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Speaking for abstinence

There's something in the damp chill of UK that would help Berlusconi stick to vow, writes Saumya Balsari.

india Updated: Mar 04, 2006 18:51 IST

"You never told me you know Silvio Berlusconi," said uncleji suspiciously, folding away his newspaper.

"The Italian Prime Minster? I don't." replied auntyji.

"He's obviously been getting tips from you, how else would he have got this idea in the first place?"

"What are you talking about?" asked auntyji impatiently, an eye on the dishes in the sink.

Uncleji unfolded his newspaper and read aloud: Silvio Berlusconi promises not to have sex before the April 9 general election.

"And what's that got to do with me?" bristled auntyji.

"Abstinence," said uncleji boldly. It was a subject close to his heart.

"How old is he?" asked aunytji.

"Sixty-nine."

"Well, in that case, why refrain only until the April 9 election? He's as old as you are."

"What's that got to do with me?" asked uncleji, agitated. This was getting close and personal.

"It means that he wouldn't and shouldn't be interested in such matters in the first place," concluded auntyji firmly.

Uncleji ignored the jibe. "He's had a hair transplant and face lift, and apparently looks younger now than in 2001," he said wistfully. "It will be difficult to exercise restraint for two months," he added. "Oscar Wilde once said he could resist everything except temptation."

Auntyji put on her reading glasses and grabbed the newspaper. "Oh, he makes a pledge and then says he will try not to let people down," she said dismissively. "That's not the same thing at all. Anyway, how is Berlusconi going to endure these coming days?"

"I think he should head for Britain. We have one thing the Italians don't - the right weather. When the damp chills bones, it chills the flesh too," said uncleji.

His face brightened. He would write to Tony Blair with an idea. The country's draughty castles, motorways and out door picnic areas could be put to good use.

Charter flights for abstinence tours, anyone?

(Saumya Balsari is the author of the comic novel 'The Cambridge Curry Club', and wrote a play for Kali Theatre Company's Futures last year. She has worked as a freelance journalist in London, and is currently writing a second novel.)

First Published: Feb 04, 2006 20:35 IST