Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sassy Ray Gay Friend noses through Charulata's notebook


(If you have no idea what I'm talking about, see the real Sassy Gay Friend on the Second City Network!)

SPOILERS!

Meet the bored and lonely titular heroine of Satyajit Ray's Charulata.
Charulata husband's Bhupati is a newspaper editor with Big Issues on his mind and no time to pay attention to her.
Her life is turned upside down when Bhupati's little brother Amal comes to visit.
Amal is too much a tall drink of literary-minded Rabindrasangeet to go unnoticed, but he's also too much a baby to know how to deal with Charulata's feelings cleanly. Perhaps if this were a Hindi film, the two men would stand on the edge of a perilous cliff fighting over which one of them should get the brotherly honor of giving her up, but since this is Ray, Charulata has some agency in the matter and everyone discusses politics while awkwardly shuffling around their mansion for a few weeks. 

This fate could have been avoided if she'd had a Sassy Gay Friend.
Get your own at the Sassy Gay Friend Meme Generator!

Calcutta. 1879. Charulata is staring through the slats of the window with her binoculars.

CHARULATA 
Sigh.

SASSY GAY FRIEND
Enters in a swirl of fabric and smoke as he tries
to adjust his shawl while holding his pipe at a jaunty angle.
He accidentally sweeps a doily off of an end table
.
(to no one in particular)
Chabi Biswas makes this look so easy.

(to Charulata)
What are you doing? What, what, what are you doing?

CHARULATA (nervously eyeing her diary on the bed)
What do you mean?

SGF
For starters, you haven't said a thing about whether I can rock this pipe, but mostly I'm concerned with this little fraternal love nest you seem to be trying to feather.

CHARULATA (her face softening)
Amal? He's just helping me with my writing.

SGF
Oh sure he is, doll. Next you'll try to tell me a flute is just a musical instrument.

CHARULATA
Tee-hee.

SGF
I can't believe you made him a notebook. And I know you've spent hours wondering whether he's written anything about you in there.

CHARULATA 
Like you could resist him either if you had to spend all day in this house!

SGF
But this is Amal. Amal. You couldn't find anyone a little further from the family tree to get your long-lingering-look jollies with?

CHARULATA
You have seen Amal, right?

SGF
Oh believe me, I get it, but giiiiirl, that boy is trouble. Even if he weren't your husband's brother, he strikes me as a smidge of a man-child who won't even have a conversation with you about what exactly is going on. And why was he so pouty about your success in the magazine? Congrats on that, by the way—look at you, published author!

CHARULATA (brightening)
Thanks!

SGF
And since he is your husband's brother, you know this has dead end written all over it. You've noticed he never makes a move, right? He's just not that into you—or at least not that into running away with his brother's wife.

CHARULATA (offering SGF some paan)
Sigh.

SGF
Let's focus on how to keep you from becoming this week's Calcutta scuttlebutt. 
Eyes the paan suspiciously.
The last time I ate a strange leaf, I woke up with a bunch of hijras on a fishing boat 10 miles out at sea....
Shrugs and pops it into his mouth.
Anyway, you need to put down those binoculars and take a look at yourself. Look at your choices.

CHARULATA (beginning to sniffle as tears roll down her face) 
What choices? I've never gotten to make a choice in my entire life. At least with Amal around, there's a chance to do something new, to push myself in a different direction, to reach out and grab...

SGF (interrupting, eyes wide)
Grab what, exactly?

CHARULATA (looking down sheepishly)
He had a rip in his kurta, and he had to take it off so I could mend it, and....

SGF (clapping excitedly)
I knew it! You big slut! Good for you! But we should save the details for next time we're out of your husband's house, non?

CHARULATA (her face falling)
I'm never out of this house.

SGF
Eesh! There's a depression over the Bay of Bengal and its name is Charulata!
Grabs Charulata's hands and dances her around the room. 
Here's what we're going to do. Let's ask Bhupsybums for a trip to London to improve your political education. Leave Amal to fry in his own mustard oil for awhile. I think he's going to be very unhappy without you there to be his admiring audience and shirt-mender. And you can craft him a perfect "aloof, unavailable ice queen" goodbye letter that's one part "Toodles!", one part "Good riddance," and just a hint about all the dashing young dons you'll meet at lectures at Oxford.

CHARULATA (smiling)
And we can go to the British Library! And visit Dickens's tomb!

SGF
Rolls his eyes to audience.
She really knows how to hit the town, doesn't she?
Pinches her cheeks.
You're so cute. Baby steps, ma chère. PS, love what you're doing with the sari and lace-trimmed blouse that comes all the way down to your wrists. The Empress approves—and I'm not talking about Vicky.

They dance down the terrace towards Bhupati's office. 

CHARULATA (flinging open the door to the omnipresent bird cage) 
Fly, my pretty! Fly!

SGF 
To audience, over his shoulder.
She really is a stupid bitch. 

0 comments: