Saturday, August 23, 2008

Quoting away...

It was our viva voce yesterday and they asked me to quote the apostrophe to Helen from Doctor Faustus.I come back to find Silverine asking me to quote some more.:-)

Colourless green ideas sleep furiously -Noam Chomsky's famous example which illustrates grammaticality and acceptablity.Words make sense when they mean but they turn magical when they have a heart.Jotting down quotes is something near impossible because scores of lines that can touch, chance your way everyday.Our HoD used to say,"Good literature is wasted when it is printed in newspapers."

Jot down 5 of your favorite quotes from the various books you’ve read. If you don’t have the books with you now, googling (Wikiquotes and the like) can be used to find them. Tag five people and acknowledge the person who tagged you.

Jack : " I am sick to death of cleverness. Everybody is clever nowadays. You can't go anywhere without meeting clever people. The thing has become an absolute public nuisance. I wish to goodness we still had a few fools left.
Algernon : We have.
Jack : I should extremely like to meet them. What do they talk about?
Algernon: The fools? Oh, about the clever people, of course.
Jack : What fools! "

The Importance of Being Earnest ,Oscar Wilde.

2."Faith in God is an opening up,a letting go,a deep trust,a free act of love-but sometimes,it was so hard to love."

Life of Pi
,Yann Martel

3."The tears of the world are a constant quantity. For each one who begins to weep, somewhere else another stops. The same is true of the laugh."

Waiting for Godot
, Samuel Beckett

4. "The hardest arithematic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings."

- Eric Hoffer

5. "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy,nor give with mindfulness of virtue:They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space.Through the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth."

- Khalil Gibran

I tag


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Streak of Gold

Olympics in the air and India shines golden for the first time.
A perfect time to think about the sports I ever dared to engage in.Now if you thought I was a budding P.T Usha or an Anju Bobby George,well ,I'm not responsible.

Though I made it into the world three minutes before my brother,it didn't exactly make me faster for life.My Ammamma used to recount how we mastered clambering up the stairs at our ancestral home a few weeks after we flipped over and started crawling.Neil zoomed up to the seventh step on all his fours while I languished on step one with a slow but determined pace.
The next target was the mango tree in our frontyard of our home in Trivandrum.It was the kind which was "climb-able"and provided an alternative entry to the terrace apart from the stairs behind the house.Neil devised systematic method to climb up and I naturally copied it.We had capital times on that mango tree though it was home to an army of red ants.

Neil's school provided him with all the official sports like cricket,football and basketball.It was during our summer vacations at Kothamanagalam that our girl cousins and I got to see his sporting talents.All of us, girls were good sports(if I may use the term)and shared the natural interest for cricket.We had matches with two member teams,rubber balls and madal bats and somehow Neil's team always won.We also played a crude sport which involved a wicker chair and a beach ball.One stands about 20 meters apart from it and aims to put the ball into the chair.My team lost many a time in that one too.

We got our first bicycle on our fourth birthday.Neil insisted on a BSA Champ while I settled for a pretty Russian doll.Ofcourse he didn't learn to cycle at that age nor on that cycle.However it catered to my purpose several years later.And I am proud to say that I learned it by myself(with a little help from the compound wall and the gate which sustained several scrapes and grazes).Shuttle cork caught us like a rage.We spent days playing tournament after tournament on the terrace.This sport also involved adventurous activities like dropping down to the sun-shade,trespassing the adjacent terrace and chasing the neighbour's dog to retrieve the cork.Sometimes we used to play past twilight with the emergency lamp on.

We were seven when Roller Skating became the talk of the town.The mornings early 90s saw a small group of people-young and old-on colorful skates, gliding around the Museum grounds.It was again Neil who signed up for it first.Papa and I would jog along while he "walked" with heavy skates with red wheels, falling down occasionally,only to get up with his characteristic smile, though his knees bled.A few days later,I decided to join in.We get a new pair of skates from the dusty old sports-shop at Pulimood and the next morning, I'm on wheels!

It was hard,the first few days.I scraped a lot of skin off my knees,and bit back the pain.But gradually the baby steps gave way to a smooth glide and soon I was zooming around with the others.There was a Skating rink at the Shangumugham beach and we spent a lot of our evenings there.We were enrolled in a local skaters association who called themselves the "All Kerala Skating Federation"(just like there is a Taj hotel at Thrikkariyoor ).What more,they conducted All Kerala Skating meets too.So one fine morning Neil and I geared up for our first ever 1 Km race.The race course was the by-pass at Chacka(back then it was under construction).There were four guys and me(for some unknown reason girls of my age kept away from the sport) at the starting point.

On your mark...get set...ready....go!

The guys lunged forward and were gone in a flash! Though taken aback for a moment, I dashed forward to join them.Soon I was out of breath.1 Km was a long way for my dainty legs.I could hardly see the retreating backs of my co-participants.Tears leaked out of my eyes.The toast we had in the morning had long been transformed into calories.My vision blurred,the few onlookers on either side sniggered,but Papa, who was jogging alongside,egged me on.I crossed the finishing line to find the boys already cooling their heels.

The next event was a State meet which was held at the Jimmy George Indoor Stadium.It was our birthday and we signed up for "Free Styles",Time Trails" and "Pair skating".Pair skating required partners to display those postures like "half-camel" ,"full-camel",spin and jump(if you can) in perfect sync.The lights are on us and the music begins.Neil and I glide smoothly over the floor.We do couple of "half-camels" and trace out "eights".There were moments when we fumbled in indecison.
However when the results were announced, we won the gold medal !
More than anything,I suspect ,we might just have looked natural together,and after all it was our day! I still remember skating forward to receive the medals We had them around our necks till it was time for bed.Just a tawdry piece of metal plated in gold with a navy blue ribbon,but that night it was pure gold!

It didn't take a genius to tell me that I was not the athletic kind.So I settle for the next best way to be a "sport"-Watch it on Tv :-)!

Viva Olympics! Congratulations to Abhinav Bindra!
Happy Independence day to all!

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Masquerade

The other day a friend of mine asked me to help him out with a speech for his 7 year old nephew.Now I am no Demosthenes or Aristotle to deliver authentic speeches on "Mother is a teacher".But I comply and sit down to rack my brain to squeeze out ten decent lines.It turned out to be like an MA essay,where one goes off in a tangent.The result is yet to be known.

I was discussing the incident with Mum when she fondly remembered that it was time for youth festivals in schools.It's a time when the schools buzz with creative activities of teachers,children and most importantly their ambitious parents.Singing (solo and group in all three languages),dances(folk,traditional and western),dramas, speeches(declamation,extempore),writing(essay, poetry and short story), drawing(painting,sketching)fancy dress and recitation;the usual items in every youth festival.Our school had a special competition called Flower arrangement with subdivisions like fresh flower,dried flower and vegetable carving.It was the fancy dress and flower arrangement competitions that caught my fancy as a 6 year old.

My Mum,a perfect sport in all the things we did,plunged herself heart and soul into getting me ready for the two.I turn up in the library where the event was to take place and realize that,the flower arrangement competition was not child's play.My tiny vase and a motley assortment of flowers(for which we hunted all over Chalai market the previous night and a few wild ones from the wall across the road) stood no chance among the exotic orchids,fragrant roses, gay anthuriums and colourful asters.Most of them had exquisite vases and pretty decorations like miniature fences, swings, wicker baskets and ribbons.Undeterred,I set about with the arrangement when the kid next to me whisked out a vase and an already set oasis from her big-shopper and smiled glibly at me!That evening Mum and I consoled ourselves with a declaration that we always believed in creativity.

The defeat at the flower-arrangement boosted our enthusiasm for the fancy dress competition.Mum had found this great book at Paico called Children's Fancy Dress & Parties which was exclusively on simple do-it-yourself fancy dress costumes(primarily meant for masquerade parties,quite unheard of in our country then).We browsed through a gallery of costumes ranging from Fairies to Red Indians and Robots to Clowns .There were a set called "Cheap costumes" which featured hula skirts and paper rabbit costumes.I was particularly impressed by the Fairy who looked quite pretty in a frilly sea-blue dress,gauze wings,a pearly tiara and a wand.I tried persuading Mum to settle for it but it turned out to be one of the most expensive costumes in the book.Somehow the stuff considered 'waste materials' in foreign homes are to be bought from stores here;those who watch 'Art Attack' on Disney channel will agree.Mum didn't want to let me down and settled for the Angel costume on page one.The book had a picture of an angel in golden robes,a blue and gold halo,a pair of golden wings and a harp.Not bad! I thought.

We soon set about making the costume.We hunted high and low for gold satin but in vain.So we settled for blue instead.We planned it with golden trimmings and star-shaped sequins.The harp,halo and wings works were undertaken by Mum herself,
armed with sheets of cardboard,a pair of scissors and gold foil.Soon the place smelt pleasantly of Fevicol and voilà !, they almost resembled the ones in the picture.The local tailors,however, accustomed to stitching only sari blouses and salwaar kameezes did a shoddy job with my costume.It looked like those dress robes in Harry Potter.Nevertheless I was excited about the competition the next day.

Mum helped me to dress in the green room, powdered my face with rose powder and stuck a few star-sequins on my forehead and there I was, a little blue angel! I could read satisfaction in her eyes.

We were soon asked to queue up according to the chest numbers.I joined the long line right behind my classmate who looked grumpy in a rabbit outfit with cloth ears hanging from his head , munching a carrot.The nun-in-charge mistook Neil sporting a camera,to be a participant and said sweetly, "And you are...ah! a Photographer,lovely! get into the line,dear!"

After a long wait in the queue of "doctors","teachers","Santas","fisher women","beggars" and "brides",it was finally my turn.I stepped lightly across the school portico (where the competition was held)stringing the harp and smiling the best I can,with a number of missing milk teeth.Our headmistress ,a very feminine nun,watched me with a puzzled look on her face until the compère announced "Chest no 23-The Angel".I spent about a minute putting up a cherubic performance("But trailing clouds of glory do we come/From God, who is our home:/Heaven lies about us in our infancy!")*.I was received warmly by my proud mother,off stage.We took a couple of snaps in very angelic poses and returned home immensely satisfied.

The results were announced the next day and needless to say my name was missing from the list."Maybe they didn't like an angel in disguise" said Papa,struggling to keep a straight face .Ofcourse we weren't disappointed;we still believed that participation was more important.However, it was a comment from a classmate that made the whole episode a hit.He spots me in class and exclaims"Hey ! weren't you the one who turned up as the bird!!!"

Dedicated to all those great parents who take efforts and delight in encouraging their child's dreams in the right spirit.

Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood,
William Wordsworth.