The Pout!

The plump Indian hostess, much past her middle age, looked surprisingly fresh-faced and sufficiently Englishfied in her all-black… English-designer evening gown. With a drink in each hand, she was herself making the rounds asking her guests to give their glasses to her for a re-fill. This was neither required, nor, necessary, because her guests were moving around in a five star set-up where the waiters shed enough light on their numbers and efficiency. While two waiters dutifully followed her from the bar section to the drawing room, the lady of the house urged, cajoled, presented: the elixir-of-life-in-many-forms like awards to her guests. Her ultimate platform of style was 1) To strike a slanting portrait-pose of a Royal and pout… each time she handed over the glass to the rightful owner. 2) Do a model’s tradesman cross-legs as she strutted back and forth. 3) Between brief intervals, (before she saw an empty glass in anyone’s hand) air-kiss with her left hand and glide her right hand upwards and say, “C-H-E-E-R-S”, slightly jerking the red wine in the goblet she held. She exaggerated the stress on the R of CHEERS with such accomplishment that at that point you began to remember some of your long-lost-long-loved American friends and acquaintances. She looked like somebody who may have also practiced for long hours in front of the mirror “cheering”, the way we see celebrities cheering for the camera.

I must take you back to this lady’s pout. Ah! that notable hunk of a pout! My understanding on the matter of her pout was that in her case, she was not protruding her lips in an expression of any sullen displeasure or discontentment. In a fair sense, the mistress appeared pleased with the outcome of the partying crowd. I think, it was her method of presenting her personality to ‘appear’ younger, sexier even funkier and hot-hot! She frequently exhibited signs of girlishness in her tone, which to my noticeability lurched between luring the men and irritating the women.

As the evening progressed, our topics entered the usual stream’s conversations on the global meltdown, the war regions, property market, opportunities of the present and so on. Our lady could not hide the fact that she was unskilled on these matters. It was evident she lacked the basic depth for the quick-on-the-spot-probes; even closely, she was not interested in what people were exchanging. What was she interested in? I thought; and then, I began complimenting her on the opulent display of paintings on her walls. “Thank you, my husband got them for me. He is so sweet, really. He surprised me with these.” Stunting any scope of discussion on Art as Art, she turned to the group and spoke like a drooling child megastar, “My husband, my sweet husband, surprises me with e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.” As if to enlarge the meaning of her statements, she extended herself by illustrating a lingering pout. With the grace of honesty, I can state that there was no way one could separate the two lovers – the lady and her pout! Her advancement lay in pouting. She produced a pout on the global scene. She produced a pout on Dubai’s achievables. She produced a pout on the forthcoming Indian elections. She produced a pout at the name of Cricket.

That night, as I was leaving, my hostess asked me how I liked living between Mumbai and Dubai. “I like it, I love both the places”, I replied. To that, she remarked, “How can you say that? India is soooh backward! And as for Dubai, not a single intelligent person you can find here!” After that, she shook my hands, gave me two pecks on my cheeks and a come-again hug. I thanked her for the evening, carrying symbols of an entertainer who was: The Mother of all Pouts!


Geeta Chhabra


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