Yesterday I went mattress shopping with C., a Bombay blogger who swore I would forever impair his prospects of sex and progeny if I posted this story with his actual name, which is Chandrahas. This dude is stylish and brilliant in all respects except his choice of blog friends, who are apparently complete bastards. We didn’t mean to go mattress-shopping together. I needed furniture; he had the day off; he was young and needed the money.
We ended up at Foam Palace, a typical Bombay roadside shop where they make custom mattresses. This was a novel concept for me. The salesman dragged a pad onto the sidewalk and made a great show of squeezing the soft edges sensuously. But my ideal mattress has sturdy edges like a grilled cheese sandwich. The mattress was still covered in plastic like all good Indian appliances years after purchase. I lolled around under the stars next to some bemused pavement dwellers while dirty water dripped out of a drainage pipe overhead.
I asked C. to try out the mattress. The salesman looked on skeptically. ‘We’re not, uh, together,’ I said. C. flopped backwards and concocted a story about how some competitor made them twice as soft at half the price. It was only good for a few bucks off. You only lie convincingly when it’s your own money you’re defending.
Down the street was a shiny new American mattress showroom — let’s call it Kinky Koil. The sales guy pretended his system wouldn’t let him give me a discount.
‘The spreadsheet is password-protected.’
It was Excel. ‘Dude, I designed that feature,’ I said, exaggerating a bit. ‘I’ll unlock it. Now give me that discount.’
He looked aghast. So instead I showed him an easter egg in Word.
C. was bored. ‘So, like, how is that relevant to anything?’
‘Don’t mind him,’ I said sweetly, ‘it’s just a marital spat.’
C. swore again to knife me lightly in an alley dark. This in a country where straight men walk hand-in-hand down the street.
Later that night, Anuvab merrily slurped Thai curry and described his theory of extramarital affairs in Bombay while his wife listened in amusement. ‘Any married man in Bombay who wants to have an affair leaves his house for an encounter with every intention of success,’ he said. ‘But then he fights traffic for an hour and has only gotten up to Dadar. So he says fuck it and goes home.’
It’s the chaos theory of marital fidelity. Down with the new metro: it will doom Bombay marriages