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The Hindi word for illusion is 'maya'. The English word for illusion is love. I have proof.

An Indian friend of mine in London was completely ga-ga over a girl in his office. He sent her enormous Valentine cards which he signed, "Your Baby Bhagwan." He sent her flowers and chocolate - which would arrive at the office in huge wicker baskets with frills and bows - and on one occasion, a live puppy.

He was dying of love while she was dying of embarassment. But he is persisted and she relented, and he stretch-limoed her to a series of Punjabi hotspots all over town. One night, they were spotted smooching in the Boob-Ooze Club in Soho and a week later she moved into his flat,
which was full of idols, insense and questionable herbs.

A year later, he discovered she was having an affair with Prendergast from the purchasing department. My Indian friend was heartbroken, soul-beaten, deflated, morose and then couldn't decide 'how' he felt. But finally he settled on revenge. He nailed a poster of his cheating girlfriend's face on trees all around his neighborhood bearing the caption:

"HAVE YOU SEEN THIS DOG?"

She subsequently went around her forest of humiliation ripping them down and then decided to ring the immigration department.

The last I heard of him, he was back in Delhi and his parents had him engaged to a Gujurati girl, aged eight.

Love, 'maya', all is illusion.

It is said that bookshops have romantic potential. So I got a job in one. The work was fun, the wages was hilarious. I was told the customer is always right. So I asked the manager, "If we can't smack the children, can we
at least belt the parents?" No. I certainly could not. OK.

So I used to lie in wait by the romantic airport novels for single ladies. They all eyed me suspiciously and one complained to the manager that a pervert was lurking near the Mills and Boon stand. Absolute 'maya', madam. It's an
illusion, it's wasn't me.

But I soon discovered that the only love to be found in a bookshop was not under the covers, but between them. According to one major bookseller, humanity has varied reasons to frequent these establishment;

A survey revealed that;
20% are waiting for someone,
3% are 'hiding' from someone'
20% are waiting for it to stop raining,
5% lost,
10% are thinking about stealing a book,
10% are looking in awe at the artwork on the
covers,
another 15% are looking in awe at the 'prices' on
the covers,
10% are looking for girls,
and 1% are looking at the people who are looking
for girls - which leaves the princely total of 7%
who might actually get around to buying a book.

An intellectually undernourished actor from Hollywood once said something quite perceptive: "Chasing women is fine and fun, but it's when you actually 'catch' one that the
peoblems start."

His fear was not of commitment, but of entrapment. He may be on to something there, but then he's divorced and dead - which proves that even martality is 'maya'.

On Valentine's Day last year, I was with a bunch of friends at a restaurant on Silom. The air was heavy with mashed, karaoked ballads that should only be let out with a licence very quietly on Valentine's Day, but which are played incessantly all night long and all year round in this city. Everyone in the room had a mobile phone which
they shouted into periodically - probably at each other. The beautiful girl from next door, who has a body that pops thermometers, was sitting next to her new boyfriend from Noo Yawk.

"You'll like this guy," she said. "He's a bastard's bastard."

To me he was just another ego in a wig. They were soon entwined and valentined at the table and I was sitting on the other side of her - ignored and desperate. He swaggered to the microphone and from the jungle of my lungs I blurted out to her, "Can I marry your hair?"

She gave me that, did-you-just-say-something-look, as the words hung in the lucent air ...

The Noo Yawker was still murdering "My Way" when I started drinking the ashtray.

Some enchanted evening. Thank God all is 'maya'.

------
All that's in my mind, is those words we never say but always hear falling between the cracks.




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