I have always been great friends with her. Right since she joined my school and after waltzing around the groups, settled in with mine. Ever since she spoke and, as she says, found a connect in my words, and all I remember, we have been friends since then. That is, until now.
We were shuffled into different classes last year. A fair balance if you think about it, two years together, two apart. So I guess it changed last year. I guess the difference in sections and floors brought with it a mist. From cordial talks that required little effort to continue, we have come to “And? …And?….And?” From ecstatic telephone conversations, and endless laughs at meaningless jokes, we have come to cocking eyebrows and stares. From tightly gathered ponytails and run-loving legs we have, sigh, come to gossip too, yes, gossip.
And the comfort in sitting and talking is itching. The easy-ness in sharing is rough. And the excitement in hearing is slowly, and still slowly, breaking into routine. And all the cause behind the change is not un-willingness, not un-eagerness, not new friends…. but time. And the change it has brought in me, and her, and how i painfully seek something from her and can’t ask for it. (What, do I go to her and tell her what to say to me?) In response to the unmerciful awkwardness, I ask, and get asked, if there is something wrong, at home or somewhere, I am dying to blame this atrocious hurt on an external cause.
But it’s nothing I know. Just change. Old, grave change.
And what do I do? What ‘take’ must I adopt? Anger? Hostility? Irritation? Maybe they’ll work with her, the past’s closeness keeping the bond still fast…. but, it’s like a crack in the mirror. So- Ignorance? Outside help? Or the culprit, Time, itself? I don’t really know…
But what about him? He, also my friend? What about this frustration I set off today, in a moment of tension? What with him- Anger? Hostility? Irritation? …..Ignorance? Outside help? Time? ….. or maybe now, the Knife?
Here’s to old tales, our life-long memories!
It was a hot day at the port. The middle of June, the sun showing no mercy to the thin, dark-skinned young men and boys working relentlessly, loading and un-loading things from the ships at the harbour. The sweat dripped down their foreheads, like they were standing under a mid-day shower. Their hands got wet with the collecting moisture, and their mouths simultaneously parched. But they couldn’t stop working, all they earned was all they had.
In the middle of the chaos, there was a boy, young at nineteen years, new on the job, having only recently taken his father’s place as the latter was ill. He wasn’t accustomed to the continuous work, in the scorching heat. Two complete hours had passed before he concluded that he must have some water, or he would most certainly drop dead. But he couldn’t gather enough courage to ask the pot-bellied master, supervising his group from the shade of the tent.
With what he thought would be his last breath, he picked up yet another sack of oranges, ‘Imported from Florida’, and with yet another swing, deposited it swiftly in the neat stack. But as he did, he breathed out with effort, and coincidentally with his sigh, a few oranges rolled out, having courageously succeeded being transported!
And just like the mind starts seeing options when it fears it’s end, the boy got a wicked idea, and before he knew it, he had collected the rolled-down oranges, 17 in number, and sat down in an isolated shade of a vessel. Be what may the consequence, he was going to eat them. After all, what’s 17 when you have stacks!
It was his very bad fate that a policeman was on the rounds on the dock that day, and he caught him, red handed. What followed was a flurry in which the onlookers could only just make out flashing handcuffs, struggling and grabbing and finally, a police jeep roaring off, with the place the boy had sat with his oranges empty.
The poor boy found himself in a dim-lit interrogation room, with nothing but the chair he was siting on, a low lamp and a table, on which lay the 17 oranges in a breaking bag, still and staring at him accusing him of his guilt. The boy had had enough. He reddened his newly-acquired tan and steam almost blew out of his red ears. And then, for the second time that day, his mind saw on opening, and like a good criminal, he decided to remove the evidence.
Guided by a new energy to achieve, he closed the eyes and hogged down orange after orange. I’ll see what he charges me with! An innocent forty-winks at a new job? Ha! And at a pace he surprised himself with, the boy ate all 17 oranges, wiped the dripping juice, and sat with a grin on his fresh face.
Slowly, the time passed and he started getting restless, and then he saw it.
All the pips and peels left behind from the juicy oranges still sat on the table and glared at him, forging double guilt. Imagine just what might be going on his mind when he reached out for the first peel and hauled it down his throat full. Yes, he ate them all, fruit, peel and seed. And since then, he hauls orange-sacks at the dock everyday, never once complaining about thirst, or looking at the fruit, till date.
Today human beings can proudly boast about successful research about things as big as bulldozers, fires, chemotherapy, planets and solar systems, and the dynamics of hair styling.
At the same time, We have analyzed trivial things like paper clips, wafers, pen nibs et al. Soon, every atom of any item in the ENTIRE world will have been analyzed (type, material, origin, +ve points, -ve points) and put in some patented research, and what will we do then? Will the geography lessons at school start a new chapter “Water Patterns on Mars”, in the near future? I really hope not.
Really, where are we going with the flurry of scientifically observing everything? And where did it all begin?!
Let those fingers go mad across the internet and you’ll find “studies” that have predeclared our thought patterns, when we will die and as has lately popularised, when the world will supposedly end.
Of course, this doesn’t in any way condemn scientific research. (Because where would we all be if we still believed the Earth was flat; on the centric-most point possible?)
At the same time, I call it unethically wannabe to write bizarre papers, specially when labels then ‘professional’ or ‘survey’! I mean, ‘women sleep more than men?’ Commmmeeee Oonnnnn!
One strikingly clear example of how absolutely futile these “researches” are is the common joke- how one wealth mag will tell you to eat potatoes for a long and healthy life and the other labels it “toxically fatal”! And its off the charts when the blissfully publishes in different issues of the same periodical!
And a last, mind boggling example; though the chapters don’t say it like this, the students of grades ninth and upward are some or the other time TAUGHT how to “properly” analyze… “Write Pre-requisite knowledge first, then the Aim and then List the materials required…”
God, we have analyzed Analysis itself!
The verdict is, just about anything we observe in the common, we like to study and then, take a report out on. So lets also analyze the rice grain. Though we have already done that too; Basmati, handpound, and what not! But the phrase defines aptly our obsession with “defining” and “labeling” things “scientifically”. So lets pick up that tiny grain and calculate the exact amount of white and other colours in it, or the number of carbon atoms?
Is this an obsession to know? Or what?
When my dad got an 11th hour project, a seminar to teach to chartered accountants, I didn’t think I would be needed beyond editing the power point presentation. Little did I know that he would require an “assistant” for the en devour and when I did, all I had in mind was that black, formal skirt I was itching to wear, wear, wear! And then, as we sat in the car, the bomb fell.
I wasn’t going as my dad’s daughter….I was his ‘trainee’ for the next six hours.
Ask a fifteen year old to act her dad’s trainee in the field of finance when she knows nothing close to the matter but what shares are, and she would faint…. but me, I had that gorgeous skirt on and it was windy, so I just decided to go on with it! So I sat my fake-accountant rear in the car, and for the hour long drive assessed my position. When we finally realised it, my dad could just NOT STOP laughing that I would be calling him ‘Sir’ for the remainder of the day!!!
I had a beautiful skirt to flaunt. I had recently lost two kilos so I was looking feminine enough. I have good communication skills and can think up any wild story if needs be. And after all, I do have an excellent poise and winning smile 🙂
Anyone who observed for a few seconds would know that I was PEERING into any mirror I passed! All the time before we reached the center, I was yelling at myself to “ruddy, wipe that stupid grin off my face!”
And then there I was, just in time to find the ‘students’ (from 20 to 40 years!) file out for tea. Gosh, how I enjoyed the gazing- from skirt to face to skirt, with a pause at the slit! and then as it got very beautifully windy, I found myself just starting to swing ( ! ) and I went, “Geez Ruchika, pro conduct! ”
Obviously, I stood, walked and sat at the most strategic positions in the hall. Now that I had made the effort, I wanted the look, and skirt, to be appreciated! And after all the posing and smiling and evading personal interactions, and creating the mystery around ‘that girl in the skirt’, the seminar finally began.
Now I know how boring finance can be, so I’ll spare you the details. But I just sat my fifteen year old rear for the entire four-hour course gazing at the frolic audience, the instructor who was supposed to be my familiar dad, and the car keys. With the painted ‘winning smile’ on my face, I wondered how good dad’s name looked in print, how well the ‘J’ enveloped the ‘U’. And then daddy’s girl got nostalgic.
I slipped into thousands of good skirt-poses, and wished for the Nth time that I had not left my camera at my last vacation (but that’s another tale!) and played with the car-keychain-joint-doll and doodled to my heart’s content. And late as he was, a man walked in after an hour, to my absolute excitement as he looked so much like a long lost friend, I wanted to hug him for making my day! (But with the attire came the formality, thankfully!)
I am proud of my little stunt today! And though I had to make up a fib story just once, I did pretty good. I’m proud especially to evade a mishap, like the Angelina Jolie leg-jut at the Oscars, in my formal skirt excitement!
Because COME ONE, how often does a 10th standard kid go and sit with 30-40 year old chartered accountants and call herself a pro, and NOT GET CAUGHT!!!
Since this is my first post on WordPress, or on a blog in fact, I want to start with a flashback motion picture of getting here. No, you don’t have to sit through a lesson of ‘My History’ and I sincerely don’t intend to make it like that, this is just a story! A story of what caused a school-girl to set up a blog and start writing out to the wide world, for no reason, and with no aim.
When you are in tenth grade, no-one reminds you that Fridays call for the special, white uniform, and the excuse “I didn’t remember” is just as if you didn’t speak at all. Because before you realise it, they are calling you sophomores, and you may not be ready to act the part, but you do go around boasting the sheer fact that you’re senior to one more class this year. When half the year has gone by, you’ll realise you might just have boasted about breathing.
So, with a new academic session rolling in, I had new choices to make. No, not those resolutions they force us into at the assemblies, but choices literally, as in what art subject I wanted to opt for and so on. Half of the decisions depend on what I want to do, and the remaining on the number of people who will give company. With that, the focus on friends comes in. Who is doing what and why? And can I join?
So, okay, there’s lots going on, but why blog? And since there is so much ‘on’ already, really, WHY blog?
Because sometimes, in the flurry, I want to be heard, as a girl who’s expressing. Now with so much to control in the first month, I can’t get authorities to relish the change with me, and by the time one’s in senior school, children are already deciding their careers and all, and they just can’t listen to idle discussion in the first week. So, however ardently may I write, I don’t get an audience to share the butterflies! (Not that blogging promises that, but at least I am out and available!)
With my loyal orange-back notebook in my bag, I went to school for two whole weeks and adapted to the early morning rise, after the oh-so-good end-of-term vacation. I kept on writing the first few days, but into the end of the week, we knew it wasn’t too much a rush to not talk, so the notebook slipped back in the bag more often. And people started listening, because we really didn’t care it was tenth, we were still buddies!
Yet, I am writing.
Because I realised you don’t need to be alone to need a blog! You only need to be free enough. I don’t need to have those standing-alone-on-a-New-York-street-while-the-crowd-pushes-away kind of nightmares to want to blog, WordPress would go crazy if it was so!
So, I am blogging, and hope to do regularly, because I want to write out! And I suggest anyone with a comment just drop it down there because, hey, I appreciate it!