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Thou shalt not...

I realise that being a gender columnist is more a disadvantage than I had imagined, says Lalita Iyer.

entertainment Updated: Aug 17, 2010 13:47 IST
Lalita Iyer
Lalita Iyer
Hindustan Times

I realise that being a gender columnist is more a disadvantage than I had imagined. Unlike, say, writing about B or C grade celebrities (who are always eager to tell you what their favourite fashion accessory is or where they went for free booze on Independence day, or how busy they are not working), in my case, good material is not easy to come by and certainly not consistent.

The following has been happening far too often for me to ignore. It’s one of those weekends. There’s a bunch of friends — men and women — some married, some involved, some single, some of no specific relationship status. The alcohol is flowing, the music catalytic, the food capable of opening all your sensory pores and loosening your tongue. And then, something wise/ witty/ wicked is about to be said. Suddenly, the said person turns to look at me. “Oh, please don’t write about this.” Woe upon me!

Earlier it was aunts who said, “Aiyyo Ramachandra, we better be careful. She might write about this.” One uncle recently told me, “I don’t understand your column these days. Please write only about your mother or your cats; that I like.” Or it was the mother’s voice, rather ominous, “Why did you have to write THAT? Now all my friends will know...” Or it was the husband waking up on Tuesday morning with, “Am I going to get busted today?”

The fact that there are enough people out there who don’t know who I am or what I do helps. And thank God for them, else I would have never made it this far (this column will soon hit a double century).

Consider the odds. The husband has been bashed more than he can recover from, the brother is too far away from my radar, the father hasn’t been up to much lately, the son hasn’t really grown into his manhood, and male friends are always measured. Cat (female) is too alpha male and cat (male) is expectedly and consistently, a bumbling idiot. Where does that leave me?

Since we are now married with child, it so turns out that our repertoire of single friends is rapidly diminishing as they have probably found the first exit and run off. So we end up mostly with married (sometimes with child) couples and inevitably, marriage or husbands are always discussed.

But, in total breach of trust, I must share a great line a friend recently spewed at one of those orgasmic lunches (sorry, it was too good not to be reproduced). We were trying to define marriage and I said, “Marriage is about making lists of things that the other person (always the husband) is supposed to do but hasn’t.”

And she said, “Marriage is like joining the Amazing Race with one hand and one leg tied up.” Now, someone please better that. Or give me a subject.

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First Published: Aug 17, 2010 13:45 IST