Wednesday, January 16, 2008

And then I knew fear

Being completely devoid of emotion is an accusation that is frequently thrown at me by friends and foes alike. I agree with it to the extent that I am not emotionally expressive, but then I feel emotions just as much if not more, than any of my more 'humane' critics. And I still have a clear and not so pleasant memory of the first time I felt fear.

"I will tell Dad and then you know what will happen!" was a frequently cited threat by my Mom to stop my sister and me from whatever disastrous activity we were upto all through our early childhood. But with age, (i.e by the time we reached the age which has been rather fashionably named 'Tweens') we began to realize that this threat was hollow. Dad being the most benevolent and kindly gentleman he is, was hardly to take up a sudden liking for corporal punishment. In fact, the threat was always from Mom; with reflexes faster than Kung-fu Masters when it came to a quick twist of the ear or a painful chop in between the shoulder blades. So comfortable in the knowledge where the real danger lay, we carried on in our merry tantrum filled ways.

One day in a fit of false rage, over some highly irrelevant hurt, I kicked off both my slippers in the drawing room lauching them in an ideal trajectory for projectile motion. As fate would have it, the end point of one of my innocuous projectiles doing multiple loops in the air was my Dad's cool-as-cucumber head as he sat peacefully watching TV, oblivious to all the chaos around him. The situation was undeniably comic and I allowed myself a giggle! Then I saw the look in my Dad's eyes...

My blood ran cold, a shiver ran down my spine, my life flashed before my eyes and all those literary cliches were reality for me in that split second. So the moment of judgement had come, out of the blue and I was just into double figures as far as my age was concerned. What ensued was one of the two times that my Dad actually gave me a beating (The second one I'll save for another day). It wasn't pleasant and the necessary effect has shaped my wayward life from that point in time. Needless to say, the much ridiculed threat was no longer hollow. I daresay my Mom indulged herself in a beaming smile for the manner in which my Dad finally got the message that it was high time. Well, all's well that ends well, I got to see the next day and many days since. But it's unlikely that I'll ever have a closer acquaintance with that emotion called fear!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Creativity-Intentional and otherwise

Looks like some people can really look into the future. A little town in South Gujarat, which does not merit even a express train stop eponymous with the golden boy of Indian cricket!
I think Airtel needs a new slogan. Presenting the "Lo Kar Lo Baat" STD PCO booth!

Now it all makes sense. That's why Kolkata Municipal Corporation (K.M.C) keeps breaking up perfectly good roads at the drop of a hat. Although the statement also sums up my behaviour in office whenever I am forced to do something that I am not interested in, which again is most of the time.

She fell from the sky

How do I that she is indeed a 'she'? Well, for that I depended on my 7 year old nephew who came up with the information that male budgerigars (Or love birds as they are commonly called) have gray or blue beaks. So by virtue of having an orange beak, my pet is a girl or a rather old lady I should say. Don't know what her original name was, but in her new home she was promptly christened Tweety in keeping with the wishes of my cartoon loving family. Having escaped from some cage in some neighbouring house, she had fallen battered and bloodied on my house's roof and if it hadn't been for my domestic help's timely intervention, the crows would have finished the job. But luck was on her side and she landed in what would definitely be the most animal friendly house in the neighbourhood!
Having a long standing specialization in treatment of injured birds, my aunt and my mom set about fixing Tweety up and soon enough she was chirping her heart out much to the dismay of my grumpy, disturbed early in the morning self. Night time requires her cage to be plonked inside the top floor room where I sleep and it takes only the first ray of sunshine to invade the room and she is chirping at her highest pitch and her birdy language "Put me outside! Put me outside!". Muttering in rage, it invariably turns out to be the first task I have to perform in the morning. And in contradiction to popular notions about bird-brains and their lack of cubic capacity, Tweety is a pretty smart chick. The first task that she carries out is to shake her bird-feed dish a little so that some of the seeds spill out. This ensures that she has the company of her sparrow friends who chit-chat and hop around her cage all day long.

People tell me that the quintessential definition of love-birds is that they live in pairs, so I should get her a partner. If I had it my way, I'd have set her free as I detest the idea of a beautiful creature like a bird imprisoned in a tiny cage. But out here in the big bad city, she probably wouldn't make it to the next street with the dark hordes of crows keeping a hungry eye out for her. And to her credit, she seems to have adjusted pretty well to her lonely existence. She only gets to see in the morning when I set off for office and then late at night when I return to put her cage inside the room. As I catch all the late-night football matches, I frequently find her hopping down from her perch for a midnight bite. And then all through the day, she has the company of her sparrow friends who are casually ignorant of my existence on weekends and holidays, even if I stroll by them. Tweety is great company on lonely days with her crazy antics like hanging upside down from the top of her cage, rock climbing around her cage with her beak and claws or doing a rapid back-and-forth dance routine on her perch bar. She is an fully independent function- pretty, cheerful and demands very little attention, but it wouldn't be unfair to say that she commands it. Succinctly put, she is my kind of girl!