I must confess without shame that my intelligence is somewhere between poor and middling.
I would have put it at poor but due my hobby of noting cricket scores I have rated myself a notch higher. Anyone who can tell you that England’s Brian Close, on June 25, 1963, at Lords, danced down the wicket to the fearsome West Indies fast bowlers and got battered and bruised while scoring 70 must have some knowledge.
But being a proud sort of fellow with a school leaving certificate from Cambridge University, I had to hide my lack of grey matter through pretence.
That is when I learnt that there is this breed which is popularly known as the Pseudo-Intellectual. The term means a person who pretends to an interest in intellectual matters for reasons of status.
I promptly opted for this. I had known plenty in my life who tried to exuded intelligence through dropping a Shakespearean quote here or a Friedrich Nietzsche there.
So I decided to go for it. As a first step one had to perfect the look.
It had to be intellectual so a pair of sober glasses, one of those square and large ones, had to be bought. Then there was this matter about clothes. Jeans were a must, faded of course. The long kurta added that extra bit of sobriety to the appearance.
Back then, one needed a satchel of sorts to match. If a smoker, then the eternal Charminar was the order of the day.
I would have opted for a beedi but could not bear the nauseas smell.
Shoes were ruled out. The bedroom slippers were the most preferred footwear. Kolhapuri chappals was also an option.
Now that the look was perfected, focus had to shift to the walk. Yes, if you are an intellectual, you cannot throw out your chest like a pigeon and walk around.
So I spent hours in front of the mirror to get the perfect slouch. I even watched numerous Clint Eastwood Westerns to get the bend right. I also spent some hours in front of the mirror, practising the lost look as this was very important.
But all this would come to nix if it there was no food provided to the brain to chew on.
So I spoke to some of those real intellectual types about the latest books they had read, went to the college library and looked up stuff on favourite quotes, checked references on Shakespeare, and read trivia about Fyodor Dostoevsky and Aldous Huxley.
Now I was all prepared for the Big Day. So I sauntered along to the usual spot where many of us met. I had a few smokes to suppress the nervousness.
Now for the Big Test..
There was uncontrollable laughter and guffaws as I made an entry in the New Avtar. They were sneering too and a few unmentionable words along with the mirth. She was among those who laughed the most.
“Hey, stop looking like Naseeruddin Shah from one of those parallel biopics,” she screamed amidst the din.
“Hehe, hehe. Looks like a bloody joker, hehehe.”