While sitting down to pen this 170th article of the Trivial Travails , having no clue what-so-ever what to pen (quite like the previous 169), I decided to spend the evening in the garden musing on life. The weather couldn’t have been better and with ABCD to give me company (Atticus running around, Beethoven playing in the background, Cohiba between the fingers and the Dalmore-15 with rocks and a dash of water nestled in the other hand), I too, like Wodehouse, pondered that if you come to think of it, life is such a strange thing. “So unlike anything else, don’t you know, if you see what I mean?”
I mean, look at how this first month of 2017 has just slipped by. And boy, what a month it has been…in one part of the globe they decided to make a sequel to Apocalypse Now and accordingly they started shooting in Washington on January 20, and within ten days a different form of shooting spread to Arizona, Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia, Illinois, Texas, Florida, California and Mississippi, without too much of a fanfare but with a lot of alternative facts, period! The blond protagonist has given a new meaning to “me-glow-mania” and executive orders. As he had promised those imbeciles who wanted him there, the fun has just begun with the “Monday night massacre” and now wait and watch how the phrase “united we stand, divided we fall” becomes a prophecy.
On the other part of the globe, another form of history was created by another family. Serena Williams beat her sister Venus in straight sets to win her seventh Australian Open and a record 23rd Grand Slam singles title.
Serena aged 35, passed Steffi Graf in the all-time list of major winners. She paid tribute to her sister, who was playing her first major final for eight years, saying: “There’s no way I would be at 23 without her. There’s no way I’d be at one without her. She’s my inspiration.” And people talk of sibling rivalry?
And not to be outdone, the men’s finals also rewrote history. In perhaps the greatest and certainly least likely triumph of his career, Roger Federer defeated his nemesis Rafael Nadal, clinching his 18th Grand Slam title. With this breathtaking victory, Federer became the first man to take five or more titles at three Grand Slam events and, at 35, the second-oldest man behind Ken Rosewall to win a major singles trophy. He paid tribute to Nadal saying, “I would have been happy to lose, to be honest. The comeback was as perfect as it was.” And that ladies and gentlemen is what class is all about…and what champions are all about. No alternative facts, period!
And having bid adieu to January, we welcome February with open arms, but then again one tends to question if such a welcome is indeed called for. Yes, this is the month when some of my dear friends like Sivaji, Neera, Silvia, Suresh, Rekha, Vinita, Rewa and Nandini decided to descend to this world of ours, but is also the month when King George VI passed away and Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II. But then, it is also the month when Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots was beheaded for apparently conspiring to kill Queen Elizabeth I. And on 11th of this month in 1990, Nelson Mandela was released from prison after 27 years. It is also the month when Abraham Lincoln was born and so was my sister and my mother, but then it is also the month that my father died. It is the month that my younger brother and I bid adieu to our respective independence and while the younger one tied the knot on the 12th, the wiser and braver one did it on the 13th and 36 glorious years have proved that triskaidekaphobia is just that…only a psychosomatic fear of the number 13!
And 14th February is not only about Valentine’s Day but is also the day that Wodehouse, the maestro passed on to the heavens above to bring about a smile to the residents of the Pearly Gate. For us mere mortals, he left behind masterpieces like:
“How anybody can compose a story by word of mouth face to face with a bored-looking secretary with a notebook is more than I can imagine. Yet many authors think nothing of saying, ‘Ready, Miss Spelvin? Take dictation. Quote no comma Sir Jasper Murgatroyd comma close quotes comma said no better make it hissed Evangeline comma quote I would not marry you if you were the last person on earth period close quotes Quote well comma I’m not so the point does not arise comma close quotes replied Sir Jasper twirling his moustache cynically period And so the long day wore on period End of chapter.’
Thankfully, one does not need a secretary to dictate this column otherwise, with due apologies to Wodehouse, the girl would probably be saying to herself as she took down the dictation, “Well comma this beats me period How comma with homes for the feebleminded touting for custom on every side comma has a man like this succeeded in remaining at large mark of interrogation.”
And before I sign off, a few random thoughts:
- Do you know that we live in an age, where mentioning you read a book seems a little bit like showing off?
- Do you know that the older I get, the earlier it gets late?
- Do you know that you never get a second chance to make a first impression…unless you meet the second person for the first time?
Till next fortnight… .