Author's Note: You can read my first 77-Fiction... titled, "Grief" - HERE. This post also contains info on the various genres of micro-fiction... so you can acquaint yourself with the 'dribble', the 'drabble', the 'droubble'... and the like.
Well, this is my first attempt at a flash fiction. But before I proceed with it, I am reminded of the fact that this is my 112th post. Which means that the previous one was 111th... aka cricket's equivalent of the "Nelson". Made famous by the recently departed English Umpire with the kindly looks and ruddy cheeks, David Shepherd or Shep... who will be fondly remembered for his quirk of hopping from foot to foot whenever the scoreboard registered the dreaded "Nelson". That was his trademark... or should I say his 'signature manoeuvre'.
There are others too... like Billy Bowden... known for his dramatic signalling style (link). THE Billy Bowden with the "crooked finger of doom" and the "double crooked finger six-phase hop" to name a few. Most cricketers are superstitious and a score reading 111 (said to represent one of Nelson's eyes, one of his arms, and one of his legs) is thought to bring bad luck. To counteract that, players on the batting side are meant to lift one leg off the ground until the score moves on. Shep never lost the fear and, commendably neutral, would shake a leg for both sides. So endearing... na... ???
But since this is a mere blog and not the cricket field I did not resort to any such measures... and am none the worse for it! *a big grin*
I also understand that the great and indomitable Gaul... the redoubtable Asterix turned 50 last week (on 29 October 1959). A very Happy Birthday to the perennially plucky little big hero and may he complete a century and more... while remaining in the pink of health! Ummm... half a century and still going strong... ?? Must be those magic potions conjured up by that medical magician, the Druid Getafix.
Wonder where does all this leave Asterix' best bud... the Gaulish menhir delivery man and warrior Obelix though... ??? He too must be turning 50 simultaneously then... and indulging in his favourite pasttime of hunting and eating wild boars and beating up Romans (all the while uttering his catch phrase: "These Romans are crazy"), with Dogmatix at his heels. By Toutatis! But try as he might, he is not allowed to drink the magic potion ever again. Much to his chagrin though. Reason... ??? He fell into the cauldron with the magic potion when he was a small boy and is always strong. You know... evergreen strength... !!!
Here is a write-up marking Asterix' golden jubilee... that contains an interview with his co-creator and translator who helped him conquer an English readership - the artist Albert Uderzo, who is still sprightly at 82. He has continued to create new Asterix adventures after the death of his friend René Goscinny in 1977, taking on the scripting as well as drawing.
The internet reached yet another milestone - the middle age - aka 40 years last month. With its birth... it changed the world forever. 40 glorious years of breathtaking innovation. But then most folks say that 40 is the new 30... so, the internet must be in the prime of youth then. What... ???
Veteran sports journalist and stellar cricket writer Rajan Bala passed away last month. As an incisive and analytical writer, he simply had no peers. It is a very sad day indeed and I'm sure avid cricket fans will remember him with warmth and reverence. I will miss his columns. May his soul RIP. Cricinfo, the 'Bhagavad Gita of the Beautiful Game', has a short obituary. His protégé Suresh Menon pays tribute. The Times of India's Satish Vishwanathan used a Sachin Tendulkar anecdote to demonstrate Bala's hold.
Now... to get back to my 'flash fiction'. Here you go:
He was new to everything... having arrived barely a couple of weeks ago... on the shores of this British dominion. As one of the administrators assigned to the then Governor General and Viceroy of India. Yes, the one referred to as the 'Laat Saab' by the locals aka the hoi polloi. The many languages and the strange customs that the country boasted... were alien to him. He seemed tentative and unsure of himself, an unusual change.
Being totally unfamiliar with Bengali... the local language of Bengal or even Hindi, he was completely stumpted for words... while interacting with the servants. Thankfully, one of his senior colleagues... sensing his predicament... had given him a few 'tips'... saying that there was no need to learn the local languages.
That most of the staff spoke English while the servants spoke a kind of pidgin english... which he'll soon get used to.
The older man had then smiled and added, "Hindi is very much like English, they say." And then proceeded to share with him a little 'trick'. He was astonished at first... and then thought perhaps it was meant as a joke... and laughed.
The strange and amusing part of it, however, was that it worked... leaving him quite flummoxed. Perhaps by the familiar-sounding words and the unexpected results they produced!
In the evening he would call, "Chawkidar!"
The fellow would appear, "Ji Saab?"
He then said, "There was a brown crow."
The Chowkidar: "Ji haan Saab," and carried out the task.
In the morning his instruction would be, "Chawkidar! There was a cold day." Again the fellow would do as asked...
And all the while... he would chuckle to himself and silently thank the old man profusely.
Some info gathered, courtesy: Wikipedia.
On the evolution of the internet: What better time to recap on the last 40 years and provide a brief history of how a technology that has changed our lives, came to be. Before you begin reading however, if you'd like a more visual representation, you may want to sit back and watch this wonderful video that will take you through the decades to today (Link)
A handmade oil painting reproduction of "A British Officer of a Madras Sepoy Battalion Attended by a Sepoy Servant" - a painting by (attr. to) Imhoff, Carl C.A. von (Pic courtesy: link)