Sunday, May 31, 2009

You Are My Candy Girl

My earliest memories of Archie comics are my mum reading them. My first contact with the gang was when I was about 6 yrs of age and my mum asked me to find the book she was reading. It’s called Archie she said. Huh? A-R-C-H-I-E.

I found it for her. Testimony that I could identify letters of the alphabet and knew what a comic book looked like.

Thus began my journey with the teenaged gang from Riverdale complete with the blonde, the money, the vain, the foodie, the jock, the nerd, the gangly, the artist and of course the all-American boy next door, Archie.

Archie and the gang brought America into our lives. They were our first introduction to hamburgers and sodas, detentions and dates, proms and tuxedos. Riverdale was meant to be representative of the ideal America of the 60’s and 70’s complete with fashions from those days (and prices). Every issue had us reading about Archie juggling his two lady loves, Jughead angling for another meal (Big Ethel angling for Jughead), Reggie preening, Betty pining, Veronica flouncing, Dilton computing, Moose flexing and Midge controlling (and of course the near human Hotdog).

This was a regular group of teenagers struggling with homework, pocket money and love. And who better than Archie to epitomise this struggle?

From the very first issue Archie has been caught between Betty and Veronica. Betty, the perfect teenage girl who can do no wrong, who worships the ground Archie walks on and knits sweaters for him, and Veronica the rich brat whom Archie worships and saves all his money to buy sweaters for. It’s a love triangle that’s been playing for decades now.

Not anymore. Archie is finally going to end the struggle and make his mind up. The 600th issue of Archie and the gang has the teenagers all grown up and thinking of marriage, and the big question now is whom will Archie choose?

Will it be the good girl Betty who will probably be another Stepford wife and have his house always smelling of freshly baked cookies and have everything in place right from the laundry to the flower vases? Or will it be Veronica who will probably make Archie sleep on the couch every other day and with whom Archie will never have a dull day?

All over the internet people are rooting for the firebrand brunette. Apparently no one likes a goody-two-shoes.

But the best insight was from someone who thought the perfect ending would be Archie choosing to spend the rest of his life with best bud and self-proclaimed woman hater Jughead. With the world opening up to same-sex marriages, maybe it’s time Riverdale got with it too huh?

Now that’s an idea isn’t it? 

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Box

They told her it would never work. They told her she was chasing phantom dreams. Or are dreams by definition phantom? They said she was working herself up to failure. They all said it, everyone around her.  Standing there, mocking, jeering, waiting for her to fail. Everywhere she looked she saw it. Faces full of disdain. Sometimes there was pity. The kind you feel on seeing a wild beast sitting depressingly still in one corner of a dank and dark zoo cage. Trapped.

She was trapped too. They had trapped her. Everywhere she looked there were walls. Chains. There was no way of escaping. This was her punishment. They were making sure she understood the consequences of her actions. She had to. That was what they were here for. To make sure.

They had tried talking first. Then they stopped. It made her feel better - when they stopped, not the talking. She had tried talking back. But that was when they said it would never work. So then she stopped. It made them feel better too.

She was a dreamer. As a child she would talk of growing up. She would talk of seeing the world. She would plan all the changes she would bring about. She tried talking to them. They told her it would never work even then. So she spoke to her walls. All lined up with dolls and stuffed animals. That was all she ever did. Talk.

Then the talking stopped. Now there was silence. She only looked. They told her to stop it. It seemed unnatural. It scared them. So she stopped. That made them feel better. This quiet, non-looker. She was learning. Understanding. Growing up.

She had once planned to bring about change. They thought otherwise. She had once planned on seeing the world. They had trapped her.

Now all she had was her mind. They thought she was losing it. But she knew differently. She knew how safe she was there. Where she brought about all the changes she wanted. Where she could talk to her heart’s content. To anyone. Where, she went wherever she wanted to. No one asked her to stop. No one said it would never work. She was happy with her mind. She did not know it was a trap.

She had tried to live in a circle. They had forced her back into their box. 

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Damn Generalisation!

I’m so furious right now that I’m almost bursting with indignation. The Fellow, knowing that I need to talk my rage out listened to my tirade for a good 15 minutes before returning to his ‘rajma chawal’. Since I no longer have a captive audience, or at least one that isn’t bonding with his favourite food, I decided to spew all the venom here.

Men. Hmph. What is with them and generalisation? Just because you have the misfortune of being married to a stupid woman who wouldn’t know the difference between a comma and a full stop doesn’t mean that all the women you meet have the same lack of grey cells.

Ok so maybe I’m generalising here and including all men in the above statement. Let me be more specific and mention that I’m talking about one man. One moron who wasn’t smart enough to get out of marrying the bluntest tool in the shed and now believes that all females are like the pain he has to live with.

I’m not this judgmental and critical of others as a rule. However this man’s wife is someone even the Dalai Lama would lose patience with. She deserves an entry in the record books for being a textbook woman - the kind of woman men have nightmares about, the kind of woman that legends talk of in quiet, warning tones. Unfortunately, this doesn’t bode well for the rest of the sex. Her husband is so convinced that like his wife, all women fight at the drop of a hat, cry at the sound of a ‘no’, are hopeless with math, can’t follow instructions and make life generally miserable, that he refuses to treat them as equals who are capable of having an IQ more than 90.

What put me in such a towering rage is the fact that this seemingly intelligent man (I have my doubts about that now) treats me the kind of condescension and smugness that makes me want to punch his nose or knee his tenders (whichever I can reach quickest). I mean just because you can’t have a minute’s intelligent conversation with your wife, doesn’t mean you can’t with anyone else’s wife. There is nothing more annoying in life than being treated like a dimwit simply because of a generalisation. - and nothing more expressive of the other person’s stupidity.

Aaaaggghhhh. The next time I meet this chap, the Fellow better be at hand to hold my arms and tie my knees or I’m going to do some real damage. Seriously. 

Friday, May 8, 2009

Things We're Killing Off Slowly - I

Writing. Quite literally writing with a pen/pencil on paper/any other writing material is dying a slow and steady death.

Why this?

The Fellow asked me to help him out with something and the first thing I did was to pick up a book and pen to do it. Thirty seconds later I was reaching out for my laptop and Ms Word.

Now I know that most people don’t really write write once they’re out of college and the whole exam giving-writing for three hours circus we’re made to go through is behind us like a horrible nightmare. But the fact that I found/realised I could type faster (much much much faster) than I could write shocked me a little bit. I mean I could once take down what the teacher was going on and on about in class almost verbatim (without using shorthand) and now I couldn’t write 2 pages (actually 2 lines) without my hand resisting the unfamiliar action!

I know technology changes the way you live and do things blah blah blah. But I can’t come to terms with the fact that writing will soon become a lost art (if it’s not already) and in a couple of decades museums will carry samples of handwriting in temperature controlled glass cases for school children to press their noses against and look at in open mouthed wonder!

Of course someone living in the 18th-19th centuries probably thinks we’re philistines today, what with our ball pens and gel pens and flimsy paper instead of gorgeous ink pens and quills and heavy beautiful paper which were an expensive commodity at one time. If I could I would love to write that way – copperplate writing and everything.

Instead, here I am clattering on my keyboard at full speed with my fingers quite literally losing the muscle strength to hold a pen for extended periods of time anymore. 

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bird Poop

The Fellow is off to some specialised professional course in a month. This requires him to study like he’s a nervous 15yr old again appearing for his board exams. Yesterday, full of enthusiasm and determination, he decided to pull an all-nighter and being the supportive wife that I am, I decided to give him some company.

Now, staying up all night reading, watching TV on my computer, watching the Fellow sweat it out on some advanced physics and playing random games on Facebook can get quite tiring and eventually I felt I needed a snack to revive my energy (just so that I could stay up you know).

So I go into the kitchen to put my snack together and I heard something outside the window. Staying very still I waited. Nothing. So I merrily continued with my food. I was just putting the finishing touches on my sandwich and had just leant across to grab a knife when I heard the noise again - this time inside the kitchen. I look up and  see a sparrow fluttering around (in panic it seemed like) and then going and perching itself on the light fixture and setting its beady eyes on me, following my every move (and no I’m not delusional).

Now the question in my head was not where the bird came from. What I was wondering was why it was up at 2 in the morning?

So keeping one eye on the bird and one eye on my food, I tiptoed out of the kitchen, careful not to make any loud noises for fear of offending the creature staring at me. As soon as I was a safe distance away I all but ran calling out to the Fellow to get the thing out of my kitchen. And the response to his wife’s near state of panic?

“But why”?

Why? Why not? I tried explaining the concept of bird poop to my husband at 2.15 am.

“Oh it’s a sparrow. They don’t poop like that. They just do little things here and there.”

That’s a relief.