So you thought I spent all my time writing profound things about books and films that no one has ever heard of? But this is far from the truth. Here are examples of sentences I've written recently, which, for one reason or another were expurgated from the stories they were meant to be in (and in at least one case, caused a minor strain in my relationship with an editor).
– Today, Rishikesh (Hair of Sage) seems somewhat bemused by its own status as the Yoga Capital of the world. "Maybe it's because of our deep spirituality," says Guru Rudra, reaching for a packet of Krackjacks.
– Sitting alone and contemplatively in the mud pit that is the "VVIP Enclosure" of the Great Bombay Circus tent, I watch with mounting terror as the elephant kicks the football straight at my head.
– Giggling, the nubile swami ventures, "Was it because of the Beatles, you think?"
– It’s 6.30 AM, I’ve been on this railway platform for two-and-a-half hours now listening to that cussed “Ooh Aah India” song and watching 20-year-old journos and PR people jiggle and sing along, and the last vestiges of patriotism have been successfully drained from my being, along with all desire to witness the continuation of my species.
– "I wish to make a film about Yoga in Rishikesh," implores the young African, "I will sell the rights to American TV, or put it up on the Internet." "We don't believe in commercialisation," retorts the ashram secretary, wagging his finger from side to side, "We won't allow your foul cameras into our inner chambers, begone!"
– The dogs are expected to walk in a 360-degree arc around the outer ring with their forelegs placed at a small height and their hind legs dragging along the floor; unfortunately, not all of them know this.
– "Main aap se sirf Hindi mein baat karoonga," says the muscular, Adonis-like Russian juggler, folding his hands in greeting, even as the parrots flap their wings and shriek. "Aur yeh hai meri dharmpatni, Svetlana."
– "In my resignation letter," continues the Yoga Niketan secretary, grinning evilly at the distressed student, "I wrote: I am leaving Delhi to come here, mingle with saints and merge my soul in good mother Ganga."
– No one, not even the Outlook photographer, is going to persuade me to enter an akhada that doesn't have Monica Bellucci in it.
– After working for three years with Hindustan Aeronautics, he had an unexpected spiritual experience, wherein he travelled for more than 70 hours through an astral realm. "When I returned to my physical body, I found it was extremely stiff," he tells me. "I could barely move for the next couple of days, much less do any work. The factory head was very annoyed."
– Then Abrol, a large, genial man in baggy shorts, walks up to the mound and laughs a powerful, echoing laugh that seems to rise up from the very belly of the earth. Deer Park reverberates with this call to arms and a multitude of Laughter Clubbers emerge from the shrubbery, staggering towards us like zombies in a Romero film.
[Note to all wannabe journalists: when you've been working on a story for days and find yourself getting bored, just pile on as many adverbs, adjectives and analogies as you can. This won’t make you a good writer but it will help you discard your self-worth and perhaps even become a better person.]
P.S. Yes, all of the above did happen.