Mirror, mirror on the wall
Who's the most handsome of them all?
My Facebook status a few days ago was, I quote, “apart from‘James Bond’, are there any other compliments for men”? I received many responses, a few regarding the pros and cons of being referred to as Bond, James Bond, and many other admiring comments (and some not so admiring ones too) were mentioned, and I was not shaken, but definitely stirred. My curiosity piqued as to why we conflate handsome with James Bond.
Because he is lomba and forsha? That may have something to do with it. Erm, that probably has a lot to do with it.
Because he is super fit and looks dashing in a suit? Yes, most definitely.
Because he wears expensive watches and drives expensive cars? Yes and yes.
Because he has a posh accent? Yes.
Because he is always the inveterate winning gambler? Yes.
Because beautiful intelligent strong women fall in love with him? Yes.
“Ekdom James Bond” and “pura 007” are however not just compliments about chehara, as the associations with him are acutely nuanced.
As I delve a bit deeper into the Bond aura, despite being ‘born’ in 1953, he eternally never becomes middle aged, and that is probably why he is held in such high regard; 007 does not turn old and grey or lose any hair, despite all the extremely hazardous occupational challenges he faces.
And he never dies either. He reinvents himself over and over again, and he makes himself useful and relevant. Furthermore, either he never experiences mid - life crisis or is perpetually in one, but to no disadvantage or denigration.
As long as he is alive, he remains ‘busy’, which implies he is important. And he regularly has ‘meetings’ with VIPs and bankers and talks in nothing less than millions and billions of dollars and pounds. And he knows all about deals, and all about politics and business too.
(I am not sure as to whether Bond was ‘brilliant’ in porashona, but he is certainly ‘highly intelligent’, and that is more than acceptable. Are we not talking about handsome? Why am I bringing in porashona? Well, how else will I use the word ‘brilliant’? Can there be any conversation without someone or the other being referred to as brilliant? Or busy?)
Bond may not have a group of companies; he is in.. well…in management, not in ownership, but no matter, he has an unlimited expense account and all the credit cards there are in this world.
In a few hours he can destroy his enemy’s businesses, sabotage deals, bring down governments, all while being completely impervious to interest rates and the stock markets. In a few minutes, he can size all the mastaans. And does anyone dare to file a case against him?
He uses not only the latest technology, but the future technology as well. Phones and cars are delivered to him (and ID cards and machine readable passports), and he remains blissfully unaffected about the budget, customs or excise duties. VAT is not a factor in his life either. Income tax? Oita ki? Visas? Never a problem. And then there are all the fabulous hotels and resorts that he stays in.
Despite not being in the top level of management, he can still work at his own pace, and all the important government officials, army personnel, and even the Prime Ministers know him. He has bhalo connections and access. He manages to secure dawats to all bishesh parties attended by the “elites of society” all over the globe.
As far as all the Bondwomen are concerned, they are always great looking, but his knowledge is superior to theirs, and he is usually right. He single-handedly rescues countless damsels in distress, proving that they need him more than he needs them. Women sacrifice their lives for him too. Koto lucky he is..
I am beginning to realise that no other compliment for the men encapsulates as much as 007 does. We women have to settle for “beautiful on the outside, beautiful on the inside”, “pura Hollywood” and “stunning”, but those are nowhere near as consequential as Bond, James Bond.
Now I am both shaken and stirred.
Chintamoni grew up in Dhaka, where she will always belong, but never quite fit in. She is an enthusiastic traveller, a compulsive procrastinator, and a contumelious raconteur.