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like to dance as well... As I danced with the air host­ess, I kept look­ing at Jay and Su­jata dancing in a cor­ner. They looked like they were very much in love. My part­ner on the other hand had started to get frisky. She was touch­ing my shoul­ders and run­ning her hands slowly through the hair on the back of my head. She was hot, but I was be­ing cau­tious. I had had many ex­pe­ri­ences where girls had come af­ter me, just be­cause of the fam­ily I came from. There was a cer­tain high to be­ing pur­sued but in the end it al­ways fiz­zled out for me. They wanted to be with me not for who I was but for my fam­ily. The Birla sur­name made a dif­fer­ence to them that I could never un­der­stand com­pletely...

I de­cided to take a quick break and head up to my room for a breather… I had just got out of the bath­room when I heard the door­bell ring... I walked over to the door and looked through the peep­hole. It was an Asian lady... ‘Can I help you?’ I asked her. ‘I come for you,’ she replied, now sidestep­ping me and walk­ing into the room. Dressed in fish­net stock­ings and a miniskirt, the woman had long, flow­ing hair that reached down to her lower back. She wore way too much make-up and her cheeks looked like they had been painted red. Her top was a flimsy red thing that barely clung to her frame and her nails were long and pointy. She quickly made her­self com­fort­able on the edge of my bed...

‘I think you have got the wrong room num­ber,’ I told her, still keep­ing the door open. ‘You Yaaash?’ she asked. ‘Yeah, that’s my name,’ I said. ‘Then right room! You sit!’ she said with a very ac­cented voice. It must be a joke, I thought. Was this lady a pros­ti­tute? ‘What can I do for you?’ I asked her, still taken aback that there was a lady sit­ting in my room who claimed to have been sent ‘for me’. ‘You, me, we boom-boom,’ she replied now, point­ing to the bed...

‘Lis­ten, I don’t want you,’ I tried ex­plain­ing to the woman. She was a Filipino pros­ti­tute, and wasn’t ex­actly my type. Also, it was no se­cret in my group, I was still a vir­gin. The very idea of my first time be­ing with a woman like this made me un­com­fort­able. ‘I take off my clothes?’ she asked, now pulling a strap off her shoul­der. ‘No, no, wait,’

I wasn’t just Yash, the guy all my friends knew, the guy who went to col­lege and bunked lec­tures; I was a Birla. One thing I’ve learnt about life is that though to­day you are here, to­mor­row you may not be. I lost my en­tire fam­ily in a mo­ment.

I quickly mum­bled, ‘we’ll talk.’…

‘You know, your duty to your fam­ily is very im­por­tant but this busi­ness is very bad. You should not do this,’ I tried to tell the lady... ‘I know! But where money come from?’ she de­manded. ‘Why don’t you get a job in a store? You are beau­ti­ful, you can get any other work you want,’ I replied.

‘If I beau­ti­ful then why you no bang-bang?’ she quickly asked. I was taken aback by the ques­tion… I gave a lame ex­cuse: ‘I’m not feel­ing too well.’ She put her hand on my fore­head; it was cold as ice. ‘You no fever!’ she said. Pulling her hand away, I con­tin­ued my ex­pla­na­tion of what I thought she should do in­stead. The lec­ture lasted twenty min­utes and, by the end of it, the woman looked like she wanted to re­im­burse what­ever money had been paid by whomever and leave my room… Up ahead I could see Su­jata and Jay stick­ing their heads out of a room, look­ing at my face. ‘What was that?’ I asked them and they quickly shut the door, laugh­ing loudly at my ex­pense. When I banged on the door, Su­jata opened it and looked at my face sym­pa­thet­i­cally. In­side, Jaideep and Jay were on the floor laugh­ing and throw­ing their hands up in the air. ‘Who did that to me?’ I de­manded. ‘We were lis­ten­ing with our ears to your door, Guddu,’ Jaideep replied.

To­tally em­bar­rassed I turned red. ‘Guddu ne to bhaashan de ke bida kara diya usko!’ Jay shouted, still laugh­ing at a joke that I failed to un­der­stand. ‘We thought to­day would be the day you lost your vir­gin­ity, Yash!’ Jaideep added, clearly pour­ing a vat of acid on a very touchy wound...

In the end I found out that Lalit Modi had sat in Bom­bay and called up some people to or­ches­trate this whole thing. Gau­tam and Jaideep had been part of the prank as well and Lalit had some­how con­vinced my dad to join in...

Sit­ting in Bom­bay, Lalit and my dad re­ceived min­uteby-minute up­dates. ‘ Ab woh kamre mein gayi hai. Yash usko kuch bol raha hai, yeh ac­cha nahi hai... bhaashan se darke bhaag gayi woh.’ I could only imag­ine what they had been told.

Much has been talked about my body­build­ing in the me­dia, and, while all that is okay, to me this is a way of life.

(FROM LEFT) YASH BIRLA, JAIDEEP GAR­WARE, GAU­TAM SINGHANIAAND ROBIN SHAR­MAON THE COVER OF SO­CI­ETY MAG­A­ZINE IN MAY1988

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