What a disgusting scatological title for an article written by a 73 year old, I told myself. But there is a reason. Quite recently, a very important person left his wife of nearly four decades for, it is rumored, someone else. Nothing special about that, excepting that the person was once the second citizen of the US of A, made a stirring film on climate, remains the co-honcho of an international talk shop on climate and so on…So, Washington Post went to town reporting the matter with pictures of graduation, marriage and public display of spousal affection, etcetera, etcetera…Nothing wrong with that, nor with the bloggers offering comments. Then I became transfixed, SCROTAL WARMING, the blogger said. I drew a sharp breath, and exhaling deeply said to me, how appropriate!
Actually, the phenomenon is not new, it had other names in other times and in other places. 35 years ago, during a visit to Boston, friends and their wiveys took me to a lakeshore restaurant for the famous lobster. Promenading along, we came upon a senior citizen in tight embrace and liplock with a not so senior lady. We stepped aside politely and went on. Fifteen or so minutes later, on our way to the restaurant, we saw them again, similarly entwined, and politely stepped aside again. Then, one of the wifeys looked back and started to giggle. We shushed her, but started to laugh when the wise guy in our group commented in Bangla, “boyesher doshe”, meaning generally, “nature’s call”. The lobster tasted superb.
It came back to me vividly when I read in an Indian news paper for three successive days at a stretch, the third wedding march (he was earlier married twice) of a member of Indian Parliament. It seems like the embedded newsmen of Iraqi war, he also had embedded correspondents from an Indian news agency. We had reports of the ceremonies, pictures of him and the lady in ceremonial dresses offering puja, stoking sacred fire ( presumably, by pouring ghee or butter oil) and lastly smiling on their way to a place in Rajasthan famous for its camel fair. The last picture showed them before a road sign bearing the place name, the protagonist triumphantly pointing out that, because his lady love’s middle name happens to be the same.
So, the affliction is not quite new.