Monday, October 27, 2008

Of pyrotechnics, ass scratching and billet-doux

It's that time of the year again when the product of the blood and sweat of little children toiling it out in a factory in faraway Sivakasi go up in the air and, a loud bang and a fine display of pyrotechnics later,'s all over.

I could now do two things - either ramble on about how the meaning of Diwali has changed for me since i was a little girl hiding behind papa while the big boys burst bombs to the big lazy, semi-cynical girl that is now typing out this blog OR blog about how difficult it has become for me to write post the 99th post.

Well, technically I could do more than two things. I could also, as dear brother Shanky puts it, "Scratch my ass and stop pontificating about life". Or, I could, as amma keeps telling me - "Learn to cook and and get married soon".

But I instead choose to talk about the first love letter, or billet-doux as the French put it, addreseed to me.

It was in second grade. We had just moved from an obscure village in Andhra Pradesh called Dommeru to a not-so-obscure town, again in Andhra Pradesh, called Tadepalligudem. I was, yet again, the new girl in class. In those days, I was extremely shy. I wouldn't talk unless addressed to, and even then, only in a combination of umms, aahs and other such monosyllables.

So it was one of those days when the assigned subject teacher was absent and a substitute teacher had taken over. I was sitting in one of the last rows in the left side corner of the room and busy doing the work assigned, when the person sitting next to me passed me a crumpled piece of paper. I ironed it out to see what was on it. The writings on that seemingly innocuous paper made me turn a violent shade of beetroot.

'143' it said, along with a pencil sketch of a girl with two pony tails, which, I safely assume, was me. (143= I love you, in Indian second grade lingo). The sender had even scrawled out his signature at the end.

The rest of the story, as we say, was proverbial history. Teacher walks up to Little Shilpa and notices the not-so-innocuous piece of paper. Teacher hauls up boy who had scrawled signature in the said paper. Boy confesses after severe interrogation. Boy taken to Principal and caned. Little Shilpa mortified by entire incident. 20 years later Little Shilpa grows into Big Shilpa and on a very boring Diwali evening, blogs about the incident, wondering if Boy still remembers her name because try as she may, she does not remember his.