Before I get into the column, let me state up top that you should never ever do cocaine, because it has horrible side-effects like being lumped in the same category as that guy from Prem Aggan.
That must’ve been one of celebrity chef Nigella Lawson’s concerns this week, when she had to testify in a court that yes, she had done coke and pot a few times, and no, it wasn’t the same as kicking toddlers in the face. This was a surprise only because it involved the squeaky-clean Nigella, who is basically chocolate and cinnamon-scented sunshine, topped off with breasts and a British accent. (I’m assuming she never did pot on air, because then she’d stop baking halfway and spend the rest of the episode just lying back and slowly licking frosting off her fingers. Mmmm.)
Nobody would’ve been surprised if the chef in question was, say, Gordon Ramsay. Cocaine would probably turn him into a calmer person. Also, no dealer would ever want to sell to Ramsay. That client feedback would not be fun:
Dealer: Here you go man. Pure, uncut Grade A stuff. In Colombia, they call it Angel Dust.
Ramsay: (snorts) WHAT THE F****!!! I’VE SNORTED DANDRUFF THAT HAD BETTER TEXTURE! PISS OFF BEFORE I COOK YOUR GRANDMOTHER!
Dealer: *swears to only sell to Bollywood*
I’m glad that Nigella Lawson isn’t Indian, because then the situation would’ve played out very differently. First, her lawyers would issue a statement saying that as a wealthy, powerful person with a stressful life, it is unfathomable that she would even think about cocaine, and that the wildest thing she has ever done is drink Roohafza neat. Then they would claim that the report of her doing drugs was morphed by anti-national rivals like Sanjeev Kapoor. None of this would matter because the common man of India would’ve already dipped into the vast pool of his stupidity to make sweeping remarks about her life online:
RT @ProudBharat Nigella drug scandal would never happen if Modi was PM.
Dis is all western cultur dats y woman are becuming too much forward media type they shud do kapalbhaati jai hind
ARRANGE MARRIAGE PROBLEM LOVE PROBLEM CAREER PROBLEM PAIN IN MAIN POINT CONTACT JYOTISH SHARMA ON 983910110
Then at some point, the notion of “Indian middle-class values” would come up. This is a hugely popular defence mechanism used to shoot down everything that is taboo in this country, be it sex, drugs or logic. For example, you don’t believe in the caste system? Sorry son, that goes against the Middle-Class Manual. What’s that? You’re gay? Please drag your fabulous butt down to the Middle-Class Values Clinic. What? You don’t want to take up science? Goddammit son, do we look like townies?
I don’t know how middle-class India came to be the repository of all that is good and moral in this world. Maybe old Bollywood had something to do with it, seeing as how all the rich people were smugglers and all the poor people were Amitabh Bachchan. It’s odd, given that the only distinctly middle-class values I can identify are a) It is okay to go out and interact with the world in something called a ‘nightie’ and b) All new things must be covered in plastic. This includes babies.
The middle class seems to have bought into this notion of virtue, which is why something like a drug issue is always a problem that affects “other people”. As far as they’re concerned, the upper class are all a bunch of wife-swapping wine snobs. (Rubbish stereotype. Some drink single malts as well.) Meanwhile, the upper class sees the middle class as mythical creatures; hobbits that come to work from the distant Shire of Jogeshwari and say hilarious things like, “Petrol is so expensive now.” The rest would like to form opinions, but it’s difficult while being scooped out of your shanty by a bulldozer.
But coming back to the original topic of this column (it’s Nigella Lawson – I went back and checked), I hope she quickly returns to doing what she does best. My views have nothing to do with the fact that she has always been one-third of the Perfect Woman (the remaining two-thirds split equally between Deepika Padukone and Tina Fey). The world could always do with more desserts. Or at the very least, frosting.
(Note: This is my HT column dated 8th Dec 2013.)