A Conversation Between Friends — 2
Manu: Behold! The gent finally remembers that he has an Indian citizenship! The return of the illustrious son!
Varad: After all these years, you are still destitute of a good range of expressions, with that nearly impassive delivery. By the way, I never became American. Yes, a few practices in their culture are appealing, but they are coarser Englishmen for all I care.
Manu: It is good to see that you are not the stereotypical NRI. By the way, with many an Englishman of late emulating the Americans from what I hear, they must have lost their sophistication, too. It will be a while before you get rid of that trace of an American accent.
Varad: Are you emulating Gore Vidal with that accent?
Manu: A confusing hybrid between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley Jr. Nothing could be as patrician in its sound as the confluence of accents of two intellectual enemies!
(Proceeding towards the society benches)
Varad: In other respects, you are still the same. Of the same height, or lack thereof if it amuses you. You must shave daily, I imagine.
Manu: Indeed. I am quite inclined to a clean face. You should cast a gaze at some of our other friends. All of them have sprouted, and sport ineptly maintained facial hair. Lofty shops of scraggly beards and moustaches!
Varad: A subconscious desire to appear masculine, I suppose? Have any of them won inamoratas?
Manu: Do you think I repose the faintest interest in the colourful aspects of anyone’s life?
Varad: Good point, but assuming you are interested in your own life, has it any presence of such colours?
Manu: Evidently not. Such relations are altogether mawkish. I am far from mawkish.
Varad: I remember you mentioning on WhatsApp, all those months ago, of having cursorily engaged with the world of…ribald texting.
Manu: I did indeed. Predictably, I got bored, and for the few days that I engaged with that world of philistines, I realized what temporal profligacy it was!
Varad: Is this in context of the dames you encountered?
Manu: Dames? A supermajority of them cannot type a coherent sentence in English. Or even Hinglish, its commonness online notwithstanding. And asudden, amid the ascending bawdiness of the conversation, they inquire about our geographical provenance, or a kindred topic.
(Seated, and over revivifying sips of cool lemonade)
Varad: A rather eccentric set of priorities they have, I must say.
Manu: I am assuming they were women in the first place, and not men posing as women. They seem to be increasingly bold: they demand complete déshabillé! Of course, they need ‘evidence’.
Varad: I do not even need you to confirm that such shenanigans were too crude to your tastes.
Manu: That is but half of it. They are not practiced in the art of luscious, fetching conversation. They proceed in a lifeless, mirthless fashion. I imagine those indeed capable of such enterprises do not spend time on such plebeian websites.
Varad: And when did you specialize in such recondite arts as lubricious chatting?
Manu: I have an instinct for language. That I mostly use it for wry, even mordant comments, is perhaps a matter best left to psychologists.
Varad: Speaking of psychologists, I have been rather disappointed in Dr. Jordan Peterson of late.
Manu: It has been a while since I engaged with his podcasts, but I do know that his bout with illness has…taken a moderate toll on him. Perhaps we must discuss him comprehensively on some other occasion.
Varad: In the meantime, I do hope your academic life has not taken a toll on you.
Manu: I do not much perturb myself with academics; I ace my subjects. It is not like those infernal years of eleventh and twelfth grades. I can even spare time to read literary works. I should be cautious in the frequency of reading The Silmarillion lest I develop a neurotic fascination with it.
Varad: Perhaps the allegorical relationship between Valinor and Yamunotri is too conspicuous to you.
Manu: Precisely. I hope never to leave Yamunotri; however, such is the sentiment of the present. I imagine I shall eventually be weary and seek to travel, much like our peripatetic elite.
Varad: Should you secure some form of sinecure, you would certainly be able to travel.
Manu: Perhaps even otherwise. On an impish note, it is propitious that I am a law student. Eventually, should I become Justice Manu, Supreme Court, I could spend more days travelling than in the courtroom.
Varad: Do not advertise such views online. News of late concerning kindred incidents is not encouraging.
Manu: I have no need to worry. I could use Sanskrit. Such judges as are most prone to taking affront are not suffused with Indic consciousness; they are second-rate Englishmen. Or citizens of the Roman Empire, according as they use English or Latin in greater measure.
Varad: Your irreverence is going to cost you one day.
Manu: It would be an exercise in futility; I have not named anyone.
(Tossing the now empty lemonade cups into the dumpster)
Varad: That was some good lemonade.
Manu: I know. I made it.
Varad (jestingly): Of course you did, you gasconader. By the way, Kshiteesh might be arriving from class anytime soon. We are going to Crossword today evening. Care to grant us the pleasure of your infrequent company?
Manu: Positively. I intend to buy books, too. But first, I must get these sheets of paper hard bound. You two may proceed without waiting for me.
Varad: Okay, then.
I have not endeavoured to make this conversation relatable to anyone. My endeavour was to concoct a conversation that would be as random as possible, and jump from one topic to another. The unusual ornateness of this conversation is deliberate, for the characters are elitists through and through.