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     Volume 5 Issue 96 | May 26, 2006 |

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The Unfinished Agenda

Richa Jha

And there have been many! For every Slice that finally got written, there were several more that couldn't see the light of the day. Leaving you with glimpses of a few narratives that never progressed beyond the stage you see them in here. Perhaps some day, these stories will stand on their own…

Yellow Lights
My son declared last evening that he is leaving this house for another where there are only yellow lights. Since he seems to be favourably inclined towards leaving this house for every other reason, I didn't pay much attention to his announcement. But he persisted. He suggested that we, too, should accompany him to see the difference. White lights don't allow him to 'see' or 'think properly'.

I refused to budge from my non-thinking pulpit. "I think I will stay on while you people look around the yellow zone. I like white lights."
The Hubby made a feeble attempt at hiding his connivance with the son, but …
This, That, and the Other.
This week, for my son's fifth birthday, I decided not to have that kind of a celebration. You know, where there's a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, and a fraction of the first this packaged smartly as a different this, or a slight variation of the first that, passed off as a big new that. Now come on, you've been to this kind of a party several times; we all have, haven't we? This is also the one that, cloaked in the garb of a kiddy party, effectively becomes that other kind of party. The one where the parents end up having a bigger bash than the little ones.
I was certain I would not get into this kind of a thing…

Master Planner
The Hubby Speaks:
As I looked at my watch impatiently waiting at the level crossing into the Airport Road, I had a sinking feeling we were not going to make it. The flight was less than forty five minutes away, and I was certain it would take off without us onboard. I looked askance at The Wifey as she hummed and requested our driver to turn up the volume of the music playing. Damn it, how could she be so unperturbed?

The usual five minutes at the rail crossing had ambled into several five minutes, and for the first time I had a premonition that this holiday was doomed. I wondered why I was being so polite. I knew it was the wrong time to broach this, but deeply annoyed as I was, I charged on, "You see what happens when you leave everything for the last minute?"

The Son (not yet 5) speaks:
I like holidays. I always tell mom that I want to go on a holiday, I want to go on a holiday, but no, she says, we can't be holidaying forever. I say, please, will you pick me up from school early one day and then take me holidaying, please? I see other children going home early every once in a while, please?

Mom said, and why do you think they go home early? I said, because they are not feeling well. Ah! So you see son, we can't be bunking school to holiday. Forget about it.

I said I would forget about it only if she told me what bunking means. Sounded something like in my army game, so I wasn't letting go of it easily.

Mom tried explaining, I kept waiting for my army part to come, but she was through even before I knew it, and without a mention of the commandoes.

She rounded it up by saying that good children don't bunk.

I told her I did not understand, and that because she had not been able to explain it properly, she would have to take me on a holiday...

The Grandfather
"The easiest occupation in this world is being a grandfather," I teased my father this time when we went vacationing home.

"You really think so", he turned to me with sparkling eyes adjusting his spectacles and quizzed me with deep puckers.

"Sure", I said with a cockish confidence. "What do you have to do all day? Just…

The Baby Bag
There are certain things I'll never do: smoke, because I love myself; waste water, because every drop is precious; roll down the car window and throw the wrapper out, because each of us can make a difference; or, move around with the damned baby bag…

A New Coat of Paint
The building I live in is an eyesore. In a sea of glistening sets of apartments with fresh coats of paints and polished doors and varnished balcony bars and sparkling tassles and lavish draperies and pretty painted living beings in them, ours is the only building that sticks out like a shrivelled piece of rotting radish.

In fact, it is such an anomaly in a sea of stylish constructions that often, for the purpose of upholding the sanctity of the poshness of the neighbourhood, our apartment is notionally put on the fringes of this locality, and referred to as not quite belonging there. It suits everyone fine…

The Uncut Ribbon
The Wifey Speaks:
It is not everyday that I have the honour of inaugurating a school and then chairing the inaugural seminar on 'Do Students Need Education". But before I get to that, a brief detour of how I got there. There are only two quick ways of getting to the front page of all newspapers. Get killed, preferably in as gruesome a manner as you can; or have a quarter page advertisement released saying how great a person you are. The first option was easier (because it wouldn't cost me a penny), but then what was the point. Dead men cut no ribbons. The second option looked more do-able, only, where was the money for it? I looked with pleading eyes at The Hubby, but he firmly shook his head. "I'll have to empty out my life time of savings for that…", so again, it would be a self defeating exercise. Beggars don't cut ribbons either.

The Work Station
There are two categories of people in this world. Those who can work at the table, and those who can work everywhere else but there. The former set of people do well in life. After all, they are the ones who, from an early age, learn to sit straight. They don't hunch. They don't spread themselves on the examination desk, eventually dozing off until the last-five-minutes bell goes. Even if they may be fooling around in front of their PCs, their bosses will never think they are bluffing.

I belong to the second category. Which means that, and though I hate to put it so crudely, I am a spineless slouching ape with little control over when my body starts resembling an amoeba!

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