Friday, July 15, 2005

Tribute to Archie!

The first time I saw Archie, I was 14 years old. Large, dark, frightened eyes looked up at me from a small face, as if to say, 'Where have I come and where is Mommy?'. That was it! I fell in love and never fell out of it. It was the same for Mr. P and Mrs. P and Miss N as well. It was one of those rare times that all four of us agreed.

Slight in figure, we all noticed that Archie had trouble balancing. A few steps and down went Archie. Then there was the first night. Archie was scared of the dark and could not sleep, so N and Archie spent their first night together. This soon became a routine at least for the next month. Archie felt lonely at night and N always had to study at night so they became nocturnal buddies.

Days and then months went by and Archie became one of us. With us no matter what we were doing - eating, drinking, watching TV, playing, cooking, the list was endless. Nothing was done without Archie being the center of all activities. And Archie enjoyed the attention. So much so, we did not realize that Archie had become possessive. No other person was allowed to become part of our group and soon we had to be very selective in who we saw. But when we did realize it, it created a warm, fuzzy feeling that we were considered so important.

Months soon became years and Archie became more attractive. Mr. P often had trouble and had to chase away, unwanted guests who came lusting after Archie. But this was all a part of life and we all enjoyed it. All of us grew up and the bond we all had grew with it. Archie was now a constant without, whom we could not imagine life at all. It was very hard to remember what life was before Archie. Friend, philosopher, confidante, comedienne and companion, Archie played many roles in our life, all of them equally important. Archie was also a shoulder for all of us to cry on when we were under the weather.

Archie also taught us a lot about ourselves. We never knew we had as much patience in our store as when we were with Archie. Another thing that we learnt from Archie was appreciating food. Archie was so enthusiastic about eating that the attitude infected us all. Mrs. P would be making something really tasty and we all knew where Archie was. With her, of course! Nothing pleased Archie any more than eating food that was freshly made.

One by one we all left home and Mr. and Mrs. P were the only ones with Archie. But it did not make any difference. They were the ones Archie relied on the most. A few more years went by and Archie was getting on in years. Activities were soon limited to taking small walks around the house but Archie was content. Soon food took a backseat and that was when we knew the time had come to let go. Though we did not know it would be so soon.

When it happened it hurt but we were all pleased for Archie because this was the way that Archie would have wanted it to be. Independence and self-respect were the two characteristics that had shaped Archie’s life. It was better this way.

So best friend, companion and shrink – Archie will never be forgotten. After 12 long, wonderful and fruitful years, this is Au Revoir but never GoodBye.

For those of you who do not know the characters – Mr. and Mrs. P are my parents, Miss N (who became Mrs. N a few years ago) is my sister and Archie the protagonist of this tribute was my 12 and a half year old Mongrel who passed away on July 15th, 2005.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Prejudice or Opinion ?

Food for thought -

I came to USA 4 years ago - gauche, awkward and insecure. The world looked gigantic and I felt like a tiny speck in it. I came out of the airport and for the very first time since I had made the plan to study abroad, did a sliver of doubt enter my head. Was I ready for this.....? Was I good enough to make my mark in a country that was completely alien to me?

I then saw my sister waving to me and all was well again. My vision narrowed until only she and my BIL were in it. For three weeks I felt I was on holiday with my sister. The time then came for me to spread my wings (for a second time) and go to the University. The world had once again turned into the strange place where I was insignificant. But it had to be dealt with.

But once the program was underway, I never looked back. I still look back at that time with astonishment as I compare the person I was to the person I have now become. I learnt a lot from this country and its people.

Which brings me to the current issue. I am interning currently and am in the market for a car. After talking to several owners and turning down good cars because I cannot drive a stick shift (I still have a horrifying image of the car going backwards on a slope when I had stopped at a traffic light, in India), I came across one of my favorites. An eclipse well witting my mileage and price requirements. I called the guy and then gave him spiel of calling about the car he had advertised.

Before I even finished speaking he asked me, 'Are you Indian?'. I was a little taken aback but answered in the affirmative. Pat comes the answer, 'I don't sell to Indians, Bye'. And, click he hung up. I was stunned. In fact, I still do not know what to say about that. Maybe someone out there can help.

Fastforward to two days ago. Me and a couple of friends went walking. We live in a university town and the crowd is very interesting and never fails to disappoint. We had a nice time looking into all the shops along the sidewalk and were returning home when we here some one yelling out obscenities. I did not pay any attention to it but after a while noticed that my friend had gone very silent.

It then occurred to me that the obscenities were aimed us 'Indians'. I will try and quote from what he said. 'You Indians have to be thankful that WE accepted you.' There was also something to the affect of us being obliged and grateful that THEY had not thrown us out of the country when we first got here.

So what have you people got to say about this? I was not even angered by this. All I felt was pity. Maybe I should have been scared and I probably would have been, had I been alone when this transpired.

It felt as if this country was going backwards. This was not something I wanted to learn or remember from my time here. But the one thing that stuck with me and what prompted this write (mundane though it is), was this an opinion held by the people or is it prejudice eating away at disgruntled individuals? And is it justified?
- - Pens circa esso!