It is tough to live as a man of no taste. You are looked down upon even by your fellow-tasteless people and, as for the ones with taste, you barely belong to Homo Sapiens. To be looked upon like a worm may be quite all right for worms but it gets boring for you to be constantly looking down to check whether you are actually walking or slithering in your own slime. So, I decided to go out and acquire some taste - or, at least, the reputation of a man of taste - from one of my friends.
I did not quite like that up and down glance that clearly shouted, "YOU? A Man of taste?" but, thankfully, he did not voice it.
"You know what the problem is with you? You like too many things. The less you like, the more a man of taste you are"
He gave me an exasperated glance.
"Let me explain..now what do I explain about...hmm..the only thing I suppose you will understand is food. Ok! See..you cannot praise idlis, upma, pizzas and gourmet foods..you have to be selective."
"I see...so I praise upma and criticize Lasagna..."
"There you go. I thought you would be that type. The sort to wax eloquent about Arnie Swarzenegger movies and sneer at Akiro Kurosawa. The second lesson is - sneer at what is popular and praise what is not."
"Hmm - so, if it is popular, it is not in good taste.."
"Correct! So if idli is popular and pasta is not, then sneer at idli and praise pasta. If pasta is popular and idli is not, then praise idli and sneer at pasta"
A bulb lit up in my mind.
"AH! SO that is why the sophisticate of one country is a rustic in another? The popularity ratings of things are different."
"Shut up! Do not try for a PhD while you are still in Kindergarten."
I was suitably chastened.
"But...how do I know what is.."
"Must be easy for you..all you have to do is check if you like something. If YOU like it, then sneer at it. You will never go wrong."
Easy as pie. Like lesser things and sneer at everything I like. Soon I would be a well-known man of taste. But...
"Exactly how does one sneer?"
My friend was aghast.
"You have no idea how to sneer? I have heard of plumbing the depths...but this.."
He was speechless. After a while, he said, "Look down your nose at such things. Tilt your head up first."
I duly tilted.
"NOT like you want the barber to shave under your chin! Tilt it just a bit"
Losing patience, he seized my face and tilted it to the appropriate angle.
"Now try looking down your nose"
I tried. I really did. After going quite cross-eyed, I just about managed to sight the tip of my nose.
My friend fell over laughing.
"I ask you to look supercilious and you manage to look like a clown. Like you are making faces to amuse a child."
I went red.
"Can't blame you, I suppose. You need an aquiline nose to look down the nose properly. Your pug nose just does not suit"
Shit! NOW that I had the know-how to be a man of taste, I am defeated because I was fitted with the wrong nose. Thank God, I really like most things and do not feel the need to sneer at anything in life.