As a responsible diaryist, I know I should be recording events for posterity that will throw light on cultural thought, intellectual discourse and the mindset of the people who make up this great country. I went to a dinner party instead.
It was hosted by two very dear friends, both bankers and most of the other invitees were bankers too. There were a few exceptions such as me (formerly, automotive industry. Now, decorative piece) and some from the apparel industry.
Firstly, everyone not connected with the banking industry was keeping a keen eye on those connected with it, because there was an open balcony and the temptation to jump off it must have been strong. But since it was only about 15 feet to the ground, the wily bankers refrained from jumping, knowing that they would only injure themselves. "Nothing less than a hundred feet will do" was the refrain heard. I took my cue from this because, since I am connected with the automotive industry (I supply parts to it) jumping off the balcony is very much part of my general strategy.
But truth be told, I'm too much of a coward. I hate jumping off things or drowning myself (our hosts' flat overlooked the sea). My idea of killing myself, if ever the need should arise, would be to eat Shankar's cheese sandwich morning noon and night. The idea of course is that in about thirty days of this, one would die of a heart attack.
But let me not depress you with these morbid thoughts. And anyway, no one jumped or drowned (the beach was too far away and moreover it was low tide) and in the end, we had a nice time.
My host had asked me to make a risotto, a skill I acquired recently when experimenting with carbohydrates and other banned substances (such as cheese and butter). With my usual nose for science, I immediately discovered
The Laws of Risotto Making
First Law: The taste of the Risotto is directly proportional to the cheese you put in it
Second Law: The taste of the Risotto is directly proportional to the butter you put in it
Third Law: The taste of the Risotto is directly proportional to the fanciness of the name you give it.
Thus I created, with the active assistance of my host's cook, Risotto Con Funghi, which is Italian for "Rice dish which cheats fungus".
The modus operandi was simple. I would tell the cook to chop onions and report, in which meantime I'd go have some beer. When he reported that the said task was done, I'd tell him to chop the garlic and report, in which meantime I'd go have some more beer and so on.
One of my apparel business friend's wife told me to make the bankers eat first, the idea being that if they keel over(an idea she seemed to have formed watching me have the beer while cooking), the rest of us would stay away from it. Her logic, of course, was that bankers would be grateful for being sent to the Great Mortgage House in the sky while the rest of us still had things to look forward to.
Nothing like that happened, of course. The Risotto turned out great, though the rest of the food was better, but since I had followed the Laws of Risotto Making, everyone loved it.
By this time, I spied some Laphrohaig, a nice single malt whisky from the Islay area of Scotland, sitting forlorn and unloved on my host's shelf. Never one to tolerate insult to Scotland, I sprang towards it and ended up getting a mite polluted. The rest is a bit hazy. Sheela drove back, taking care to drive around such vehicles as crossed her path than through them, and consequently I am alive to tell this tale.