About Me

My photo
If I can just give to the world more than I take from it, I will be a very happy man. For there is no greater joy in life than to give. Motto : Live, Laugh and Love. You can follow me on Twitter too . My handle is @Raja_Sw.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Nights at the Opera

Having spent a lifetime perfecting the art of appearing to be interested in the finer aspects of art and culture - including a monthly visit to the opera which made even visits to the dentist seem pleasurable - I decided that enough was enough. Not only was this making a serious dent in my pocket, I found myself, even after half a dozen visits, completely unable to appreciate any of the supposed subtleties of this form of culture. I never managed to understand the variations from bass to baritone to tenor to soprano, though I tried hard. Honest, I did.

Adding to my misery was the realization that the timings of the opera often seriously clashed with day-night cricket and football, making me the only possible sports lover in the world sitting in a room full of culture geeks on a Friday evening when I could be sitting in front of the telly, beer in hand, perversely watching Australia dish it out to England in the one game and Brazil do likewise to England in the other.

In fact, so desperate had my desire to enjoy the small pleasures that I hold sacred in life become, that I even toyed with the idea of carrying with me into the concert hall, hopefully unnoticed, a transistor radio to at least catch, if only sneakily and occasionally, the commentary of the games that I was destined to miss. It would be no substitute for the fully stretched-out, lazy couch-potato opportunity but, hey, it was still better than nothing.

But, for all my craving, this remained no more than an idea, partly due to an entirely unrewarded sense of sensitivity for fellow opera-goers but more due to a fear that this might result in thrusting me prominently in an unfavourable light with the one for whom I was going through all this torture in the first place, should she catch me in my moment of indiscretion. No sir, if a charade had to be carried out, it had to be carried out to perfection, however tempting other options may be.

After six-and-a-quarter opera sufferings, I could take it no more. (The quarter, for those interested, was when I managed to feign jetlag and oil out of one of these occasions when it was less than an hour into its horrendous glory. I had just arrived from New York that morning and, although I felt perfectly fine, it would have been criminal to have allowed this great opportunity to use this mother-of-all-excuses for serious avoidance to go waste).

I asked myself – is this the basis of our relationship ? Granted that she is worth every bit of opera suffering but I could not help feeling that surely there was something wrong about the situation. The fact that she had not shown the slightest interest in anything that I was interested in – and then I am talking cricket and football in particular – did not escape me. Whenever I had brought up the subject, she had conveniently managed to flutter her eyes and talk about the next art exhibition coming to town or a visit to Christie’s. No, not the slightest interest in my interests.

And here I was, pandering to her every request like a lapdog, completely devoid of any sense of self-esteem. What would be next ? A ballet-dance trial ? Or a high-society costume party ?

I cringed. The truth, painful though it was, had hit me all of a sudden. I knew where I belonged. And more importantly, knew where I did not.

The phone rang.

“Don’t forget to pick me up at 6.30 sharp. We need to be there by 7.00 and I do not want to be there a minute late”.

“Who is on tonight ?” I still feigned interest, though I could not care less.


“Sounds like a nice Italian dish”. I murmured under my breath.

“What ?”

“Nothing. Listen, can you excuse me for tonight ? Something’s come up”.

“Cancel it. You know this is our opera night - and you also know how I feel about this”.

“Yes, I guess you are right”.

“Good. 6.30 then”. She was about to hang up.

“Hang on. You are right – I know how you feel about opera. Pity you don’t know how I feel about cricket.” I could not believe I was saying this. I do not know from where I mustered the strength to say this but I knew I had to put an end to this madness.


“You know what ? There’s this neo-realism exhibition that everybody’s talking about. I think we should definitely go there next Wednesday. It is on only for three days”.

“Wednesday is European Cup football. Sorry, no can do”.


“What are you saying ?”

“Listen, I like you a lot. But let’s face it – we live in different worlds. My world is cricket and football. Yours is operas and art exhibitions. Unless there is an exhibition on high-society cricket, I doubt we will find ourselves together in one place, both enjoying ourselves.”

“Ok, 6.30 then”.

“Fine”. I sighed - it was worth a try anyway.

And that, my friends, is how I got to hear and hear of Barbara Fritolli. And Sonia Ganassi. And Michele Pertusi.

And yes, I too wish they were pasta dishes.

1 comment:

Nandini Vishwanath said...

LOL. ROTFL :) AB and I face the same situation though!

And I play your role!