Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Random ramblings

It was recently pointed out to me that one of the girls who was in school with me, a specimen whose pimply face we used to make fun of, who we popularly used to call 'nani ma' (meaning old grandmother for the not-so-familiar-with-hindi-parties-reading-this-blog), whose lunch we used to steal and whose dress we used to splatter with the ink of many a shattered nib has now made a career as a fashion model. Which leads me to dispense this nugget of advice:
Girls on whom we throw ink become models.

Sorry. That wasn't the moral after all. No the moral is this. Never make fun of girls. Especially pimply ones. Thanks to the wonder of modern pharmaceuticals (and I am not discounting acid here), they all end up as models thereby making sure we all have extremely horrible lives. Here! They seem to say, I am now loved and adored by all, whereby I should now enjoy a hearty laugh if the number of people who adore you is more than the pinkies on your left hand. I am sure there are classmates of the inestimable Deepika Padukone who are suffering the same tortures now. Sigh!

So there that's it. The one piece of advice I would like to leave the younger generation with. Do not poke fun at girls. Especially the types you love to nickname(nani-ma, boothni etc. etc.) The other piece of advice I have to dispense has nothing to do with girls but an awful lot to do with cricket.

We used to play cricket in our school when I was very young. The fact that we didn't have a cricketing field, did not deter us from playing cricket. The fact that we were not playing anything resembling cricket did not deter our sports teacher from labeling the game we played rather euphemistically as "French cricket". Never having been to France (or having played French cricket there) I cannot comment on what we played, but the game went roughly like this.

One designated person used to stand at the center of a rather large field (dustbowl) while the rest of the class (numbering nearly in the hundreds) used to form a circle around the guy in the middle. The outer circle was huge. I mean really huge. Sometimes occasionally you could see the other guy who was diametrically opposite you. He really looked tiny. The game consisted of trying to hit the player in the middle between his knees and his ankles. The batter would try and swat the ball away. At least attempt to since the only guy who could get the ball into the inner circle was a guy called... let's call him Jo who had failed the grade four times and was regularly to be found bullying smaller kids. The rest of us heaved and flung the ball but rarely did it go anywhere close to the inner circle. It just more or less dribbled to somewhere in between.

I didn't fare any better when the batsman managed to connect with the ball. On the rare occasion the ball came anywhere close to me I would be looking in exactly the wrong direction, digging my nose, eating boogers, whatever. Most other kids managed to stop one two balls occasionally. I managed to miss most of whatever was hit in my direction. So the game consisted of basically Jo running round and round in circles attempting to hit the batter between the knees and the ankle with the ball, the batter making wild ineffectual heaves at whatever we tossed and jumping up or dodging away whatever Jo tossed, and me missing most of whatever was hit in my direction. Entertaining it was not. I was plain bored. Sometimes the batter would stumble as he attempted to dodge and stub his toe, but mostly he was too far away to be seen, so I would just hear his enraged yowl.

I devised ingenious ways to overcome this torture. First was the discovery that a pair of rubber bands could deliver a projectile almost right next to the batsman and with stinging velocity. Four weeks later weary of the assiduous practice schedule I had assigned in my class (aim two feet left of the teacher, two feet above, two feet right), I put small stone to rubber band and let loose. The ensuing yowl let me know I had succeeded. I didn't know if my missile had hit the target. Too far away.

Thus was born my passion for physics but mostly for projectiles. I discovered the ecstasy of elasticity, the subtlety of stiffness, the sublimity of strength, the accuracy of aim and most importantly the power of the projectile. What Jo would manage in an hour of running around was now carelessly in fact nonchalantly achieved with a little application of brain. Which would have all been fine, if not for the damn geometrical implement called the divider.

It was a rash impulse which had led me to brag to my friends about this new found power of mine, and they challenged me to prove that I could actually hit the batsman. Unsatisfied they egged me on to prove more concrete results where nothing would be left to chance but the result would be plain unambiguous for everyone to see. Two weeks later after careful experimentation and sixteen rubber bands stolen from the lunch boxes of unwary children I managed to make a compass and a divider fly accurately.

Which I put into practice in the next sports period. Unfortunately the compass hit the batsman and in the quite fleshy part of the leg between the knee and the ankle. Having hit it politely refused to bounce off but remained embedded in his leg like a tranquilizer dart, while three friends, bosom buddies who I lost touch with after school and who I hope have a job washing trucks pointed to me and immediately said "Sir. Sir. He did it!!! He did it!!!!".

After the ensuing session with everybody (including the director of my institution) the one person who still consoled me and allowed me to continue stealing her lunch was 'nani-ma'. Nani ma! Forgive me. I was cruel to you ( and perhaps the batter who got stuck with the divider). In fact the only person I was more cruel with was an old math book of mine and another girl called 'RoadRunner' who also became a model in her own way. Which brings me to the important cricket advice and the even more important piece of advice.

Cricket advice: Next time your friends want you to do something for a bet stick it to them (kindly also use the divider)

Even more important advice: As a general principle never make fun of pimply girls. The pharmaceutical industry is far too good nowadays

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