This is absurdly about two entities, one the word lackadaisical and second the utterance of the word chicken. The reason why I ever thought of blogging about this is too personal hence unshareable. Yet the supreme source of that reason compels me to be forthcoming about the truth. Some incidents are so indelibly burnt into your consciousness that despite their near absurdity or even irrelevance they forever possess prominence among other important memories. And in most of such instances, the rationale is hard to conclude, the reasoning a waste of time. When I was younger I travelled to Mumbai and stayed there with my uncle to pursue a law internship, which Mama ji had managed for me through his contacts. I mean I didn't go to a law school where recruiters walked in to pick their work force on campus. So it had to be the other way around. I asked Mamaji, Mamaji asked someone and that someone pulled strings and here I was in Mumbai, starry eyed, dazed by traffic, bemused by sheer velocity that dominated the heart and legs of men, awed by the cacophony and the diversity, eager to take a piece of the dream back with me, or even better let the dream take me. My cousins Likun and Jiju, cool lads both, and I got along just fine. Roamed around, talked a lot and thought a lot. One fine morning, for reasons not quite clear, Jiju called me lackadaisical. The word stuck with the three of us. The purpose of being called lackadaisical became inexplicably insignificant before the feel of the word. Sure there are more sticky words in English language, but this one had a certain ring to it, which awoke all three of us at the same time, in the same manner and to the same degree and we decided we'll not let go of it. Every other chance, and pop came the word out of our mouths. Next came 'chicken'. I mean reading the word will not serve the purpose I am trying to serve. The way Jiju uttered it, everytime, time after time, the favour which he showered on the 'ck' part of chicken, it sounded as if it were a mutant form of the fowl, hitherto undiscovered by keen zoologists. Jiju called chicken 'chikkkken'. The 'kkkk' was extremely something between annoying and unavoidably in your face. Few days back I recalled the whole stay at Mumbai and the instances hereinabove noted and asked Jiju, who is now a grown up or appears to be, to pen down his recollections and his understandings of the episodes. So here you are, below is the first ever guest blog post on 'reflections', written by my cousin Jiju about near unnecessary things. Yet the whole point of it all lies in Albert Camus's famous words - "the absurd does not liberate, it binds."
Jiju's essay may leave an impression that he's a writer by profession. Though that's something I always wished for him and will keep wishing, life has him pursuing study of law at a renowned law school in Gujurat. He was not more than 13 - 14 at the time under discussion. May you always shine and fearlessly reflect the truth, my brother. Love You..
P.S. Pupun Nana is what he fondly calls me.
"Which year was it? 2005? 2006? And what was the season? Summer, winter, monsoon, spring? Perhaps I was of an age when such things didn’t stay on my mind long nor mattered much. Every day passed as a part of a continuum of days filled with a flickering alternation of light and dark, light and dark, light and dark and yet always full of novelty. Dreams, unconquerable, were things of more than smoke and vapour. Yellow streetlamps at night. Slow breeze in the morning. A city by the sea.
That year, that season... Pupun nana came over to stay at our house and though he was to spend his days going to and from the office he was to intern at, we were particularly happy that he was going to stay with us. At the age I was at then, he was probably the relative I looked up to the most among the many aunts, uncles and grandparents at our hometown. For one thing, he did tend to be the most fun to be around. Looking back, I do wonder what a feat that was. I was eleven or so and thinking of trying to be on good terms with an eleven year old is something that I find a little foreboding at the age I am at now. Not because it would be tiresome or frivolous, but because there is nothing more hurtful than being at that age when children stop looking at you as a comrade and start looking at you as an adult. Just another person who will tower over you. It is no mean task to undo such a classification.
And yet, some people manage to bring that openness of spirit to bear on their relations that requires no real effort and charms children just so. I continue to wonder today, with little success. what those things are that make children friends. A sense of adventure. A faith in the mysteries of the world that are yet to be seen, heard and tasted- a faith that does not ask for concern or caring or even conversation. Just the sheer thrill of adventure with one’s companions. Perhaps I have forgotten already. Perhaps I never knew. Perhaps, even if I knew, I would never know to put it into words.
Some words do come to mind though. For years after that visit, we continued to share some jokes that I now find altogether shorn of their original meaning. “Chicken” was one of them. White-feathered, brown-curried, cluck-cluck. There is no telling what that biped avian creature thinks of our murderous regard for its sinew. But it inspires great loyalty among legions of meat-eaters. Again, what was it that was so funny about that bird? Perhaps it was something about the sound of its name.
And then there was the refrain of a number of words that started with the letter ‘L’. Some friends and cousins use rather impolite terms to call out to each other. They abuse and swear at each other like sailors at port, down a few pegs. That’s just how they get along best. Pupun nana and I used to abuse each other in a high Victorian fashion with the word ‘lackadaisical’ featuring prominently. I think other words included ‘lazy’ and ‘laggard’. I believe that the origin of this ritual of ours was rooted in my childish scorn for the way Pupun nana would nap in the afternoon after returning from work. How lackadaisical, I would think. Well, not really, I didn’t really think with those words at that age. Or did I?
In any case, though I am certain I lost out on having someone with whom to play catch with the yellow softball I prized so much, I did gain a number of shared jokes. And memories from that time when no magic is needed to make memories. Just happenings are fine, thank you. Just sunlight or rain or wind or moon. Just the falling leaves. A season of jests it was. And a season of uncontrived joy. One cannot take it lightly, for fear of damaging it. One cannot take it seriously, for fear of distancing it. One can only remember."