Tuesday, January 24, 2006

They Pass On The Torch of Life

Somedays you take the sorry route of quoting someone else to cover up the self-induced vaccum of verse or prose, or written text in any form. Routinely recite this one when watching cricket, which happens occasionally. I can't locate the silly point or the gully, though I know the on-side from the off-side. Never figured the googly, though pretended to. Yet, like all Indians, cricket is still religion for me.

Vitai Lampada
("They Pass On The Torch of Life")

There's a breathless hush in the Close to-night --
Ten to make and the match to win --
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
And it's not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
Or the selfish hope of a season's fame,
But his Captain's hand on his shoulder smote --
'Play up! play up! and play the game!'

The sand of the desert is sodden red, --
Red with the wreck of a square that broke; --
The Gatling's jammed and the Colonel dead,
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The river of death has brimmed his banks,
And England's far, and Honour a name,
But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks:
'Play up! play up! and play the game!'

This is the word that year by year,
While in her place the School is set,
Every one of her sons must hear,
And none that hears it dare forget.
This they all with a joyful mind
Bear through life like a torch in flame,
And falling fling to the host behind --
'Play up! play up! and play the game!'

Sir Henry Newbolt (1862-1938)

Monday, January 09, 2006

Themes explored...

Solar Eclipse of a "para"-normal kind

A little girl came running all excited and announced that she knew her grandad's email password. She didn't relent to the pestering by the curious-everyone. Only after they bribed her with goodies, she proudly revealed the secret key:

Sandmen: An antithesis to Calvin's Snowmen.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Chronicles of a Birthday Girl.

Its birthday time. Tomorrow I am getting a year older. Somewhere along the line, birthdays stopped being important. Somewhere along the line, I stopped reminding people of my impending birthday. Somewhere along the line, I became old. OLD. Many years ago, balloons gave me the cheap thrills I sought. Now nothing less than hot air balloons would do the trick.

I dont recollect a better part of the past. Yes, age is catching up on me. A few slices of the Birthday (cake?):

The Third
: My cake was shaped like a castle. Exactly like the one in the book of rhymes I had. My creative addition: my favourite red car was parked right outside. From the book:

What are little girls made of?
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and Spice and everything nice
Thats what little girls are made of!

The Fifth: My birthday dress was red and white. Checks. And it had apples in front. I distinctly remember thinking: Mango is a summer fruit, and apple is a winter fruit. And my birthday is in winter, hence it should be apples on my dress. Yes, logic came early to me. (Now I am in an eternal summer where mangoes and apples are available through the year)..... My birthday cake had five dolls. Their heads were made of biscuits, and had candles stuck on them. And their brown eyes were drawn with vanilla essence.

The Sixth: I received Readers' Digest (Richard Attenborough's) "The Living Planet" as a birthday Gift from Ma and Papa. Glossy books you would love running your fingers on, and they smelt so fresh. I was fascinated by the picture of the volcano. I promised to myself I will see a volcano, among other things, some day.

Few Years Later: I had a crush, a first. He hand-made a card. I still have it somewhere. It was before the sketchpen lined, crayon filled cards made way to the sweet-smelling-yet-fake cards from Archies/Hallmark. Till date, I havent understood the need for them.

The Sixteenth: I felt pretty. The dress was blue and red. Bright. The big group of people had made way to just a few close friends at home. I also felt grown up, rejected the hype around birthdays. People felt irrelevant. I felt irrelevant to people. But thankfully, this feeling was superficial. Between 10 pm and midnight that day, I received 15 phone calls, from people who mattered. To whom, I mattered.

The Eighteenth: Ma donated the defining words to history: "I give you your freedom". Used in quote-unquote a million times since, I still haven't understood the drama around hitting 18. I remember feeling responsible. Feeling adult. That's the day, I think, I lost my freedom.

The Few Fun years: Characterized by Midnight Birthday surprises (which weren't surprising at all), big get togethers, noisy celebrations. We made plans of the big life ahead, which was ironic since figuring what to wear in the morning seemed like a big decision then. I miss that. Sometime in one of those birthdays, I also received my first bottle of Escada Margaritha Ley. My love affair with perfumes started. I have the bottle. Still. Almost empty. Smells as sweet.

2002: Four days before the dreaded GRE. Remember being full of words, big ones: The "phobias" and the "-isms" finally got a name. Normal distribution was the common enemy in more ways than one. I also spent time figuring how Dave and Joe and Harry managed to live in a strange lane full of different coloured houses, where noone got along with anyone else. Remember being worried sick. About future. About the present. About why I couldn't manipulate the past. Remember watching "Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham" and not forgiving myself for it. Till date.

2003: Four days after I landed in Singapore. I missed Chennai, I missed Bangalore. I missed the comforts. More so, I missed the people. I lived in denial, so much so, that I didnt want any new friends. Phone rang almost incessantly all day. Considering the fact that noone knew my phone number yet, I felt important.

Last year: My close friend and partner in many a crime forgot my birthday. And I spent the whole day believing he was playing a prank and would call 5 minutes before midnight. At 230 am (Midnight IST), I realized that he really forgot. Will give him grief over it for ever and a day more. Hence etched it here.

Dad wrote a touching mail stating he never realized when I grew up from a small baby to an individual with a mind of my own. I took that as a compliment. I think he wanted to use the word "lady" somewhere, but I didnt fit into the role too well. After reading the mail, I cried for an hour.

This year: Pretentious as it my sound, I gift myself: a real yet surreal alter-ego, my nemesis. A quick trip to Malaysia, and a blog written with narcissistic fervour.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006