want to be a columnist", The Wifey announced one day. She's
come back from her long break with a bagful of ideas to work
upon. Like, be less harsh in criticising me, more attentive
to my needs, restrict her dessert portions to just three at
a party, start wearing red lipstick, and so on. And now it also
seems that she is getting too comfortable with Dhaka, hence,
this latest brainwave.
there already are so many in Dhaka," I reasoned. "I
think one half of the readers is the columnist breed, the other
half reads them, if they read them at all, that is".
you don't get it. I am different from them all. Plus, what do
you know about writing?".
like being questioned like this. So I retorted, "I know
enough about those who write. I read all the dailies and magazines
in Dhaka. There is that man who is perpetually politics-beaten,
there's that woman who is obsessed with her husband, there is
yet another man who writes only about women, then there is that
man who writes about some seriously funny stuff, and then there
are so many more. Everything from The US, to Rome, to Noakhali
gets written about. Between them, you see, they cover everything.
There's nothing left for you to write on."
where you fail to understand me dear. I will be a 'high-society
common, you know it. It's what they call the page-3 or socialite-evening
write ups elsewhere. Like a celebrity-watch barometer. It'll
talk about all the lavish parties being thrown around town,
about who all attended it, who danced with whom, who they brought
along when they arrived, and who they finally left with. Also,
what they chose to wear on the occasion, imagine being caught
on camera twice in the same outfit. Oops! Mayhem, mayhem…"
pleasure The Wifey was drawing from just the thought of it was
enough to substantiate her need to tell it to a hundred other
willing pairs of ears. I had to stop her now before she would
get swept away with her new ideas. "Such trivial pursuits…",
but she cut me short and said, "It will be the boldest,
most daring thing to happen in this city in recent years. My
column will be spiced with pictures of plunging necklines and
see that she was determined to do this. I tried again to dissuade
her, "but Wifey, I have never seen you write before. When
was the last time you emailed your friends? You don't even send
a two line reply, forget about writing a column."
it must get down to that plum, when was the last time you encouraged
me to do something positive with my life? Forget it, I am sure
I can do it. Anyone who can spell his name right can be a columnist."
how will you know what to write? We don't even get invited to
those many parties…"
Nights, Gigs my sugar, not parties. If you wish to be seen with
me, you'd better learn the appropriate jargon. As for getting
invited, just you wait and see. The day my first piece comes
out, you'll see how quickly we're inundated with invites. And
besides, I'll be doing the people who matter in Dhaka a big
service through my column."
If they were there for that party, they matter. If the invites
gave their letter boxes a miss, well, ha ha, they'll know! Naughty,
don't you think?"
I am still not convinced it is all that great an idea. What
if no editor agrees to publish it?"
will, my dear. They attend the same dos. And they will like
being written about. Who wouldn't?"
but still, what if…"
with your ifs and your ever pessimistic self! I wonder how you
landed with me, of all women. If I don't find a publisher, I'll
start my own magazine. Is that clear? Have you seen how many
new ones have come up lately? Mine will be better than all of
women can be vain and unreasonable at the same time. Or is it
that the three always go hand in hand? I knew it was futile
arguing with her, and soon gave up.
we are friends. The Wifey is relentless, and beyond appeal.
Dear editors, if you are reading this, or if she happens to
see one of you in your office, please remember that I have nothing
to do with it. Until before this conversation with her, I didn't
know what socialites look like and talk like, and I didn't even
know what they did for a living. The Wifey heard me mutter this
to myself and quipped, "you silly, you don't get it, do
you? The day they have to do something for a living, they'll
cease to be socialites."
makes sense. The Wifey may have a point there, afterall.