Know him? Bet you do...

'How foolish we were. As soon as we had had our ‘continental’ dinner, this man proceeded to attire himself for a comfortable night of rest by first producing his pajamas from his suitcase (to do which he jammed the suitcase between the two of us), then waving these pajamas in our faces as he unfolded and aired them, and lastly wrapping a towel around his waist and artfully wriggling out of his trousers and donning the pajamas. His wife kept her head buried in a magazine through the entire operation and did not seem to mind at all our fascinated observation of this ritual.

The reason this behavior seems tame in retrospect is that its effect could not compare at all with our experience the next morning when the whole operation was performed in reverse. Having clean pajamas shaken out in one’s face is one thing. But being fanned by pajamas that have spent the night ensconcing their owner is an altogether different shock. No wonder the wife this time gave us a brief apologetic smile before returning to her magazine.

If this ubiquitous being does not soon identify himself, I think the curiosity will kill me. My only consolation is that my delusions are not mine alone. Every female friend or relative I have talked to says she knows this man. Not his name or his address, but his royal antecedents and his cunning disguises.

Who on earth is this man? Is it, by any chance, you, dear reader?'

- Alaka M Basu, 'Is It You?'


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