There’s something to be said about the mind. It hops randomly between disconnected triggers, and out bulges a memory. MM’s post on fancy dress competitions brings me to this.
Till a certain age, committing anything to memory was never a problem for me. I guess that age was probably eight. Given that most of what one learns till that age ends up being in a sing-song sort of way, I never remember being nervous about reciting. But one fancy-dress competition changed all that. At the School Winter Fair, a fancy dress competition was to be taken part in. The trick of course was that not only did you have to dress up as something, but also had to say a few lines on the microphone.
A flood of pink, most of my female classmates had decided to come in as fairies. They wore pink frilly frocks and their parents had wisely attached two gossamer like wings to some part of their arms or backs. They came in and many of them said something or the other about being beautiful, flying about, fluttering, and fulfilling wishes with their magic wands. In one corner was one sullen looking tiger. That tiger was me.
My parents never quite understood fairies I think. So I was dressed up as a tiger. My mother had bought brand new black socks to be worn on my hands and feet, so they would look like paws. My father crafted some beautiful lines -“Rrroarrrr. I am a tiger from Jim Corbett Park. Ggrrrooooaarrr. Some tigers can also be maneaters. But I will be your friend. Gggrrooooooaarrrrr.”. I don’t remember much of it. But it was about 30 seconds long. This overwhelming presence of pink, and being shoved on stage by the uncooperative class teacher, resulted in a rather scared tiger. I said “Roar”. And kept quiet. Then mumbled about being from Jim Corbett Park. Confused, and suddenly very hot in that outfit. I was one muddled-up, confused tiger.
It’s not easy being the odd one out. Especially if you are terrifyingly yellow with black stripes, and in a sea of pink. For some reason many of the boys came in as Sherlock Holmes. Their parents probably found a coat – and stitched up the sleeves to make it look like the gloomy overcoat. I took some consolation in the fact that they all couldn’t pronounce Sherlock Holmes right, or looked rather funny in oversized coats. Or that the girls were beginning to get all itchy, cold and uncomfortable in their frills. Being yellow and stripey, with black sock paws to keep me warm was suddenly not so awful at all.