Friday, May 4

Falstaff and the Red-Choli Waali

Disclaimer: Any resemblance to any living people (even bloggers, who can loosely be termed people, after all) will be consistently and furiously denied. And also vehemently.

Once upon a time, in the faraway land of the Blogger Barons, there lived a particularly intrepid Baron called Falstaff. Baron Falstaff was one of the most interesting Barons of the land because noone knew *anything* about him. Ladies would stand outside the gates of his property whispering to themselves, wondering who he was, what he did shut up in that grey, towering mansion and why it always felt like rain within its walls.

As Ms. Austen astutely observed, a single man in possession of an aura of mystery and superhuman intelligence must be in want of some solitude. At least if she had been present in that land, she would have astutely observed that. And as the author of this tale has observed often and often, anyone who wants solitude or privacy is just asking for public interest in his affairs.

Now the Blogger Baron Falstaff lived in a land of The Curious. Everyone knew everyone else and this whole not knowing bijness was driving all the leddies crazy. Vying with each other they tried to get his attention. They threw clever quips at him as he read by, they dropped Shostakovich's, Dostoyvesky's and leading observations on controversial topics like whether sestinas in iambic pentameter were more sophisticated than haikus in blank verse and so forth in his path. While Baron Falstaff had been brought up very well and was never obviously rude to any of these fine leddies, he committed the fatal sin of refusing to dance with them. This, of course (in the tradition of all good stories) annoyed one partickler leddy in this illustrious land, called the Red-Choli Waali (the leddy that is was called Red Choli Waali, not the land). She was the heir to one of the other big-shot Blogger Barons of the land, called Baron JAP.

Baron JAP being a doting father and Red Choli Waali being the apple of his eye (JAP's eye), he would stop at nothing to make Baron Falstaff dance with his daughter. So, though himself an illustrious holder of many lands, overlording many serfs, still he professed great admiration for Baron Falstaff, he haunted his mansion, sent him invitations to all the parties at his own mansion, offered him the prime cuts from his table, the usual machinations of a scheming, fond father. Baron Falstaff, while luxuriating in all this attention and admiration did not bend from his stance of not dancing with the leddy. One rule for all the leddies, basically was what he was thinking. And being a very logical nobleman, the sort who doesn't like things being out of place or irregular (some might call it OCD, and the rest of us can only stand back and applaud their perspicacity), he wasn't even close to agreeing to dance with Red Choli Waali. In fact, it can even be argued that he didn't suspect the dastardly plan of Baron JAP, lost as he was in abstractions of obscure Iranian poets.

So, where were we? Haan, yes so Baron JAP finally decided to take things in his own hands, tired of waiting around. So he twirled his moustache (he had a beautifully luxuriant moustache that was his one vanity -always excepting Red Choli Waali that is-which he oiled everyday and dyed a magnificent red, because red is the theme of this story and I know it's kind of harsh to give him a red moustache but he's in *my* story so he'll just have to lump it), wore his favourite red lungi and clasping his beloved daughter by her arm, dragged her to Baron Falstaff's mansion.

Now, you might have noticed that other than being mildly annoyed at refusals to dance with her, Red Choli Waali is a pretty pathetic female, allowing herself to be all slighted and dragged around and suchlike, but such is life and this story, being a real life story, has pledged to be true to itself.

So sadly, we have Baron JAP dragging Red Choli Waali down the dusty road (was very dusty, no monsoon rains yet, everyone looking to the skies every day that sort of thing) and on reaching the doors of Baron F's mansion, he yelled "Oye Falstaff, ki khobor?". Baron F, rudely awakened from his perusal of Hatef's immortal line, "All things difficult to reason become easy when with full goblets of wine you are dizzy", had only time to yell back "Aami bhaalo, aapnar daya", before Baron JAP had charged into his mansion with RCW in tow, now looking worried and a little ill at ease (and who can blame her? quite the awkward social situation). Baron JAP looking wildeyed but still jauntily twirling his moustache stood a little defiantly in front of Baron F (now that he had rushed in, he was unsure of how exactly to start proceedings, it's a tough business this). Baron F, a little regretful over the lost Hatef still managed to be politely rude and refused to make this easy (and indeed why should he?). Turning glacial by degrees he eyed askance at Baron JAP.

Meanwhile a little to the back and the left, RCW stood with heaving bosom, doe-eyes moving from JAP to F and back to JAP again, wringing her dupatta (also red) and panting (a tad too loudly for the occasion which outta have been more like a silently charged man to man confrontation type thing, but what with JAP feeling a little foolish and F being totally bewildered besides just not being *into* these testosterone based activities it was turning out to be a little bit of a failure). JAP who felt somewhat obligated to make the first move at this point (having stormed the castle and all) cleared his throat and thundered, "Baron Falstaff" or at least tried to thunder. But being a naturally timid man and also because of the sheer frightfully glacial appearance of Baron F, he got out only "Ba-" before he fainted dead away (quite gracefully considering his age and weight).

RCW was most taken aback by this turn of events and wrung her dupatta harder, looking wildeyed in her turn and calling to Mother Earth to come and help her (in her head only and not out loud cos y'know she felt a little silly actually saying the words). Baron F, however being a singularly unflappable kinda guy (and also having faced this sort of situation before) calmly (but with a wrench of regret) poured the rest of the wine in his glass on JAPs face (in an attempt to revive him of course and purely because there was no water in sight) but to no avail. A little worried (cos he didn't want the cops coming into his house now), Baron F knelt down by JAP and was most relieved to see his eyelids fluttering. JAP stretched out a scrawny hand and yanking the surprised Baron F closer to him whispered words in a failing breath.

"Please just dance with my daughter, the apple of her mother's eye, once, dear Falstaff. This is a dying man's wish", he gasped out, "and also pass me some more wine, I tasted some of it and it was pretty good, which year?". Baron F, while a little flummoxed by all these requests did what any card carrying member of the Land of the Curious would have done, he knew better than to dishonor a dying man's last wish. It was not to be thought of. He was a Man of Honour. So handing Baron JAP (still sprawling but gracefully on the floor) a glass of wine, he clapped his hands. Twice. The sound of a record settling into a gramaphone could be heard loudly in the silence in the room (spoilt only by JAP slurping wine and RCW still panting a little more heavily than was ideal). Through the golden tube of the gramaphone came the sweet, unmistakable starting chords of the song. RCW waited anxiously, still wringing, wondering what was happening as slowly through the room echoed the words, "O Laal Dupatte Waali.."

Suddenly feeling calm, muchly cheered up by the good taste displayed by Baron F, RCW dropped her dupatta and entered into the spirit of things. JAP feeling much better now, leaned back on a convenient diwan to watch the show and for the first time that year, fat raindrops fell from the laden skies on the dry dust. Plop plop.



Brown Magic said...

taaliyan (there would be seetis too, if I knew how.

km said...

BM: Just taaliyan and seetis won't do. You gotta quote a 12th century Austrian poet and shout out a whimsical 55-word fictional piece, preferably in iambic pentameter.

Barons JAP and Falstaff, the peepuls loves ya.

Tabula Rasa said...

super trip-taking! hurrah! hurrah!

Revealed said...

@bm: Ty, ty, I couldn't have done it without you. Rem'ber the promise though, missy.

@km: And also the oaks, the gul mohars and the casuarina.

@tr: *takes a bow and then another and another until she's ushered off the stage by the stern stagekeeper*

Cloudy said...

Aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh! *screams in mock agony* Oh that Bharat chap finally got his rain dance, didn't he? (where is he btw?)

Cloudy said...

And oooooohhh love that you made Baron F "look askance" :)))))

Revealed said...

@Cloudy: Haha. Forgot about Bharat and his rain dance obsession. Haven't seen him around in a bit.

(I figured you'd appreciate the askance bit. Plum Anon, here we come :)

Falstaff said...

I suppose this is my cue to say "she is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me".

Actually, I don't think the Baron would have danced with the damsel in question. I think he would have found "some way indescribably light and deft, some way that we could both understand, as simple and as faithless as a smile or a shake of the hand." (after all, this is Prufrock we're talking about) At any rate, he would have picked a song more apt than Laal Dupatte Waali. Perhaps Sinatra singing "I won't dance, don't ask me?"

Szerelem said...

Muahahaz! "Lal Dupatte Wali"...heh..that song always cracks me up....and please "I won't dance, dont ask me?" just does not have the same effect does it?

Also, I was at some point considering doing you tag but 100+ questions is just ridiculous! So I am not doing it :P I'll do the next one....

Sunshine said...

Anyone who wants solitude or privacy is just asking for public interest in his affairs - How true!!

And no, don't be unfair - I'll stick to 8. Pls, pls?

Anonymous said...

Which year was the wine by the way?
I might try that last wish trick someday - even if it kills me! ;)
Oh and as long as I'm having the year, can I also have the 'Lal dupatte waali..' CD!:D

wiseling said...


Anonymous said...

And Ms. Austen's address to go with the year and the CD.

And NO! I'm not getting carried away (in case you're thinking it) :p

Revealed said...

@falstaff: Darcy impersonations are always welcome here, but Eliot we fear is not appropos for this post. Nuh-uh. And Sinatra???!!! Jeeezzz! Not in a million would Baron F stoop to *that*.

@szerelem: That is purrr-fectly fine :). Hence the OTing :D.

@SS: OK OK eight it shall be :)

@anony: Tsk! I don't provide such details. Only the story.

@wiseling: I know *that* feeling.