'Do you know what Hemingway said of Fitzgerald?'
'No?' And I showed him.
His talent was as natural as the pattern that was made by the dust on a butterfly's wings. At one time he understood it no more than the butterfly did and he did not know when it was brushed or marred. Later he became conscious of his damaged wings and of their construction and he learned to think and could not fly any more because the love of flight was gone and he could only remember when it had been effortless.Then, he said, you are Fitzgerald, and I am Hemingway. I write with effort, you write effortlessly - when you are drunk and when you are not. I looked at my other friends - they too were drunk. In the late hours of Soho, everyone was intoxicated, and you knew, that many of this city on a monday morning, required the calm that came with wine or whiskey.
'Yeh dukh saha na jaaye, hai ram - yaad piya ki aaye,' I sang.
'What does that mean?' And I showed him a picture.
'Your muse,' he said.
'To touch her…' I said.
'But you wouldn't,' he replied and smiled his charming smile that charmed innumerable women.
'Give me a paper,' - and I wrote.
When you began feeling a woman as you felt music, you fantasised that she was an instrument that you could play - or you, an instrument she'd play. If it did not happen, you felt desolate and distraught. Her hair, when I stood behind her, waved to my stomach. I cannot remember its scent or texture, nor her beautiful face that day - it was as though someone had sung me a note that I could not hold with my voice.
'Pour me another.'
'You'll damage your wings,' he said.
'It's already marred.'
So he filled another glass.