another drink. This one, they declared, was definitely on them. The girls exchanged high fives, winked and asked for a bottle of champagne.
So, who do you think won this round?
This ‘aunty’ (me!) was with her ‘uncle’, and inevitably we started discussing ‘our times’. There was never a debate on this issue – the men paid. Period. And that did not necessarily mean it was a ‘date’. Or that the women were expected to sleep with them in return. Women took men out on special occasions like birthdays. And it was understood it would be her treat. How? She told him so. Zero embarrassment. No fake nakhra. If both were kadka, there was always Bade Miya’s. It was okay to scrounge around for that crumpled tenner and add it to the kitty. But if the guy had a few bucks on him, he got the ice cream and pop corn at the movies. And the girl booked the tickets with her pocket money. There were rarely any ego issues to deal with. When the relationship progressed to the next level and they became boyfriend-girlfriend officially, all dates happened via consensus. The person who had the money that particular night, picked up the tab. And nobody kept hisaab-kitaab. Of course, all that has changed. And it is almost mandatory for women to arm wrestle the bill out of the server’s leather folder and make a number out of settling at least ‘her share’. I have watched couples checking phone calculators and splitting the total to the last loose change. This is really most inelegant. Bringing money into romance is the surest way to kill it . If after a lovely, relaxed evening under a moonlight sky, the guy turns to the woman and comments, “ Drinks are really, really expensive these days…. Guess how much I just paid?” that’s the end! Phut! Goes the mood. Khatam! says the woman mentally as she tries not to feel too guilty about the kharcha-paani. So… what’s the solution? I’d say the old fashioned way ( man pays) works far better on a first date. Woman offers to handle the tricky moment on the second ( he declines, even if he is stretching himself). Third time round, the woman insists ( he doesn’t resist).After that, you talk about it in a casual way and arrive at an arrangement that works for the two of you. Keep it civilized, polite and transparent, guys. It’s only money!