Onion Soup for the Drunkard's Soul

>> Saturday, August 25, 2007

(Dedicated to the only professor who thinks I am of Tamil parentage)

Have you been stopped receiving indirect hints about the membership openings at Alcoholics Anonymous? Does a half empty glass appear half full to you when you are on your penultimate peg? Is the first thing you desire every morning a black coffee? Can you actually pretend to be sober while you are stuffed to your gills? Then, hold your drunken breath, you are not being true to the code of the drunkards, the oaths and protocols of the distinguished few who have managed to immerse their whole lives to boozing and staying inebriated in all their waking hours, if, they can be called awake. So here is another vignette, chosen carefully and written with the toil and sweat of a few sober people, in an attempt to rouse the world to the joy of staying sloshed and never to put down the cocktail until you are being dragged homeward bound.

The Reformation
J.D. was a drunkard. He also was in love. Usually one begets the other, but he managed to perform both individually, with neither of the sets intersecting each other, though, of course, the lightheadedness associated with his drink did create an illusion of his beloved having more beauty than the Lord had bestowed on her. But the illusion helped and thus, every day, in every way, after his fourth peg, J.D. realized what he really needed was a woman in his house, in front of his favourite armchair, with limpid eyes to gaze into through the end of a glass and eager hands eagerly bringing in soda every half an hour. The future was not unthought of either. He already had plans to open a brewery with his eldest son while his youngest son would own a vineyard. In fact, everything was settled upon except for the asking of the woman's hand. Our brave protagonist did not cringe there either. Without the assistance of any additional alcohol to his regular amount, he went and braved it, the odds not withstanding.

However, the girl's acceptance had the predictable condition, she wanted her future husband to abstain from all alcoholic drinks. The reason behind this seemingly lay in an unhappy childhood consisting of a drunkard father, a long suffering mother and midnight brawls in front of their home with the renegades of the night. She refused to foresee a similar future for herself despite J.D. 's forceful recital of the midnight brawls being sources of general knowledge, usually regarding natural history. It pertained, she was not very fond of natural history, due to having a Ph.D. on it.

Such was the power of his love for the girl that J.D. actually contemplated taking up sobriety as as a natural form of existence. J.D. had never drunk to lessen pain, there had been no sorrow gnawing at his heart. He drank for pure pleasure. Intoxication came to him as inspiration comes to a writer. The artist in him took delight in discovering different forms of drunkenness, and, though not a well known fact, he had even composed and published essays on this. It was to explain this and beg for understanding and pity that he landed up, late one evening at his betrothed's.

It was his future mother-in-law who received him, informing him that her daughter was away. Seated in a very feminine living room, with more drink sloshing in him than he was used to, the motherly concern shown by his fiancee's mother regarding his pallid looking skin and a distraught expression made J.D. break down into fierce hiccups, an emotional outlet to his real feelings. Not being able to hold them any longer, he cried out all his troubles and worries and begged the woman in front of her to have mercy on his pitiful state and ask her daughter to reconsider her decision. It was the eerie silence of his audience which woke him up to the fact that this woman herself was a victim of a drunken husband and was not wont to sympathize with his case. It was while he was trying to find a tactful comment about the weather when she quietly spoke, "It wasn't her father. It was me." While J.D. blinked away his confusion, she explained her husband had always been a strict teetotaler and it was she who had been addicted to the glass. It had meant a painful childhood for her daughter who adored her father, who disliked his wife's little luxuries. An impressionable girl, she felt her mother to be in the wrong and sided with her father when it came to the question of the habit of drinking and found the act reprehensible. However, her father having died due to natural causes a few years ago (possibly because he did not drink, everyone knows alcohol kills germs), it was he his daughter attributed the drinking habit to, too ashamed to confess she had a drunk mother. She finished her story by offering a glass of whiskey to J.D. who rose to the occasion by asking for two.

It was while consuming his fourth glass while the lady was on her fifth that he realized he had met a kindred soul. Not only did she gulp down whiskeys with the fine artistry of a camel, she had a rare, shining, truthful spirit, who was not ashamed to own up that she drank, nay, was actually proud of it. He compared her to her daughter, who not only deceived him, but also disliked alcohol, classifying her as a lemon in the garden of paradise. It was on his seventh glass that a sudden realization shook him to the core and he saw what a fool he had been going to make of himself.

J.D. and his once-upon-a-time future-mother-in-law are happily married today with two adopted sons, both of whom, though young, show a healthy interest in the making of alcohol. Though their father does not allow them to consume it till they are of age, it is clear that his dreams for his sons will surely come true.

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Which FRIENDS character do i resemble?

>> Friday, August 24, 2007

Which Friend Are You Quiz on tbs.com

Okay, so this may be a waste of time and space and effort, but I am most like Chandler!!! Yay me!!

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My Superhero Alter Ego

>> Thursday, August 23, 2007

Your Superhero Profile

Your Superhero Name is The Mammoth Zombie
Your Superpower is Complements
Your Weakness is Handshakes
Your Weapon is Your Solar Rusty
Your Mode of Transportation is Elephant
What's your Superhero Name?


How did they know an elephant is the only living being physically able to carry me- except the blue whale, that is. Gawd, Blogthings has a satellite above my house!!!

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The Railway Children - A Very Personal Reflection

>> Friday, August 17, 2007

At 19, when one is supposed to be reading Dostoevsky and ruminating on Kafka's works (I attempted to do both with very minor success), I still remain in denial that, at this age, The First Term at Malory Towers does not really make an appropriate reading material. Maybe I just chanced to retain the child in me or, more plausibly, the child in me has kidnapped the part of my brain which should feed me information about my mental and spiritual growth and is doing cannibalistic ritual dances on it. However, the moot point is, one of my best beloved books happens to be a children's classic and I type this reflection proudly, sheltering under a hope that my readers, a population of possibly five people at most, will agree with me.

For people unfamiliar with the book, Edith Nesbit's The Railway Children is about a family of three children and almost perfect parents whose life is transformed after their father mysteriously disappears. They face the fear of poverty, change homes, and, the most wonderful bit of all, get acquainted with the railway running near their new cottage. How their lives are intertwined with the railway and the friends they make there, their adventures and misadventures, and how it all becomes a process of growing up is what the book is about.

This is not a review. I cannot be presumptuous enough to review a book I loved as a kid, still love when I am pretending to be a kid, and hope some day my kids love it too. Though if my kids are anything like me, they would certainly prefer The Criminal's Manual to Lock Picking. This is just a very unsuccessful attempt to share the sheer magic of innocence and charm of a lost tribe of childhood. This is about a time when kids actually went and explored places when they had nothing to do-an Enid Bytonian era of childhood. A phase unknown to most people. Though what attracts you most is that there is no heavy morality, no adventures with smugglers who are apparently found at every nook if you are a band of at least four kids and a dog with ESP. At least that is the impression Enid Blyton gave me. For heaven's sake, 21 adventures!! All they did was make a plan to have a picnic, and whoa, suddenly there is a bunch of thugs looking for hidden treasures or Uranium five paces from there picnic spots.

Mind it, I love the Famous Five. Its just that I am mildly jealous of their luck.

What they do is what mostly every kid dreams of doing. The kind of dreams the BFG blows in the twilight hour. Stopping a train from accident, saving babies from burning buildings. Yet, more than bravery, what touches me is the other emotions explained here. The terrifying doubt of failure, the embarrassment at being felicitated, yet, an anticipation for it, the self recrimination, the childish attempts to make good, an undying belief in the goodness of others and the ability to love selflessly.

The Author's favourite character Bobbie wins my heart very time I read it. The unselfish love for her mother, the maturity of the young mind, the generous and impetuous actions and a brave little heart creates a little girl, not nauseatingly perfect, but lovingly real and beloved.

The story itself holds no mystery. There is no thrill of a suspense, no part where you grip the book in chilled anticipation. The charm of the book lies in the hearts of the children, who live in a world of their own, where their is imagination, adventures and friendship which blends easily with their trials in real lives-the boredom of lessons, the lack of playmates, the strain of work and, of course, the absence of their Father. Thus a book is made, where children are children, not young moral heroes, where they make mistakes and learn from them, where they have accidents, where the mother is a wonderful figure of motherhood, morally upright but with a sense of humour, where she is both understanding and generously loving, where, after all said and done, she is a beloved mother, like mothers everywhere.

Why do I suggest the book to a world of adults out there? I don't. Its a part of my childhood and hope it was a part of yours.


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