Friday, July 24, 2009

And then there was none

I think I have enough evidence against the idea that all life on planet earth is based on ribonucleic acids (DNA, RNA). Before I go down this very heretical path, I must define "life" in as vague a way as possible. To me, a life-form is any being that selfishly schemes against other life-forms so that it, in turn, can either prolong its life, or reproduce and have the re-product ( I think that's a more sensible word than offspring) prolong its life and so on and so forth. Obviously, in order to win my argument, I will insist on doing away with all flak that does not fit in with my theory. In that very noble spirit, I am doing away with the condition that my specimens reproduce. All I will show is that they are able to rather ingeniously prolong their life( definition of ingenuity: noun, that which I cannot explain, despite an abundance of free time.) And that, I hope, will force you to at least wonder, if not accept, that there may be the smallest, tiniest smidgeon of possibility in my grand theory.

Back in kindergarten and primary school, we always used to use pencils. Nice sharpened natraj pencils that your mom would sharpen religiously for you every night before packing up your bag. I cannot remember if I appreciated then, the almost-ballerina like twirling of the shavings coming out of the sharpener. I hope I did, because these days, with the high-tech BiC pencils, the magic has vanished. The closest I get to the swan-lakissmo shavings performance is when I sharpen my eye liner pencil. And that is nowhere near a lead-led elegance. And everyday after school, I'd come back home not just with blunt pencils (as one would expect according to the law of conservation of mass - since lead transferred to paper does not beget more lead on the pencil tip) but I'd come back home with missing pencils. Clearly, that is a violation of the law of conservation of mass. My pencils didn't disappear. They were lost. Misplaced. Left somewhere in school. Now why I never managed to lose erasers or sharpeners or rulers I do not understand. It was always the pencils that I lost. And this is not just a condition I found myself in. All my classmates frequently lost pencils. Of course, the story didn't stop when all of us progressed from boring led and wood pencils to fancy pen-pencils. The kind with thin leads that never needed sharpening. The kind you could click at the back and have a rather endless supply of a writing tip. And of course we lost those too. Which is why we always carried a spare in our pencil box. And then we graduated to pens. Because it has been eternally and silly-ly believed that we were of the age where we could completely form a coherent thought in our head and commit it to paper without needing to erase till the paper tore. And that's when our grades started dropping. Oh not because we entered adolescence and were preoccupied with fancying our classmates or spiting our rivals or feuding our parents. Because we couldn't make reversible mistakes anymore. Nonetheless, enter ink pins, ball point pens, parker pens, imitation parker pens, pens that our cricket stars use to sign autographs, pens that our film stars use to sign autographs, pens that would last till the end of our exams, pens that wouldn't blotch our lakme-winter-care-lotion-moisturized arms, pens with fragrance in them, pens that had 2 colour refills in them, pens with caps, pens with retractable tips, see-through pens, solid pens, really bad pens that are kept next to the telephone in case someone important should call and leave a message (so you could then proceed not to take the message because the pen wouldn't work), pens that you take to class with you, pens that you could gift your father (who will not use it because he too loses his pens all the time and will therefore only use the cheap stuff)and the flood of pens goes on. My point again is every single one of them gets lost.

When I really need a pen, I pretty much never find one. I can vividly remember seeing many, many pens and pencils in my bag. But when I do need one and reach out for them, they're never there, or they have strangely ceased working. It feels as if the world's scattered with pens everywhere, yet when I want them they're hardly ever there. Each time I clean my room, I can find pens under my bed, my desk, hiding in my closet, lying on the dressing table, and I faithfully put them in a pen holder, vowing to myself that I will never ever lose them again. And then something happens. When I'm on a call, and someone asks me to note something down, I can only obtain pens that don't work or pencils with no lead. And this has happened enough number of times that I am going to vehemently reject the theory that theyt just happen to be one of those things with a tendency to get misplaced.

I think they are one of those things with a tendency to scheme and plot against humanity and go into hiding. I now come back to what I will redefine as a pen's life. The longer it can keep its ink, the more successful a being it is. And the one that has the least ink is therefore the most expendable. So when a few pens congregate with each other, they single out the fella with the least ink in him and use him as a decoy. Which is why when you reach into your bag, the few cases where you do find a pen, it turns out that it won't write. You see, the pens have figured out that we ain't so dumb after all. And so they thought to themselves " if we make it look like we're always around, then the humans won't doubt us". And so they have their already wounded and battered soldiers (aka pens that have clearly used up their life supply of ink) to stand around in the world, offering themselves up for sacrifice so that the younger, more vital ones can survive. It is so brilliant a ploy that I am forced to believe that they live and breathe (or do the pen equivalent of breathe) and think and drink and make merry.

One of these days, these guys are going to figure out how to reproduce.

Don't you dare scoff at me. One of these days, these chaps will rewrite history ( all pen intended!)

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