I’d like to begin with this:
Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an off-hand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way
Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then the one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun
And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you’re older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death
Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone the song is over, thought I’d something more to say
I’ve been wanting to write something about ‘time’ since times immortal. But then, time happens to be a very complicated subject to talk about; for me, cause its bundled up with nostalgia. Now nostalgia as we all know can be pleasant sometimes and disturbing on other occasions. I choose not to experiment with luck these days and I’m trying to avoid unnecessary thoughts. Especially since its nearing the 14Th of February. Hrmphh, guess I’ll surely come up with something by then cause I’m celebrating one year of worry less life on that date. A year of life after the shackles were broken, a year since I began sleeping peacefully and a year since love ended. Or so I want to believe. Couple of days more! Wow, now that’s an accomplishment and come to think of it now, god damn! Its a year since the misery (mine and her) ended. Well, more on that later.
For now, I was pondering about how much time I’ve wasted and its true what they say, time and tide, once gone never return! I’ve wasted a lot of my time doing things I should have avoided. Its pointless cursing myself now but then I’m going to take up this opportunity to remind myself of how big an imbecile I am to have whistled away those many hours, those precious seconds. I should have been utilizing the nanoseconds god gave me by doing something worthwhile. Its during times of self-inspection like these that I realize that I haven’t respected time and thereby I haven’t been fair towards my Karma or my purpose in life. I was certainly not made for loitering around malls buying random stuff that I may or may not need, sometimes for someone else who in the end was all geared up to crush my heart!
Now, you’ll would probably wonder about why I’ve suddenly come to this moral epiphany. Its more than just a divine manifestation of thoughts in my head giving birth to these rather sad feelings in my heart. This is me looking into what I’ve done thus far with my life and a retrospective self-justification to myself. A feeble attempt at telling myself to step up and grab life by its crotch! Sadly, I guess I’m just a fat fuck lost in melancholy. I dug deeper into the time I’ve lived thus far hoping to find a story worth telling. A story that’s devoid of variations caused by my will to shine. I went quickly past my work life and the part of my life that I’d like to forget the most – college. Arghhh, that was horrid! Except of course for Prab. Prab is an amazing person and I’m sure he’ll be there with my for the rest of my life as my only gain from the limited time I spent in college. I had to track back right up to grade 4 when I was a stupid kid who knew nothing but Malayalam. A kid trying to even it out with the many bright kids that plagued his classroom. This happened to me and this incident makes me feel like I’m alive – even today! I can nearly feel the worry of a little boy. I can feel his apprehension and I can still heave the same sigh of relief that I did 16 years ago. It was all about a pencil…
Satya was this awesome sport man who was loved by all. He was a teachers pet cause he looked cute and I guess the girls dug him right from then. We were supposed to use pencils when working on our ‘classwork’ books so that we don’t ruin it. Later on, once the teacher checks it we’d get to re-write it in the fair copy with a pen. Or if I remember right that happened after the 5Th grade when pens came into picture. Fountain pens mind you. Ball pens were taboo! Heh, silly things like thee make me want to go right back in time and be seated next to one of my classmates. Those pesky, rather nasty beings who had everything but love for a fellow who hadn’t studied for his exams. They’d try their level best to cover up what they wrote on their answer papers. Copying was for the scum of the class, the last benchers. I’ve strayed away… precisely what happens when I write about events close to my heart.
So, yes, Satya. Satya had this beautiful red pencil which he had acquired from someone who had recently returned from ‘abroad’. Abroad here implies a place outside of our knowing. It could be the US of A or it could be the street next to my house that I don’t know of. This pencil; it was the object of envy for me from the day I saw him draw lines with it in his geometry book. I wanted it so bad that I stared at it and hoped that it’d hear my plea and come running to me. Satya could never negate the pencils will! It wanted to come to me, so it did. My concentrated efforts led to nothing but scornful looks from Satya. Probably wondering about why I had my eyes set on his amazing pencil box. Ohh, if I did not mention it, he had a double decker pencil box where he could neatly stack up pencils, scales, rubbers (as we called it then and I dare not refer to an eraser as a rubber now. Heh, we’ve ruined English) and everything else that he could own and did not want to share. I had the old scratchy camlin geometry box that I hated since the time I saw his box. On this specific (but lucky day I might add) he was seated next to Vinod B, an Einstein in the making. I had gone through my ritual of staring at all the cool stuff these cool kids had and gotten back to being my unappreciative self. I was at that point in time cursing dad for not buying me new white shoes. As I cursed on, I heard something fall, ever so gently; as if it was meant only for my ears and then I saw it roll over to my feet; as if it was meant for me! I was filled with incessant joy. It was the pencil. The red pencil I so wanted. It even had a red conical ending to its top portion from where the lead began. I caught a glimpse of Satya and Vinod talking and I hoped that neither of them noticed what I was up to. I slowly slid the pencil under my feet and began gleefully talking to my partner. The bell rang, the kids got up and made a run for it. They all just wanted to go home. I had pocketed the pencil by this time and had rushed out with the rest of my peers. I just wanted to get the hell outta school and rush home. I’d hide it away and shower it with all my love I thought.
The next day was Friday and I was destined to be stupid that day. The first bell rang and we sang the national anthem and settled down with class work. Here is where I extracted the red beauty which was neatly hidden in my camlin box which looked as though it had survived brutal carnage. I began writing away with it. The text I wrote appeared so beautiful that I was lost in its beauty. By this time Satya probably noticed that he was missing his awesome pencil and had begun freaking out. He turned around and caught a glimpse of me with his pencil. Here he went, “Hey, that’s mine!” and I go all crooked eyed and sly. “What? No, this is mine. Uncle got it for me from Dubai” Uhhh, alright, I had no one in the US of A then, OK? “But mine looked exactly like that and I don’t have it anymore” he said looking all perplexed and slightly embarrassed at being unable to differentiate between his pencil and mine. We spoke about it for a while and he seemed to carry on with his work. Crisis averted I thought and continued on my gleeful journey with the red stick of lead. The period after lunch arrived and here we had our class teacher, Mrs. Shirke walk in. We quickly finished our after-lunch prayer and settled down for a boring class. After lunch classes usually meant a lot of snoring, boring, farting and cranky kids. Mrs. Shirke was talking to Satya and I noticed her turned towards the class unhappy about our dishonesty. I chose my lie to be our collective failure. I just decided to ignore what was going on and continued yapping with my partner. Here Mrs. Shirke shrieked, “Anup!!! Stand up…” I stood up with a sheepish grin. “What are you smiling about?’ she questioned. “Nothing miss” I said meekly trying to avoid eye contact. “Ok, you come here now” she said. i walked up and stood next to Satya. Here she began questioning me:
Miss: Have you taken Satya’s pencil? The red one?
Me: Me? No miss, I have only one red pencil and I bought it from Mayur shop near my house.
Satya: Haaaa… miss, he’s lying. Yesterday he told me that his uncle bought it for him from Dubai!!!
Me: Noooooooo miss… I bought it from Mayur.
Miss: Ok Anup, you buy the same pencil for Satya and he’ll give you the money. He’s lost his pencil.
Me: Ok miss.
Satya: How much money?
Me: 10 rupees (that was the largest amount I could think of then)
Miss: Now go to your seats both of you stupid boys.
Satya looked disgusted cause he knew I was lying and he quietly went over to his seat and sat down. Here on I experienced a surge of guilt and remorse and it was nothing like what I had ever felt. I was sad and lost throughout the weekend not knowing what to do. I couldn’t’t talk about this to my parents or anyone else for that matter cause I had stolen what was rightfully someone else’s. I had broken all the values my parents and my school had taught me. I did try to justify myself once in a while. I did not steal it, you know? It just rolled into my pencil back, didn’t it? I spent Sunday trying desperately to find a pencil like that in Mayur. I remembered dad telling one of his friends, “Mayur is a good general store, avide ammem pengalem oyichu ellam kittum” translated – You get everything except a mom and a sister. Mayur wala also couldn’t help me. I was lost and could not find sleep. I even tried avoiding school on Monday but mom was mighty smart; she ducked under my lie and sent me packing.
As I sat on my desk expecting the worst to happen, I could hear the kids call me all kinds of names. Chor, chortya, dhaprya. These are all variations of the word ‘thief’ I was expecting the worst. First period, prayer done. I prayed hard this time. Mrs. Shirke looks at us sternly and begins teaching. I could feel the seconds go by in milliseconds. I thought she’d take this matter up after the class ended. To my amazement, neither she nor did Satya come up with this unsolved case. Then the next period slipped by and then another. I couldn’t eat and I wasn’t able to be my usual self. Slowly but surely the day went by and I couldn’t believe my luck. They actually forgot. The entire class of 40+kids and the teacher forgot about it in over two days. What kinda luck god did I pray to? I hid the pencil away and never bought it to school after that. The days slipped by and no one ever spoke about the pencil. I don’t have the pencil anymore, but I have its memory and I can still remember how it looked in my hands. Someone else’s prized possession. It looked sad and stolen. I’d never forget those few weeks. I spoke with Satya recently and told him about what had happened then. He was completely blank about this ever happening. I sometimes wonder if Mrs. Shirke and he let it go on purpose. Just cause they were angels in disguise. I was a lovely kid. I never stole after that.
Aha! I feel refreshingly awesome now. Even though its 2:30 AM and I have had a rough day at work. its memories like these that keep me going. For all the time I’ve wasted, its memories like these which seem to make up! Thanks Satya.