Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sunday Scribblings - "Nearly"

What I have discovered over the years is that “nearly” doesn’t really cut it at any point, at any time, at any age - not as an excuse, not as an achievement, and not even as reassurance.

- Me, somewhat proudly: “I nearly passed my maths exam, you know”. Yeah, 38/100 may be have been a personal high (with 40 being the minimum pass mark), but “nearly” still didn’t get me a rank.

- English teacher: “Have you finished your assignment?” Me, cautiously: “Nearly.” She, incandescent: “What do you mean, nearly? Either you have, or you haven’t. Which is it?” Me: “Um… nearly have.” And that’s how I got detention on a Friday afternoon.

- “Did you win the quiz competition?” “Nearly.” “Nearly?” “Yes, we would have except for the teams in first and second place.” Riiiiight...

- Pete, reassuringly to me: “I’m nearly done”... and 3 hours later, he’s not moved so much as an inch from his workdesk, it’s past midnight, and we’re still at his office where we were only “going to stop briefly to pick up a document”.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sunday Scribblings - "Free"

Every single day that I was in school, no matter which school, I can’t remember the final bell ever going without the exhilarating feeling of “FREE! FREE AT LAST!” coursing through my blood, fizzing away like nitrogen bubbles and lifting my spirits. Not even the knowledge that I would be back in school the next day could take away from that joy.

Equally, I can’t remember ever imagining that adults would feel that way – because adults didn’t have exams or teachers or Zero Period, did they? (Not to worry, "Zero Period" was not anything to do with misbehaving female hormones – it was merely the school’s denomination for the unofficial but still compulsory “catch-up” class of 45-minute duration that was taken by teachers who were behind on their syllabus, before First Period officially began at 9 a.m).

Anyway, I thought of adulthood as release from the prison of schooldom, the poor deluded innocent idiot that I was. Who knew that at the age of 42, every single day come 5 p.m, I would still feel the same exhilarating feeling of “FREE! FREE AT LAST!” zip through my blood! Allright, so there is no “final bell” rung to announce the onset of freedom, and granted that there are no teachers or exams or Zero Period... but that rush of relief is very much the same.

There is one difference, though – the pure joy of “FREE! FREE AT LAST!” is tempered four days out of five by the knowledge that the next morning would see me back at my workdesk. I'm an adult, after all, and therefore unable to put off tomorrow's worries today.

On Friday evenings, though, all bets are off.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Sunday Scribblings - "Fire"

I don’t like the idea of dying by fire. Not that I find any other painful way of dying the tiniest bit acceptable, but I really, REALLY hate the very thought of fire. Maybe it has to do with our less-than-admirable history of women dying, voluntarily or otherwise, on their husband’s funeral pyre, or the even more reprehensible contemporary penchant of making funeral pyres out of women - aka “dowry deaths”. Or maybe I just think it's one of the most horrible ways of dying there is. Just think of the pain that even an minor, accidental burn (while cooking, say) can cause - and tell me that burning to death isn't one of the worst ways of dying. So, when I hear the word "fire", this is always what comes to mind first.

And then, because it's not at all a pleasant topic on which to dwell, I try to think of something else to do with fire that has a happier connotation, and my mind comes up with... no, not the story of Prometheus. Nor how Early Man might have come up with the concept of fire as a cooking medium. Nor even how Mowgli set Shere Khan's tail on fire (specifically, in the animated movie "The Jungle Book"). (I'd say things are beginning to look better on the pleasant-association front, aren't they?)

But the number one pleasant memory of fire is the song by Billy Joel - "We Didnt Start The Fire" - vintage 80s stuff and a song that I loved. The tune was catchy, but what I liked best was that the lyrics were basically just a string of words linked together to sort of encapsulate history - NOT history as from Early Man onwards but the more recent events and people. (Well, the events and people were "more recent" in the 1980s. For that matter, so was I.) It just seemed so cool. Put it down to the uncool teenage years.

And now I really have run outa steam.

Note: The reason for this disjointed post was to test what would happen if I forced myself to write when I didn't feel like it even given a prompt. Plenty of famous writers have advised that the only way to break through writer's block is to force oneself to write, even if the outcome is rubbish, until the flow is back. Alas, sometimes the outcome starts out and stays rubbish, the flow isn't even worthy of being called a trickle, and the block remains unbroken - as evident from this post. If you're wondering why I've published this post, it's because I want the world (or my three readers, at any rate) to read this and know what happens when one tampers with nature. It's a harsh lesson, but it had to be taught.