If you are squeamish about reading pieces on certain revolting human activities, proceed no further. But if you are not that fainthearted march on. And read this before Cheeniya or Aruna relegate it to the IL dustbin because it ruffled somoone’s feathers. An idle and bored mind is really the Devil’s workshop as you end up doing all sort of crazy things. That is for normal people . Crazy people like me do normal things when they are bored. Take my own case I felt bored and started going through a collection of quotes by the 15th century French essayist Montaigne. That, you would say is a good constructive way of spending time instead of watching soaps in which everybody keeps slapping the other. The MIL slaps the DIL, the husband slaps the wigfe, mom slaps kids girlfriend slaps boyfriend or someone trying to get fresh with her etc. Tamil or Hindi soap slap seems to be the universal language. I suspect someone has taken a lot of stock slap shots and is supplying them to soap producers. That is really a slapdash way of producing TV software. Where was I? Montaigne ‘s quotes isn’t it? Trust me to go off on a tangent to slapping. Well let us reverse the reel and get back to Montaigne. 99% of what he said went over my head. Only one quote managed to penetrate my extremely thick head. “Scratching is one of nature’s sweetest pleasures and the one nearest at hand” . Very true and very profound and hardly anyone can start a debate on that.. Totally non controversial. Or is it? Montaigne failed to qualify his statement. Scratching what? He certainly wouldn’t have visualized the sarcastic and sinister avtars of the term scratching would acquire over centuries. “Backscratching” has now come to mean more than scratching. For instance “That fellow is scratching his boss’s back for a plum posting”. It is akin to bootlicking where you don’t actually blacken your tongue with polish but fawn away to glory. And “backscratching” is a far more widely applicable term than bootlicking considering that “back could mean an entire gamut of body parts ranging from the back of head to your actual back to areas further down below. And now be warned. We are now coming to the nether regions of huma anatomy. . So if you think you have skipped a heartbeat , just halt your march here.. In a media organization where I used to work few years ago the term “backscratching” was conspicuous by absence. It was instead replaced by a tern about scratching those round objects that form an invariable part of various field sports and that of of lower male anatomy. thianks to the editor in chief. This man, who gave the impression of rolling towards you with his tons of flesh instead of walking, was totally incapable of starting a conversation without neighing like a hourse and putting both his hands in his pant pockets to scratch, well you know what. Since he seemed to suffer from a 24X7 itch . the joke was the guys got their promotion and plum assignments by scratching his you-know-what when his hands were tired of doing that. And his urge knew no gender. One of the worst nightmares of our mild-mannered middle aged lady receptionist was the sight of this guy rolling towards her. As soon as she saw him ,her eyes were programmed to shut and her face turned red. Like the traffic light that screams “STOP”! But our man who wore a thick pair of specs was blind to all that. He stood before her, neighed like a horse and went on with his act. While the poor receptionist could shut her eyes, she couldn’t prevent her ears from taking in s noises coming from his pocket that sounded like a violin gone horribly wrong. Soon she quit the job and found employment with higher pay in a women’s college where she remained safe from any king of pant pocket orchestra. Our man once barged into the room of the company chairman, a cultured, soft spoken gentleman. “ Well what can I do for you?” he asked our friend. who promptly neighed and put his hand into his pockets. “ I am sorry” blurted out the boss “ I can’t do THAT for you”. Well, I have my own grouse against scratching., No this time, we are far away from human body... It is about these scratch cards which could bring you cold coins, cars , free vacations abroad and what not if you are lucky. I was often conned into buying useless items solely because they came attached with a scratch card. But whenever I scratched them the outcome was “BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME” . If anyone has got a car, gold or foreign vacations through scratch cards, please, please let me know. And if he had been lured into scratching cards, Montaigne perhaps would have thought more than twice before describing scratching as a pleasure.