From the beginning, starting with the girls at school, and the teachers in particular, I have looked at women in shops, on the street, in the bus, at parties, and wondered what it would be like to be with them, and what pleasures we might kindle. At school I would toss my pencil under the teacher's desk in order to crawl underneath and examine her legs. The desultory nature of the education system enabled me to develop an enthusiastic interest in girl's skirts-in the material and texture, and in whether they were billowy, loose or tight, and in which places. Skirts, like theatre curtains later, quickened my curiosity. I wanted to know what was under them. There was waiting, but there was possibility. The skirt was a transitional object; both a thing in itself and a means of getting somewhere else. This became my paradigm of important knowledge. The world is a skirt I want to lift up.
The above extract, from a novella (a short novel) , is worth a mention. I enjoyed it for many reasons, first was the beautiful manner in which the author registers sexual desire from pre-pubescent times and his analogy with theatre, which is another obsession for the character who conjures these lines. I choose to post it on my blog as many hapless visitors to my room have had it read aloud to them in my misplaced enthusiasm of sharing the smooth verbosity of these lines.
The book is Intimacy by Hanif Kureishi. The blurb of the book has this to say: Jay, the narrator of Intimacy, tells his story on the night he is preparing to leave his lover, Susan, and their two boys. Stripping away all posturing and self justification, Hanif Kureishi explores the fears and desires that drive a man to leave a woman.
Kureishi is a writer I discovered inadvertently on the footpaths of Delhi's DaryaGanj's famous Sunday book bazaar, when I bought his first novel, The Buddha of Suburbia, for about thirty five rupees while I was in college. Kureishi's father is South Asian and his mother British. His writings reflect his explorations of relationships and racial attitudes. His latest publication is titled, My Ear at his heart, a biography of his father who also had ambitions to write. My Ear at his heart is a very poignant, tender tribute written around his father's text. Kureishi is described as a Playwright, screenwriter, novelist and film-maker. His screenplay for the film My Beautiful Laundrette was nominated for an Academy Award. He also wrote the screenplays for Sammy and Rosie Get Laid and London Kills Me , which he also directed. His film My Son the Fanatic was adapted from his short story included in Love in a Blue Time.