Thursday, January 22, 2015

Becoming the Great Indian Litterbug

Right from the day I was born, my folks took to the self-assigned task of deciding on what should I grow up to be. Considering the fact that I have an extensive family, quite a number of exemplars qualified as options from amongst my list of 112 relatives. So now the decision was whether it should be a doctor like my Uncle, an engineer like one of my elder cousins, an investment banker like my grandfather’s sister’s son or a scientist, artist, lawyer or something like someone particular in that list. Midst of all the confusion and discussion in which I had no say per se, I stuck to the only possible option I had – Observation. Now multiple visits were paid to my house by the kinfolks listed by my parents as prototypes for my future self. So using my actively growing grey matter, I started taking note of the traits of each of these prototypes. Despite all the torturous cheek squeezing and chirpy giggly sounds that were a pain to my ear drums, I tried hard to maintain my unbiased take on making my selection. After the rigorous phase of observation and contemplation of each one’s actions, I struck on a prudent idea. I decided to become something what all these ideal exemplars had in common which was littering. Doctor Uncle used to chew paan and paint the bland white walls of the house in bright red. The scientist was in the habit of chewing gum and sticking them here and there in the house almost giving the walls a polka-dotted print without shelling out any moolah to the paint and texture companies. The artist cousin went scribbling and sketching around the house with her sheets and the rough drafts were thrown right out of the window on the street. I wondered what those containers called bins in the house were for. They tossed away so much outside the house, that they appeared to me as philanthropists. So I decided on becoming the Great Indian Litterbug. The best part was that I did not even need to await the process of growing up to become one. I started then and there by coughing out phlegm right on my Aunt’s face. At the age of four, I was taken on my first official visit to a historical monument. The squiggling and doodling on the ancient sandstone walls seemed like a major effort by the Great Indian Litterbug to add his artistic tinge to the this marvel of the past. The sprawling surroundings of the monument were spotted here and there with plastic bottles and empty packets of wafers and biscuits as if the titbits were an offering from the modern junk culinary to the ancestors buried in the tombs beneath the monument.  Finally leaving the place, I found a group of these litterbugs urinating on the walls of this monument and could not fail to acknowledge the superlative degree of greatness they had achieved.

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