Wednesday, October 06, 2004

To go back in time.... again and never again.

Now that my colossal pile of work is about a nanometer less high, I guess I’m justified in dwelling on the things that I’d like to redo.

When I was a little kid, I used to sit below the dining table and imagine it to be my castle. The space enclosed by the 4 legs of one chair would be my throne and I would sit under it. The remaining legs would either be more rooms, more people, more princes… whichever caught my fancy. I remember teaching the same trick to my cousin once, and she wasn’t even slightly amused. She had an actual tent big enough to hold her and a brother who would play prince, person or room just so she’d stop trying to scribble on his precious book report. The three-legged chairs don’t squarely form my throne anymore. In any case, I’d like to go back to the world where frogs, when kissed transform into handsome princes instead of giving you a rash.

A few years ago, we went on a vacation to Vaynad. Our hum saath saath hain family consisted of almost 20 people, each of us insisting on having fun in our own way. Even when it came to card games we’d have endless debates on which game to play. Literature was too long, poker can’t be played amidst the children, rummie was too boring and what not. Vaynad, was beautiful. How we managed to get ready and look around is beyond me. There was always someone getting a sprain or faking a stomach ache. I remember the vacation because it suddenly dawned on me that I had a huge family. Never mind the dozens of diwalis that we celebrated together. It didn’t strike me until I stood in that sylvan surrounding and wonder at the irony of having no siblings but dozens of cousins. It’s been a while since we’ve vacationed together. But there’s something I’d like to do again. Fight endlessly and tirelessly about what game to play and then retire to bed feeling quite satisfied.

I was reminded of the first time I spent the night at my friend’s place. It was my very first time with someone who wasn’t related to me. I was worried that I might blurt out something in my sleep, or fall off the bed. We weren’t very close friends back then. In fact, we spent more time in proving each other wrong than we did in smiling at each other. As it turned out, we never slept that night. We spoke about common fears, common enemies, conspired complicated plans, and designed elaborate strategies for usurping the then reigning queen. None of our plans were realized because in making all those schemes we found in us the possibility of a great friendship. Something that has lasted for more than a decade. I’d like to go back to that night and put a time capsule of sorts.

Going back in time is great. From where I stand, there’s a lot more road in front of me than behind me. All there is behind is one cul-de- sac. In front of me, there’s nothing but a vast expanse of roads, and forks and tiny lanes that are yet to be explored. All of them too lead to some kind of dead-end. But it’s so far ahead of me, that I’d be much too silly if I worried about it. Never mind the boulders or trampling on pretty flowers. As for now, I’m going to move ahead, because that pile of work next to me has got to be reduced to zilch.

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