This conjures up an image of a photograph I had seen some place. Perhaps in an old issue of Playboy even, featuring aphrodisiacs and erotic food as displayed on different parts of the female anatomy. The one with oysters has a close up of a shapely woman’s pelvic region from the waist down to her upper thighs. Arranged like the bird’s nest in a diamond shape is fresh mesclun lettuce, that hides and at the same time enhances her pubic areas by giving them the fall colors,  rusty red on the fringe of wild green leaves, the edges of the leaves simulating the curls of thickly concentrated pubic hair. Three shucked dark shelled oysters are placed at the each corner of the lettuce – raw, moist, succulent, tender and glistening. A tantalizing image even for those of us who shudder at the thought of eating one of those.

I look back at Rémy and smirk, still with I don’t know expression on my face.

‘Come on, try one or two. I’ll help you’ And even before I have time to say anything, Rémy has picked up an oyster from the platter. In his other hand is a little baby fork, with which he expertly and gently dislodges and tugs the oyster out of its shell and is holding it in front of my mouth. Seeing I am still hesitant, he asks me to close my eyes and open my mouth.

It feels on my tongue like a lump of slimy moss. I feel something moving over my tongue on its own and I’m about to throw up. Instead, I swiftly pick up my wine glass and take a big swallow and the first oyster of my life is on its way down crawling through my system. I pick up and break a piece of bread and then wash it down with another gulp of wine. Rémy’s eyes are riveted on me.

‘See, it wasn’t too bad, was it? Let’s try one more time.’ Doesn’t he see the tears rolling down my eyes? Even if he does, he is incorrigible. He yanks out another oyster and down it goes.

‘Now try it yourself!’ Still feeling squeamish, I mimic the ritual of first squeezing the lemon, holding the oyster in my left hand and pulling it out with the little fork and slowly lift the lumpy little slime and catch it between my lips, let it linger on my tongue, feel and taste the freshly squeezed lemon juice, even chew it a little bit, and let it slide down on its own. And I try the another one, and yet another one.

Delicieux.     

© Haresh Shah 2013

Illustration: Celia Rose Marks

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Next Friday, September 5, 2013

CORPORATE CASTE SYSTEM

Anyone who has worked for a corporation – big or small – knows all too well that he must deal with peculiarities of an organization. Face the small irritants here and there and find out for himself  that the world hasn’t changed at all, that we must still strive to be the fittest to survive. And most of us do, if with a little sense of humor.

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