I was in college. Studying for my degree. That means the queenly demeanour was still in its nascent stage. It was exam time. I used to love taking exams. I wrote all my papers neatly and well. Especially because nearly all were either literature or linguistics. In the hall, the girl next to me had a tendency to write one word and erase out ten. I am not sure anything ever got written. It was one of those old classrooms with rickety desks that shook even if one breathed a little despondently. The vigorous erasing felt like a tornado to sincere old me, who was trying to write a meaningful and artistic paper. It was finally over. I got out of the hall and bitched to ShineOn and Dickenshowrummy about my bench-mate from hell. Without missing a beat, ShineOn said, ‘But Dildo, why the fuck didn’t you just tell her to stop the fucking shagging?’
A line that clearly and obviously made an impression.
Last night, the Consort and I went out on our first ever movie date. This is a big deal. I am not a movie person. My general practice when it comes to watching movies is to sleep. Especially in movie halls. Or walk out. The thing is, I like to finish a good movie at my own pace. I let the bad ones be. They are all uniformly long irrespective of whether they are good or bad. I take about a week to finish a movie that is an hour and a half long. As a result of which, I watch very few movies in movie halls. So although the Consort is a fan of movies, we had never been to one until last night.
We watched The Adventures of Tintin. Considering it was our first movie date, I decided that I would act all loving and kindly towards the Consort. Given the sort of movie we were watching though, I knew, it would all be sweet and above-board. No tongue, of course. Hand-holding and a few chaste pecks is how I decided it would be.
The hall, however, was entirely too full. In spite of it being a week night, the hall was filled to capacity with children, their parents, college kids, working folk. To my unaccustomed-to-public eyes, it felt like nearly all of Bangalore was in the hall. Kids screamed, college kids smirked, older men whistled and older women might have tittered and clapped. It was just too many people.
Knowing what a stuck-up bitch I am when confronted by crowds, the Consort didn’t even try to hold my hand and gave up attempting conversation after my steely stare and bitchy comments. In hindsight, it probably was not his best movie date. So chaste and almost married, we sat to watch the movie wearing our 3D glasses.
Once it started, I began to enjoy the visual and the voice-overs. Brilliant stuff there. Just for that you must watch the movie. The accent and the diction is so delicious. All the VOs are gorgeous. And Snowy. God! Suffice to say I am going through my I-also-want-a-dog phase. The first half ended quickly on a note of suspense and promise.
By then I had unbent enough to hold hands with the Consort. Mostly because it was extremely cold in the hall and not necessarily out of any great passion. I even took stock of the people next to me. College kids in the row ahead, kids in the row behind, a guy with a Kindle next to the Consort, and immediately on my left was a very pretty girl who had a Dell bag replete with laptop, a high-end phone, and the like. Tech-eee, I told myself. The guy she sat next to was busy with his phone. It was noisy. I decided to get amazed by the fact that I was refusing to sleep although I was tired enough to want to. Leaving the hall even to get popcorn was out of the question. I cleverly deduced that it was a very good movie.
Sure enough, the next half of the movie began with nail-biting suspense and fast-paced action. Just when I got into the entire movie and had begun to really loosen up and feel human instead of IceBitch, it started.
The Dell girl was shaking. Unwittingly alarmed, I looked at her. The shaking stopped. Half a scene later, it began again. Then I got it. The boy was feeling her up under the Dell bag.
‘Stop the fucking shagging’ all but leaped out of my brains and poured out of my skin. I was too shell-shocked to say anything though. All I kept thinking was, ‘It’s so bloody crowded! How can you!’ and then in indignant outrage, ‘It’s Tintin for God’s sake! How can you!’
When Bianca Castafiore broke glasses, I felt the need to break a few on my touchy-feely neighbours. If Tintin, dipped and swirled on his pilfered motorbike, I felt the dips and swirls on my left. When the sea rose and fell; when ships collided, I felt stuff more keenly on my left.
I am pretty sure it was not because of the 3D.
They went on and on.
The only thing I will give the girl credit for is that she did not moan or in any way let on that agile fingers were busy working on her just like the adept pickpocket had worked on wallets in the first half of the movie.
Could I ask them to stop? How do I ask them to stop? How can anyone make out so sexually to Tintin? How can anyone make out at all when it is so fucking crowded? Why would they do that? Risk increases pleasure? Maybe they are poor and cannot afford a hotel room. Or any other place. I should feel sorry for them and just let them be. I should pretend nothing exists on my left. There is nothing between you and me. Just air. Classic movie. Oh they were brilliant. Old-fashioned. Sigh. I like old-fashioned. Concentrate on the Consort. Hold hands. Remove the ring, the ring-finger hurts when you hold hands. The hall. It is cold. Do we need the AC to be on so high? Centralised AC. I like saying Centralised AC. It will sound really good in a VO. I want to have an Irish lilt and a Scottish burr as well. Haddock. Oh drunk men. Is Whiskey Irish or is Whisky Irish? What’s the Scots spelling? Still shaking. Dammit. The sea. Treasure. Blue eyes. Tintin has blue eyes. Look. Blue eyes. Watch the movie. Concentrate. And still shaking. Fuck. Breathe, Bhumika. Watch the movie. Say Aum. Chant. Aum. Aum. Manamanamanamana. Chanting as we speak, darling. Fuck, please, I wish they would stop. Why can’t they stop! There are kids in the row directly behind us. Stop the fucking shagging! It’s Tintin!
Then it ended. Five minutes before the end of the movie.
I loved the movie but did not enjoy it at all.
Like married couples on the verge of a bitter divorce, the Consort and I did not speak the entire time till we reached the car. He just let me be. In the car, I told him the story. He laughed and was very amused by my reaction.
The Consort is against even basic PDA like an absent-minded peck on the lips. I am the more brazen one between the two of us – at least ostensibly – and here I was shocked silly that I had witnessed some heavy-duty Base 3 or Base 4 action (whatever you kids are calling it these days) in a movie hall!
Some of us always need to be all over the person we are with. Especially as soon as it gets dark like there is not a minute to waste. We need to show others that we are in a relationship together. That sort of reassurance is so important that it eclipses the fundamental mantra of sex and romance – a time and place. What sort of a charade is that anyway?
But that’s the business about making out in public spaces.
Most of us don’t like to be considered prudes but sometimes what we see, hear, and are subjected to is a little over the top. Where do we draw the line?
For me it is always about being tasteful, circumspect, and discerning enough to not want to do anything in a crowded area. We are all open-minded and adventurous. Yes, we all like tasteful orgies and healthy voyeurism but how many of us will say yes to one that will be held in Majestic* in broad daylight which can be watched by all of Shivajinagar**?
But importantly, it was the fact that the movie was Tintin. Kid stuff. Nostalgic stuff. A trip down that memory lane where things were less sexual, where all the gratification came from chocolates, and chasing butterflies, and reading all the Tintin books in two weeks before school reopened again. A time that was about a mom who cooked fun stuff because it was the holidays and a dad who bought you books, and teachers who were missing-in-action, and best friends who exchanged books with you and shared adventures in your make-believe world. The time of endless wonder. The time we discovered new places and new phrases. Because, dammit, it was Tintin.
This is my line.
* and ** – Two densely populated areas of Bangalore