Wednesday, 11 June 2008

The Step Game

I follow in my father's great wake, skip for giant step. I've made it into a bit of a game, I imagine his six foot frame leaving a temporary indentation in the macadamized road and then plant my bare nine year old foot in the center of the impression. It keeps me amused as I accompany my father traveling from one palatial door to the next, gathering garbage so that we can relish the joy of frisking the waste in search of the seemingly worthless. Since it's an hour or so before lunch, I delight in the subtle savor of sizzling spices and herbs besiege my senses. The aromas that trigger desire intermingle with the stench of putrid festering foods of yesterday, which then delivered me the same momentous elation.
We arrive at the home of an aged spinster. She opens the door, hands my father the bleak bag that speaks of things dead and gives me a piece of candy with a wide gleeful smile etched into her wrinkled face. I take it with a grin and a slight joy brushes past me and dissolves her. As the transient dances with the permanent, my father reminds me of the inveterate liars we all are. The ones with argent and gold have been self-deluded into thinking the destitute are fortunate for they possess happiness. And the ones entrenched in penury are convinced that they are paying due penance for crimes committed in lives they remember not and may never have lived. Having received such declamations on several occasions, I lose track of father's words as I trace his path onto the next mahogany door.
We reach the threshold of a curious family that has an array of rumours incessantly pestering it- there always is a family that is preyed upon in a neighbourhood such as this where incongruity is looked at with askance and time is plenteous. Being a Sunday, the father, the crux of all rumours, opens the door. The man is undoubtedly formidable- towering over my father with shoulder built to support leaden worlds and thick eyebrows converging at the center, his dour look is an awesome sight. He eyes us and then hollers to his wife to get the garbage, a moment later his son comes up to him and tugs his shirt. But the boy spots me gazing at his red toy car and all thoughts of pater fade into abyss. He shows me the mesmerizing piece of plastic. It is unquestionably brand new- the wheels aren't frayed. It has several logos stamped on it and a faceless man seated in it. The scarlet paint gleams in the sun, taunting me. I grab the car and before the bliss seeps in and the boy leaks a tear, my father steals it from my fragile grasp and hands it over the austere man with a mumbled apology. His flinty features are slightly softened by a smile but his visage is still one that could make a man flinch. But for now, both men are cringing on the inside as they are stuck in one of those moments for which awkward is an euphemistic adjective. Ah! finally the wife arrives and hands over the bag of future prospects to my father. Both men breathe a silent sigh and we once again set off on our way.
All the way back home I am reprimanded for my ludicrous act and yet again my grip on father's words is loosened sometime after the first period for now I have added a new element to my game. Hereafter it is against the rules for me to step on leaves making it much harder considering the ample supply of withered once greens.

17 comments:

ishmeet said...

Nice, very nicely written and well conveyed.

As the transient dances with the permanent, my father reminds me of the inveterate liars we all are...I love that line.

Nikita said...

Thank you again. :P

Vasudha said...

Whoa.
Loved it. :D

Wish we had this instead of Ch 2 in the Inglis TB. For one, RC wouldn't be able to explain it. :P

Geek Wrestler said...

Superb. You've even given me a new idea!

kika said...

It was amazing! Just plain simple amazing!

Nikita said...

Vas: heh. That could be easily considered an insult.. CBSE text book. Jeez. :|

Greek Wrestler: And what might that be?

Kika: :D *does the Irish jig*

Vasudha said...

I know. Think of all the crap teachers you'll be exposing though. :D

And I am no judge, but I think ye should send this as one of the essays with your apps.

Nikita said...

Hmm. Shall consider it, though I dont think it's all that good... :|

Kishore said...

You should consider sending this as one of your essays.I think the UPenn essay has a topic where you write your own short story.Try including it if you're applying there.

Nikita said...

well, once I go through the applications, I'll know. And if it fits the essay topic, then what the hell.. I could use it. At least now I have one less effing essay to write. :P

Kishore said...

No wait,I think the UPenn Essay is something like this:What would page 273 of your autobiography be like? I personally didn't apply there considering it sucks for engineering but its a topic not for the egotistically challenged.
;-p

Nikita said...

lol.
I think I'll write an essay on that topic if I apply. Common app. topics aren't particularly interesting, are they?

Kishore said...

Nope,not at all.The MIT and the CommonApp long essay are one and the same.But there are some colleges like Stanford,Cornell and Carnegie which have CommonApp supplements-meaning additional stuff to write.The Stanford Supplement is interesting.Since they don't have a personal interview,they try to gain a perspective on the student through a questionnaire.The challenge is to fit in your idea in an impossibly short word-limit.

Nikita said...

Ah yes! I remember this one question which asked if it were up to you, what objects would you have in the painting The Ambassador.
Ingenious.

Kishore said...

Where? Not in the Stanford one,surely.Atleast,it wasn't there when I was filling it up.It's a question suited more to an arts student but you're right-it is ingenious.I think they're expecting too much from undergraduates though.Not many will be able to make the heaven-earth-hell anology.You have to carefully ponder over what objects you want to replace the ones in shelf with to keep the analogy intact.Besides,the persepctives on the painting are highly opinionated.Maybe that's why they've asked it.Are you sure you're looking at an undergraduate form?

Nikita said...

Yeah, it is an undergrad form. And since there isnt a chance in hell I am going to do Engineering and also since I haven't a clue what I want to do as a major, I'll probably end up doing liberal arts.

sid said...

that was a question infact from the northwestern app from 2005/6 ... i remember, the year after was easier