Two Sides of a Coin
Bunny Suraiya
CHASING THE GOOD LIFE: ON BEING SINGLE by Bhaichand Patel Penguin/Viking, 2007, 188 pp., 325
September 2007, volume 31, No 9

Wandering through the pages of this book is almost like wandering across the candle-lit, music-soaked lawn at one of Bhaichand Patel’s parties (among the best Delhi parties I have been to and to which Jug and I shamelessly cadge invitations by phoning up Bhaichand and demanding to know why our invite hasn’t reached us yet). The people who have written for the book he has edited are by and large people I have met only at his parties, but because of the frequency of the meetings, I tend to think of them as kind of friends-once-removed and look forward to renewing my conversations with them each time we meet again. In this book, many of those conversations have been captured in print. The wonderful cover art (I have turned the book every which way to discover the name of the designer but failed to find it) is the proverbial picture that speaks a thousand words and the fact that the title is two distinct statements separated by different coloured fonts offers—perhaps unwittingly—a meaningful clue to the contents.

Chasing The Good Life seems to sum up the male attitude to being single in a vast, heterogeneous Indian metro city. It connotes, among other delights, freedom and the pleasures to be derived from this freedom. Khushwant Singh finds that right on top of his ‘list of the joys of living alone is the freedom to fart without being embarrassed’. Suhel Seth light-heartedly offers a ‘Bachelor’s Guide to Surviving Delhi’, which could more accurately have been titled a guide to seduction. It is entertaining and amusing, but you know it is not serious;

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