Thursday, May 05, 2005

Samit Basu picked up a used toothpick!!... a Penguin launch last evening, which goes to show that precocious young writers are not as omniscient as we think. They create entire fictional universes in their heads but they don’t always realise that in the real world toothpicks mustn’t be lifted off ashtrays. Yesterday Samit and I were annoying Penguin CEO Thomas Abraham with Sandman talk when a tray-bearing waiter passed within grabbing distance. So what does our young duck of destiny do? He reaches for the nearest toothpick whereupon the waiter screams, "No sirrr! That’s dirty!" Samit straightens himself, puts on his most dignified expression and slurs, "I see. Now that wouldn’t have been a good idea, would it?" (Did I mention he was already quite high before coming to the launch?) And then, after airlifting the snack item in a more conventional fashion, he discovers it’s a vegetarian thingabob. Bad night for our young scribe.

The waiter sauntered off, probably wondering if there was any mention of common sense in all the thick books these lit-types loudly read out to each other at such events. The whole episode reminded me for some reason of the story about Aristotle falling into the gutter and the old lady who helped him out rolling her eyes, saying "Here is a man who would study the stars but sees not what lies at his feet" (they talked funny back then). Of course, the analogy does no justice to either Aristotle or the waiter.

Not much else to say about the event, except to mention the senior promotions lady who wagged her finger at me sternly and said, "First you promise you won’t blog, then you blog even more prodigiously. What is all this?" To her I dedicate this post.


  1. what slander!
    i was neither slurring nor high. i hadnt even finished my first alcoholic beverage of the day, for gods sake. and yes, i did pick a toothpick out of the outbox, so to speak, and that can be attributed to two things. one, i have become absentminded (possible side-effect of parkinsons) and two, i havent come to a launch in a long long time, and so am not as instantly uptodate on toothpick protocol as eternal book-event background-scavengers such as yourself. and i do MUCH more exciting things when im slurring and high.
    i condemn you to sharing a phone booth in the middle of a desert with vegetarian fried food and your favourite writer, sid shanghvi, for seven years

    agh! and THIS is all you fidnd to write about from the launch? what about the SINGING! the SINGING, I ask you!!!

    i demand another blog post about the singing.

  2. and before you point it out, i meant libel.

  3. What, you're STILL high? It's 10 in the morning, dude! Get a job.

    The singing is your territory, I've left that for you to blog about. But if we're still on blogging terms when The Manticore's Secret comes out, I promise I'll sing in Yiddish at your book launch. God swear.

  4. How I love and miss you guys!! How long it's been since i saw the dear duckie drunk (wow, that's rather poetic) at a book launch!!! sob sob!