History repeats itself. And around here, we create our own history. For people who are not used to how my parental household works, I’d be shirking my duties as an author if I don’t outline the rituals at home.
For my part, my own personal routine is simple in it’s three pronged structure –
- To watch movies at a volume that, I’m told, may be enough to certify people insane in some lesser known countries
- To create an artificial atmosphere of famine within the house by indiscriminate and reckless consumption of all things appearing edible.
- To mimic an in-house tornado by splattering clothes, bags, and other detachable materials in as random a fashion as possible.
The keen observer would have noticed the common factor binding this itinerary – None of these require me to set foot outside the house, which brings me to the one-liner manifesto from my folks’ side – to get me out of the house; get some exercise, feel the sun..
Every time I get leave to go home, there’s always a talk in the air about having a family trip… somewhere… to do something as a family… But by the time they start pulling up their sleeves, the referee blows the whistle and I’m whisked back to the insanity of office life. But this time around, thanks to a cosmic imbalance that possibly shattered the fabric of the universe, I got a ten day parole from the powers that be.
So the family trip did not seem quite that unlikely this time around. We wrestled out a morning of pure family fun. We all got in the car, aimed it right for ‘Malsya Fed’ in Njarakkal, a government-run resort mom had heard about, and floored the gas pedal. Dad’s always been a sucker for long drives, and he kept himself amused for the entire drive. Mom kept herself busy giving helpful driving suggestions
“Watch out. There’s a bicylce there”
“Oh, you passed it. Never mind. Look out! A cow!!”
“A COW!!… Wher… Are you talking about the one sitting over there? Way to the side of the road??”
“Well, you can’t be too careful. Hey! Eyes on the road! There’s a truck on the road…. yeah. squint your eyes, you can make it out”
My brother was immersed in our brand new i-pod touch, and I was trying to catch some sleep. When I heard the term ‘resort’ attached to our destination, I had a vision of beautifully trimmed lawns, sturdy buildings with artwork hanging all over the place, and most importantly, a comfy couch where I can sink up to my neck in. With my first look at the place, I realized I should have focused more on the ‘government run’ part than the ‘resort’ part. It was a shoddy hut in the middle of a lake, to which you can walk with the help of a creaky bamboo bridge. But appearances can be deceiving. I did have a great time there.
They offered a fishing trip as part of the package. This was to be my first ever fishing trip. Dad and mom took one boat and steered away to the middle of the lake. My brother and I followed suit – grabbed the next boat, jumped in, armed with some twine tied to a thin branch which they called, curiously enough, a fishing rod.
So there we were, two ad-hoc fishermen ready to haul in the bounty. Within minutes we were splashing water all around with our oars, spending a great deal of energy before we realized we were just rotating the boat. After a few minutes of calm and reasoned logic, we decided to work together so that the boat sailed forward. We didn’t have time to lose; after all, we needed to catch our supper… possibly load up the crate with so many fishes that we may have to sell off the surplus catch.
So we unified our efforts and set off to the center of the lake. Not to toot our own horn here, but the boat went as smoothly as any market researcher and software engineer could have made it go. And then we threw out our line, waiting to reel in at the first sign of a tug. We had already decided that we wouldn’t just hoard up the boat just like that. Once we caught a few, we’d call it a day. After all, there would be other visitors who’d want to fish. We are considerate that way.
We picked a choicy spot and started our milestone fishing expedition.
Five minutes later, we reasoned that the fishes were not biting cos the bait was too big. Perhaps, we had overestimated the size of the fishes here. We put in as small a bait as possible. We also conceded that we were not what people would call ‘expert’ fishermen, so maybe our ‘choicy spot’ wasn’t as choicy after all… So we picked another spot. Another five minutes later, we reasoned that the fishes were not biting cos the bait was too small. Another five minutes passed before we reasoned that we probably should stay still in one place if we’re trying to catch anything at all.
Fifteen minutes and about seven ‘choicy’ spots later, we concluded that the only real way to catch any fish in that lake was to unplug the faucet and let all the water run dry. And since that was not possible, we were ready to conclude, as reasonable scientists, that catching fishes in that lake was not possible. By sheer coincidence, at that same moment, a local resident came close and reeled off about twenty to thirty fishes with apparent ease, not even stopping to gloat about it.
These local residents have no respect for scientific conclusions.
So we spent some more time on the lake, trying another shot at bagging a fish; maybe if we aim the oar right, we can stun one and toss it in… But of course, nothing happened. Another few minutes later, we rowed back to shore, trying to ignore the fact that shoals of fishes were probably laughing behind our backs, sniggering in snobbish delight. When we towed back into shore, we found that the resort staff had already arranged for our lunch, with a fried fish on the side. They knew we’d return empty handed even before we went in, smugly confident of our incompetence. Ouch.
But who cares? Lunch was great, the fishes had a hearty laugh, and mom finally got her family trip organized. When all is said and done, it was a great marker to the end of the year.
Happy New Year, everybody.