I've been five days in Italy as I type this on a train north to Bologna from Ancona. On my right I’m presented with uninterrupted views of the Adriatic Sea, with the tracks laid behind miles and miles of sandy beach. On my left, little towns dot the swelling hills of the Italian countryside, competing for my attention.
Five days isn’t long but I’m taking the liberty to qualify myself to comment on the one thing that’s especially distinct about Italy- its aptitude for style. Style in its automobiles, architecture, social etiquette and language but most noticeably, in its people. This nation sets the standard in dressing well and I swear by David’s marble genitals, it comes as naturally to them as breathing does to you. The Italians have the ability to marry colour, fit and ensemblelike no one else can, made easier by the population being in incredible shape. For most of the world the three basic needs are food, shelter and clothing. Well, here in Italy it is being stylish, eating big Italian meals and being more stylish than they were yesterday- everything else is secondary. I previously thought the Singaporeans were the mostconscious of how they are turned out, but they have nothing on the Italians.
And while I’m at it, might I point out how many ridiculously good looking women there are wandering around. Even after your subjective adjustments for my perceived exaggeration, there is much truth in what I report. In India, stunners are few and far between, maybe one in one hundred. In Italy I’d put it at two in three. This calls for an exercise in upward recalibration of double take standards; sadly even the pretty one’s cannot be afforded more than a passing glance lest you miss a goddess or four in the process.
Unlike in India where a beautiful woman is not likely to belong in a lower socio-economic category and not likely to beemployed in certain jobs, beautiful women in Italy permeate all sections of society and transcend all manners of employment. For example, a few days ago I was at the bus stop at Ascoli to receive relatives who were to arrive from Rome. The bus pulled up, the door swung open and the most breathtakingly beautiful blond woman stepped out, of course dressed ready for a night out. I assumed her to be a passenger but imagine my surprise when she glibly walked over to the hold, heaved open the doors, helped the passengers who alighted retrieve their bags, closed the hold and got back onto the bus. She was the Italian equivalent of Manju the cleaner. Musing over the testosterone riot she would kick up if she walked into Monkey Bar on a Friday night, I considered putting her in my bag and bringing her home. In two weeks of being in Bangalore she would be an anointed A grade socialite, sipping bubbly alongside a honcho’s jobless wife at an Art Gallery. Here in Italy she’s invisible just like how Manju is invisible in India.
With that being said, my little sister is married and without the obvious bias, I can say without hesitation that this has been the best wedding I have ever been too.
Back at the villa I met with family, many of whom I hadn’t seen in more than a year and went to bed early. The next day was the big one and it’s just as well I write about it some other time because the public address speakers announce that we are pulling into Bologna Central. Earlier this morning I took the 7.10 Regional (slower train, no reserved seating and cheaper) to Ancona from SBT to connect to the 8.25 am Regional for Bologna. The current time is 11.42 am, which gives me about 40 minutes before departure to my final destination of the day, the Allepy of the West- Venetia.