Thursday, November 29, 2007

Township Tales - Fads

Kids - impressionable, to say the least.

Remember the series on Jesse Owens and Nadia Comaneci, aired on TV? After the Jesse Owens series, out came our shorts and running shoes, and we ran and "trained" morning till evening. We played long jump, high jump, sprinted, marathoned, and what have you.

But the Nadia Comaneci series drove us crazier. Overnight, we turned into gymnasts. We were pretty convinced that by the year 2000, one of us would be India's Olympic gold medallist. We cartwheeled day in and day out. There were bars in the car shed, on which we hung and swung, and tried to perform great feats. We ended up with calloused palms, and nothing else to show for all our efforts. This fad died out as suddenly as it had begun.

Then there was this period when Tennis was a craze, but we had only a Badminton court. So we named ourselves after Tennis players and played Badminton. I was Jennifer Capriati, for some unknown reason. My sister had to be Steffi Graf. She was Steffi's greatest fan on earth at that time. She even had a lifesize poster of hers hanging in the room. This fad also passed quite quickly.

Then one of us got a cycle. Overnight, all of us had acquired cycles. We learnt cycling, fell, bruised ourselves, and then once we had the hang of it, we cycled all around the lawn, on the main road, other roads, hit each other, gave each other "Dubs" (pillion rides).

I had a problem - I couldn't get down gracefully from a cycle. I would brake, and then jump. In hindsight, I must have looked like a clown. But back then, I didn't understand why the boys would wait and watch me until I got down and then burst into laughter. Many days I went home in tears. I have no idea when I learnt to get down gracefully, but I did, pretty soon.

Oh, a word about my Avon cycle. My dad and I went to buy it in a street off Commercial Street, and ate at Woody's while it was being set up for me. I chose a green cycle. 700 rupees. Not your ordinary olive or bottle green cycle. It was a light green, which faded into white. It was very unique, and to think of it, funny. No wonder my father asked me half a dozen times - "Are you sure?" But in my eyes it was beautiful. Unique. Rare. It couldn't be missed. I didn't have to, like others, look for my cycle in the cycle stand. It just stood out. Even after I started taking it to school, I had no problems like the others - "I have parked it near the third pillar, blah blah". I would walk straight to it. Perhaps the others used my cycle to mark theirs - "I have parked it near the green cycle" - who knows!

And then it was skating season. Somebody got roller skates. And then all of us got roller skates. I bought mine at Olympic Sports shop next to Mac Fast Food on Church Street, off Brigade Road. 140 rupees. Mine had rubber wheels. Ahem ahem. Which didn't harm the surface skated on.

We skated mostly in the community center. I don't remember the learning process at all, but I seem to have picked it up pretty soon. We did nothing but skate all evening.

But I had gone crazy. Skating had taken over my life. I wore it all day long, and I mean all day long. I would have even gone to school skating if it had been allowed (I anyway used to get dreams that I was skating in the school corridors after school hours). My addiction was so bad that I never walked at home for a long time. I only skated. I wore skates while doing homework, while eating, drinking.

I even wore skates to the Indian-style toilet once. Really. Just to prove a point to myself. My mom told me repeatedly - don't lock the door, Shruthi. Careful, Careful. She stood outside, wringing her hands, waiting for the crash and the cry for help. It never came. I came outside, triumphant. I even washed the skates, because they had been in the toilet.

Another time, there were guests, and since I loved to serve tea in a tray, my mom made the tea and asked me to bring it out and serve. She had forgotten that I was wearing skates. I skated into the kitchen, picked up the large tray, with about ten cups of steaming tea, and skated into the living room, pushing the curtains aside with my elbows. The gathering fell silent. They held their breaths as I served them tea - one by one, one by one... only after the last cup was safely in the hands of the last guest, did everybody breathe.

Even now, I rate skating as one of the greatest joys of life.

Next: The Lawn

20 comments:

bru said...

v v interesting post shruthi

Kadalabal said...

excellant narration and as already said by it is embedded in your blood and genes. I am reading the book of your tata and get engrossed still I have to complete. wonderful experience. I think I sent a mail
(I doubt whether I clicked sent or not) and forgot to save
soon after I read few chapters
I wish to meet his at the earliest let me see how fast it happens
tatage takka magalu mattu mommagalu
nodona marimommagalu yen madtale antha

pranesh

Rahul... in City of Dreamz said...

Skates in the loo!!! :) .. he he he.. now thats wild!!

But great fun reading your post... cant wait to read your other childhood escapades!

SloganMurugan said...

The sad part is that number of children who got school on cycles (or roller skates) is falling.

Abhipraya said...

Wow Shruthi I am very impressed with your skating skills :) Fun read as always.

Prashanth M said...

ha ha.. ROTFLMAO... skates & toilet... ha ha ho ho

Bit Hawk said...

Haha..skates stories were really entertaining! :))

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Wow... thats just wow of a post!

Keep 'em coming!

Supremus said...

And I for the life of me could never learn skating. Tried tried and tried, and I fell, fell and fell hehe!!

Your township tales are really awesome reading btw!

chethan said...

just imagined if it were a royal fall with tea all over the guests dumbstruck face :)

Chitra said...

Serving tea with skates on?? Too good ! ROTFL here :D :D !

Aparna said...

hey shruthi... nice post.. i still feel skating is one thing i never learnt..!!!!someday i shall.. may be when my son does.. :) ditto with guitar classes

PeeVee said...

HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAA I DON'T KNOW IF IT'S JUST ME BUT I THINK THIS IS THE MOST HILARIOUS POST EVER!! CAN'T STOP LAUGHING. HONESTLY YOU WERE & ARE SUCH A NUT!! :D BTW, WE ARE ALLOWED TO SKATE IN SCHOOL HERE. WHILE I BIKE TO SCHOOL, OTHER PEOPLE SKATE.

Ram N said...

its like reading the new Grisham's ..... nice and easy narration shruthi .....

Sanjay M ( http://msanjay.weblogs.us ) said...

LOL I was apprehensive you were going to fall and spill tea all over the place but hats off to your butler talent (among others)! Im sure they might include this sooner or later in some kind of ritzy restaurant and make it an added attraction ;)

shruthi's mom said...

Shruthi, how can you not mention your mother's nightmarish experience with your skates? Let me narrate it: Once I asked my crazy daughter to get me the scissors from the other room. She rolled towards with me with its sharp edge facing me with such a speed ..... that though I knew her mastery over skating, for a moment i thought I was finished.... with the scissors entering my tummy and getting out of my back........ Oh!...........

Veena Shivanna said...

Professor,

Very good post. Skates story was the best among all.. I remember the day when I found it so hard when I tried standing on skates tied and fell down royally...
The narration of skates incident was very humourous and I could imagine the tea incident and laughed at it thoroughly..
Still today, mosaic mele bari kaalalli skates aadodu a crazy habit of mine...
and paapa nimma amma!!

Sumana said...

wow skating, i never learnt it. But i always feel it is so tough to balance oneself on 4 wheels. Great nice one.

vaneecha said...

I too used to jump off the cycle for many months after 'learning'.
Hilarious post.

LAK said...

Thank you for making me laugh till the tears came!(The roller-skating episode!)

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