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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The Song of Prufrock

Individuals and issues that are making and faking news.

Written by Dilip Bobb |
December 1, 2013 5:30:16 am

(with apologies to T S Eliot)

Obfuscation,euphuism,euphemisms — we are groping for words to convey our feelings. Euphuism (a prose style) works best when conveying hidden thoughts in intimate places like Prufrock,the private club that was to welcome the privileged,courtesy Mr Tejpal. The name is taken from a poem by Eliot. A modern,revised version:

Let us go then,you and I,

When the evening is spread out against the sky.

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Like a patient etherised upon a table;

Let us go,via certain half-deserted elevators,

Leave the movie stars and fawning waiters

Experience restless nights in five-star hotels

and beach-side places serving oyster-shells:

Corridors that follow like a tedious argument

of insidious intent

To lead you to an overwhelming question…

Oh,do not ask,“Why are you doing this?”

We are in a place where nothing is remiss.

Not in the conference room where men come and go

Talking of morality,molested women and Michelangelo.

The insidious thoughts that arrive with the incoming tide

licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,

lingered on the poolside where innocence died,

slipped by the elevator and made a sudden leap,

and seeing that it was a soft November night,

banished all thoughts of an early sleep.

Let there be no feigned hesitation or excuse,

There is no place for non-consensual rights,

else I may be impelled to seek punitive ‘recuse’.

This is a place that instigates momentary lapses of judgment

where conversations can become loaded heavily,

even playful exchanges of a flirtatious nature can be

misconstrued,converted into sexual intent.

We discuss desire and the near impossibility of fidelity

on stormy nights and thunderclouds when trees were bent,

The aftermath will intrude angrily into our conjoined future

We are at a festival that invites participants to think,

of people and principles at the very least,

Yet,as we now know,things can change in a blink

and me,the man of the hour,indeed the host,

is immediately branded a predatory beast.

And I have known the arms already,

Arms that are braceleted,white and bare

(But in the lamplight,downed with light brown hair!)

Is it perfume from a dress

That makes me so digress?

When I lie on the office couch,lights dim

And should I then presume?

And how should I begin?

Shall I say,I have transgressed and beg forgiveness?

Or brazen it out,ride out the storm,it is no sin,

to be a hands-on editor,no less.

So why should I not presume?

Soothed by feni and fish fingers,

Bob is asleep … tired … and she lingers,

behaving normal,again beside me.

Should I,after tea and cakes and ices,

Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?

I have broken an unwritten code,with no remorse,

Though I have seen my head upon a platter,

I am no prophet — and here’s no great matter;

I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,

I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat,and snicker,

Could this be the end,my beautiful friend,the end…?

So I tie a pony tail,and remind myself,papa don’t preach.

I shall wear flannel trousers,and walk upon the beach.

It was merely an untoward incident after all.

No big deal,I’m the boss,entitled to have a ball,

and this is Goa,where you are meant to let your hair down,

put a smile on your face,wipe that frown.

But I am an honourable man,and seek to atone,

but what punishment will fit the alleged wrong?

It must be a ‘lacerating’ penance

and since I opened this box of Pandora,

I will give myself the suitable sentence

six months in my Goa mansion in Moira!

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