This Week on IFN: About the Arts of Seduction
Greedy. Lush. Volatile. Really picky. These are words you could use to describe me from time to time. I am an Arian to the core. Linda Goodman may as well have been using me as her prototype when writing Star Signs. Me, and Charlie Chaplin of course.
Short-tempered? Yes, yes.
A realist, yet a decided idealist. Absolutely.
But Linda didn’t get it all right. She also calls me impulsive: “They are 100% the genuine article, and act from self-sourced impulses.”
Never in a million years would I act on an impulse. Even the dreadful perm I convinced my father to let me get in the 90s was the result of several weeks of strategy. And an "impromptu" dinner party is at least 72 hours in the making. So, the events of Thursday have truly shaken the ground beneath my feet. Here’s what happened.
The soundtrack to my drive to work is usually Monocle Radio or a TED Talk. There are however, a few patches of Bombay where Vodafone’s 4G collapses and I turn to Hrishi K on 94.3 Radio One for the latest goings on in the city. This happened Thursday too, near the Taraporewala Aquarium on Marine Drive. I switched on the radio expecting Hrishi K’s usual radio-ready chat, but instead heard a sultry voice talking about paan, and its role in the art of seduction. Yes, the same paan that wallahs across India wrap a betel leaf around an areca nut; the juice of which sullies street corners, white walls, pretty parks and freshly dry cleaned sarees in this great country of mine.
The voice spoke of how WhatsApp has now taken over the duties of the paan. The voice spoke of how she misses the time when lovers would exchange messages through paans. Of how there was a paan for every proposition and rejection. And how the paan was “... the ultimate symbol of romance and passion in the history of seduction…”
I don’t think much of current Indian erotica but I could not stop listening to her. I had to know more. And so, on an impulse, I bought The Arts of Seduction by mythologist, practicing storyteller and doctor of narrative practices Seema Anand.
The book has an entire chapter dedicated to “Paan and the Arts of Seduction”. I quote: “Paan, says the Kama Sutra, was the transition between foreplay and sex.”
According to Anand, when a woman offered a man a paan, it meant she was ready for sex. The chapter goes into great detail to describe the extensive erotic vocabulary inspired by and conveyed by the paan. From inviting someone for a hook up (Ankush paan) to letting them down (Chaturstra paan), there is apparently a paan for every romantic event.
This is certainly more exciting than any WhatsApp conversation I've ever had! I am now reading the chapter called ‘The Sixty-Four Skills’. Who knew an impulse purchase would open me up to such an exciting, distant world!
Back in my world, I met a bunch of Mumbai’s most successful restaurateurs. Their spectacular success is legendary. And their recent collaboration seems effortless. Impulsive even. I am talking about Gauri Devidayal, Jay Yousuf, Sumit Gambhir, Pankil Shah and Abhishek Honawar, and their first restaurant together - Miss T in Colaba, Mumbai. Find out just how impulsive they were in this fun little video we made with Gauri and Abhishek.
Less impulsive was my first ever Facebook & YouTube Live Chat with Habit Coach, Ashdin Doctor. Ashdin is an IFN columnist and our in-house diet, health and nutrition "doctor". We spoke about the latest diet (and he insists it isn't a fad) to have hit India, Intermittent Fasting. If you weren't able to tune in live watch the replay here.
And finally, I am thrilled to share that Roshni Bajaj Sanghavi is now an IFN Columnist too. Her first piece for us is a joy ride through the history of the humble khichdi. She writes: "We may not agree that it’s India’s national dish, we may not even agree that it’s a worthy brand ambassador for Indian cuisine, but the minister is not inaccurate when she says that it’s a massively inclusive dish, and that versions of this simple rice and lentil dish finds variations on its theme, across states, communities and classes in India." Read here article here.