This is a detour from my long-winded story about my holiday. But I just had to share this with you! There is a reason they call me ‘Magpie’. Like a Magpie, I love to collect things. I collect and collect; postcards, letters, exhibition brochures, photographs. All for posterity; for a time when on a lazy afternoon I might go back to these and reminisce. Now I’m all set to move out and begin my life as an adult, with a job and an apartment and all the other things that adulthood and reality forces us to do. After much nagging from the dear parents, I decided to clean out the clutter (‘clutter’-their words not mine!) that had accumulated, or you might say, was carefully preserved, over the years.
With Adele to keep me company, I began the painful ‘de-cluttering’. Out came old paintbrushes, random ‘fashion sketches’ that I had done when I was 13 and wanted to be a fashion designer, old photographs from random hikes we went on in boarding school (we would set off with our backpacks and caps and thought we were The Shit) , letters from my grandmother before my board exams telling me to do some ‘pranayama’ and eat almond before my exams. I found old essays that I had slaved over when I was 15 and still a ‘good student’. The most precious one was a poem Kalyani and I made up for English class in the 8th grade (scroll down to read this piece of fine poetry).
The whole experience left me misty-eyed. I’m a pathetic sentimentalist. I can’t help it! I thought about how we had all copiously wept when we finally left school, promising to keep in touch and remain ‘BFFS Forevaaa!’ It has been four years since we graduated from school. College is over. We’ve moved on with our own lives and daily preoccupations. We live in different parts of the world and see each other rarely. As I read my yearbook entries and looked at the photographs, I found myself fighting back tears. Tears that were brought on by memories of a happy time. I giggled at random stuff I had scribbled behind my ‘Literature Class Notes’, so neatly and lovingly covered by my dad in brown paper before I left for school.
My mum always asks me why I keep stuff like old notebooks and old school projects so carefully. It so that I can go back to them any day, some day, and see what my handwriting looked like when I was fourteen and laugh at all the doodles we did while we were supposed to be listening to our teacher go on his schpeel about ‘The Lovesong of J Alfred Prufrock’. These doodles, photographs, letters, old yearbooks have become memory-capsules. And I’m glad that I, being the Magpie that I am, saved them all! They gave me a wonderful afternoon stroll down memory lane. Needless to say, I found a new secret place to hide my stash of ‘clutter’. Because we Magpies never throw anything away!
(I think this poem was meant for a class on rhyme scheme. ‘The Walrus and The Carpenter' may have been the inspiration’. Do not judge it too harshly. We were twelve and very proud of our piece of 'poetry'!)
It was paradise,
To the chef’s eyes,
On the sand so white,
Lay a lobster,
Contrastingly, so red and bright.
‘Oh my dear!’
Said the French cook Pierre,
‘Why don’t thee
Come with me!
I’ll spice up your life,
With the help of a knife,
You’ll be in Heaven,
With a few drops of lemon.’
‘I’ll come with thee,
If you first come with me.
Come to the Silver Line to dine,
At around nine.’
After their meal,
Which was mostly Eel,
To pay a compliment
To the cook they went.
The lobster said ,’Look into the fire’
Under his breathe he added.’ This is your funeral pyre!’
Then, with all his might,
He pushed the cook right in,
Not at all worried about his sin.
‘Wonderful meat!’ said Lady Fat Bo Tom
‘I know, it cost me a bomb,
And nearly my life,
But I was saved by the end of a knife’.
The lobster was a born liar.
He knew that he was actually saved by fire.
And this is the Lobster and the chef’s gruesome story,
(I know its quote gory!).