“You’re mad, bonkers, completely off your head. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.”
-Tim Burton , Alice in wonderland(movie)
in continuation of – inescapable pigeon droppings : chapter 3
Working under the assumption you’ve read the previous parts , which you should(the links for which are there at the bottom of the page) , let’s carry on this saga-of-sorts.
Before…. much before all of that ass-hauling , skirt-chasing and pant-pooping , a lot of water flew under the bridge which I haven’t yet covered . So let us go back a little , all but 7 years.
On a nondescript tuesday of September 9th in the year 1997 , I was born under the solar house(raashi) of Scorpio and under the Nakshatra (constellation) Anuradha on the seventh day of the waxing moon in the month of Bhadrapada when the sun was in dakshinayan (southward movement of the sun with respect to the earth commencing after the summer solstice).
I was born in the sun-city Jodhpur to a certain Mr. and Mrs Sharma who later had my surname changed. So that makes me a ‘sharma ji ka ladka’ , the Indian slang for sonly quintessence .
chapter-4 : phobos and deimos
I was the second child in the family to an army personnel father and a homemaker mummy. They soon took me to my hometown Nainital , the city of lakes , famous for the eye-shaped Naini lake believed to be a shaktipith formed from the fallen pieces from the charred , burnt corpse of Sati , while she was Being carried on the shoulder by Shiva , the great hermit. The pieces were cut by Vishnu with the aid of his discus called sudarshana and the corpse minced away into 52 shreds which fell on the earth and were worshiped as Shakti-pith , Hindu pilgrimages. Apparently , the eyes had fallen at the spot of the lake.
Very soon I was with my daadi (grandmother) and dadaji (grandfather) who had 4 sons in all . I began understanding their ethos as soon as I learnt a little language . My father was big on patriotism and propriety,still is. We were often , almost on a daily basis , harangued on righteousness and virtue while he sat atop his lofty mountain of erudition inhaling oxygen and exhaling wisdom , spewing heaps of knowledge in his holy discourse like erudites . I almost saw a bright white circular halo behind his head.
Back then, it was a joint family of Hindu Brahmin bigots which stood upon the cornerstones of idolatry , superstition and social hierarchic prejudice . I had an elder brother who had a tongue long as a chameleon which could stray all the way up till the tip of the nose in the north and down to the chin in the south. Let’s call him Deimos (meaning panic ) after the second son of Ares who along with his brother Phobos drew the chariot of their father . So as it happens , on the thirteenth day after my birth , soothsayers were called who would decide on my name. ‘N’ , said the astrologer , would be the first alphabet of the name and soon he was done with. The elders decided they would choose the name themselves (which they failed/forgot to do until I was enrolled into a school) .
Three years after I was born , the great grandmother who , for one , adored me as her favourite great-grandchild , passed away while gulping down a whole cup of tea at once . So it goes.
The great matriarch had witnessed the onset of the next century and died in the very year 2000 CE and as it happens , a ritual ensued , lasting ten days. Akhand-jyoti , the ceaseless flame required a lamp to be lit for ten days and ten nights , burning unperturbed , and the men of the family were supposed to guard and feed the flame with oil and ghee . For ten days and ten nights , the four brothers sat afront the flame watching the whims of the fire and playing various card games. On the ninth day following the exodus of the matriarch , my eldest aunt begat a daughter to my eldest uncle , 2000 years after Christ . Under sheer naivety ,we quarreled amongst ourselves to claim her as sister , unaware of what awaited.
We were three now – me , Deimos and Phobos ( this is what we’ll call her , for reasons aforementioned) .In astronomy , Phobos and Deimos , fear and panic ,are the two moons of Mars who draw his chariot. Phobos was apish and always up to some mischief . The sister-love which had welled up on her birth soon withered away as we did all we could to get rid of her . Tried to get her married off to an ice cream vendor , a scrap dealer , even a bear , once . Deimos had nothing to his credit and wept like Niagara falls when made to go to school , but still managed to be the most adored child in the household on account of being the first child .
The ape was a famed dancer through the clan even before she could walk properly and so , was the most celebrated child on account of her skills and for being the first girl child . I , in spite of being the brightest child in school , had to struggle for attention.
more next time . next part – inescapable pigeon droppings : chapter 5
Links –Inescapable pigeon droppings: a story for the romantically challenged
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