Mr Rushdie is on to his fourth (or is it fifth?) wife and has, as the expression goes, played the field. One or two of his previous marriages have ended in ugly public brawls. Meanwhile, gossip columns of the British and American press were forever linking him to celebrity white women. We were told he had a glad eye; it was not in his nature to be a one-woman man. Enter Padma Lakshmi.
Now consider Vidia Naipaul. Sir Vidia has always been rather keen on women and sex, but was determined not to spend too much time in the pursuit. He confessed he preferred prostitutes because time for both the sex worker and this writer was critical. Naipaul's former literary editor, Diana Athill, tells a lovely story of how Sir Vidia asked her if she knew any "fast girls" so that he could get over the "business" quickly.
Enter Punjabi Nadira Alvi from Lahore. She too has transformed the "prickly" Nobel laureate and beautifully domesticated him. Sir Vidia's proudest possession currently is not the Nobel medal, but Augustus, his cat, who he spoils and engages in long existential conversations. My wife and I have an abiding memory of the Naipauls. We had taken them out for dinner and late at night dropped them at their hotel. Nadira had lovingly wrapped her arm around the man, who reportedly has a Brahminical dislike of touching people, and together they passed through the revolving door, the very picture of a happy, devoted and contented couple.
So, I am back to my original question: what is it about Indian and Pakistani women that tames the most awesomely gifted, ferocious, promiscuous and difficult of men? I don't have a clue, but if you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them.
Another reason why you should switch off the idiot box and regularly read Outlook.
The truth is that Ms Bharati was livid when Outlook Saptahik printed the secret letter and had a few furious words with our Bhopal correspondent who had managed to obtain it. "You have stabbed me in the back," she told him. Of course, one could argue that even her anger at the leak was feigned, but that would be giving Uma too much credit for hatching dark conspiracies. For all her histrionic faults, Uma Bharati does not have half the guile and news-management skills of her illustrious opponents.
Rushdie, whose new novel is out next September, said to me as I left, "You owe me one." When his long-awaited tome comes out, I won't be giving it to Pankaj Mishra to review. Neither will I offer it to Sir Vidia who anyway does not dirty his hands these days with book-reviewing of any kind.
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT