<%-- Page Title--%> Slice Of Life <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 151 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

April 23, 2004

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Socialite Evenings

Richa Jha

"I 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.

"But 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".

"No, you don't get it. I am different from them all. Plus, what do you know about writing?".

I don't 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."

"That's where you fail to understand me dear. I will be a 'high-society commentator'."

"What's that?".

"Oh 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…"

The vicarious 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 jiving partners."

I could 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."

"If 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."

"But how will you know what to write? We don't even get invited to those many parties…"

"Do's, 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."

"And how so?"

"Simple. 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?"

"Wifey, I am still not convinced it is all that great an idea. What if no editor agrees to publish it?"

"They will, my dear. They attend the same dos. And they will like being written about. Who wouldn't?"

"Hmmm, but still, what if…"

"You 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 them."

Phew! Only 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.

So there 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."

Hmmm. That makes sense. The Wifey may have a point there, afterall.





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