14 February 2010

Valentine man

He has watched over me for so many years that I forgot to notice his particular charms, some of which he collects as unfashionableness festoons him.
  • He's always had just one arm.
  • He never tells me his mood, what music he is listening to, what he is doing now.
  • He doesn't have a novel in him. I don't mind. Perhaps he thinks he is lucky that I don't pester him about it, unlike people do to Kuzhali Manickavel who says, "Some of us keep getting molested because we aren't writing a novel or aren't married. I think this is very notnice. I mean, I don't go around molesting people because they ARE married or ARE doing the novel thing."
She's packaged up some bonbon responses to these rude people in "Why Aren't You Writing a Novel? Why Aren't You Married? Why Why Why?

Since her posts can be addictive, they are so perceptive but funny (today's Conversations –The Man with the Pipe is typical), a person could miss that Manickavel can also cause the reader to look funny. She can be so dry, she's astringent as an unripe quince. Perhaps the only well-travelled people who don't wince as they see themselves in How to Wear an Indian Village are too delicate to see themselves at all.

Blaft (that splendid confectioner of bonbons made of pulp and paper) has published Manickavel's collection,

Valentine man doesn't even have a collection in him (to my knowledge) but I haven't ever bugged him about it. I imagine that he loves me, which is good enough — and how couldn't he be irresistible? He's so lovably wordless and full of mystery.

Speaking of wordlessness and men with pipes, about a year after my father died, when I was in university, I grew an irresistible desire to privately smoke a pipe like his, with his brand of tobacco even though the smell of regular tobacco always makes me feel like I've just eaten a tub of engine grease. Anyway, I bought a pipe that was like his (plain boffin style) and the same tobacco that has that fruity wet leather tempering that mediocre pipe tobaccos do. I lit up and it wasn't a horrible disappointment, nor did I hear him laughing. It was the kind of disappointment you have when you visit someplace again that only has room for one unforgettable experience. I haven't tried the cigars. But that was all before Valentine man, the flame who abhors lights.

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