21 June, 2021

Sabira Merchant

The ordeal of teaching etiquette to Indian business delegations and political groups is finally getting to me.

Illustration by Saahil
Sabira Merchant

Phew! I can stretch myself a bit, clear the throat softly and take one-and-a-half sips of Tuscany champagne. Playing ‘The  Buckingham Secret’ was not easy, having to whisper so many secrets to the courtiers on how to react to the royal family’s new addition and at the same time coaching the royals how to curtsy in front of the new princess.

Thank God, the Camerons may come and go but the British aristocracy goes on for ever. I learnt from my friends in Bombay (mind you, it’s not ‘Mumbai’ to the royals, including me) who told me I speak better English than my English friends, in the matter of crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s. More than the British royals, the Indian corporates are keen to learn from me how to speak, read, write and, more important, master table manners, how actually pretending to eat while not eating anything at all. In the play, Death of a Salesman, the hero salesman did not die of a heart attack but out of starvation after being taught table manners from me in “not eating while...

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