Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Art of Flirting
A Glimpse into “Roman Tales” by Alberto Moravia

I love reading.

And of all the genres I read, I like to read fiction, especially short stories.

This afternoon, I delved into my bookcase, and picked out a delightful book of short stories – Roman Tales by Alberto Moravia

I have plenty of books – most of them picked up from pavement bookstalls, especially the ones that existed opposite the CTO (Central Telegraph Office) at Hutatma Chowk (Flora Fountain) in Mumbai.

Every time I buy a book, I write the date and place of purchase, and I have duly recorded that I bought “Roman Tales” on 21 October 1994 at Mumbai.

I love Alberto Moravia’s writing style – precise, and with subtle wit.

About Alberto Moravia’s writing style – let me “show” rather than “tell”.

Here is a glimpse – a humorous take on “Flirting” – the first paragraph of my favourite Alberto Moravia story (from Roman Tales) called SILLY OLD FOOL.

“If you are in the habit of flirting with women, it is difficult to realize when the time for that is past and women begin to look upon you as a father or – even worse – a grandfather. It is especially difficult because every middle-aged man has, inside his head, another head: his outer head has wrinkles, grey hair, decayed teeth, lustreless eyes; his inner head, on the other hand, has remained just the same as when he was young, with thick black hair, a smooth face, white teeth, and bright eyes. It is the inner head that looks longingly at women, imagining itself to be visible to them. But of course women see the outer head, and say: ‘What does he want, the old scarecrow? Can’t he see he’s old enough to be my grandfather?’... 

Think about it – especially, if you are a middle-aged man with a “roving eye”?

Before I begin to read the stories in ROMAN TALES (for the umpteenth time) let me end this post with a quote from Alberto Moravia: “…the language of literature is always truer and more poetically expressive than the spoken language…”

Do read the passage from “Silly Old Fool” on “Flirting” once more, have a laugh, and think about it.

Flirt Away – And Have a Good Day.

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