Monday, November 24, 2008

Days of Innocence ....

Opening my office dak pad on a Monday morning is hardly an enjoyable exercise. While mindlessly marking the letters to various sections this morning , I suddenly found an envelop bearing the name of NAAA- our academy in Shimla . I was asked to ‘pin down the elusive quality that distinguishes us from the rest’ by the Director General of the Academy . He had asked me to ‘distill this essence of ‘Life at Yarrows /Academy’. Aha, now that is something ! I stopped reading rest of the dak and like a true general of CAG’s army I rose to the call of the service , picked up my pen and decided to start writing right ahead . The pen did not move for many minutes.
I was trying to think of days when office building did not remind me of the important meeting at 4 for which I have yet to write a brief or when ATNs, memos, IRs , and record productions were merely academic subjects and not hard core realities of life . I pushed aside all these dementors like realities by happy thoughts of our dreamlike existence in our beloved yarrows. I had to write my most favorite reminiscences , a Julie Andrew kinda list of my favorite things that fill my mind in times of need . The list got muddled up in my brain. There were room secrets, batch secrets and taboos …Just can’t tell everyone about those .Then there were unspeakable facts …I had to respect those. There were also things that may be seen as clichés , I would avoid those too …..and rest , by jove, they are so personal, would anyone get the ‘feel’ of it just by my poorly drafted words. (I sincerely regretted sleeping in those classes of drafting ‘complete, concise and correct reports’). How I wish I could borrow Dickens’ words. I would have then famously said about those days that “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness ,it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,…..we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.” The dementors came back to me despite the image of yarrows still wet in my eyes – may be the contrast was just too much.
It was just this morning only that I was thinking of Sisyphus. Am I going to spend my life like that? Even gods, for some reason decided that there is no dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labour. His scorn of the gods, his hatred of death, and his passion for life won him that unspeakable penalty in which the whole being is exerted toward accomplishing nothing. Just nothing. This is the price that must be paid for the passions of this earth. Am I a Sisyphus coming back to the plains -- down with a heavy yet measured step toward the torment of which he will never know the end .May be not….the dreadfully dull and meaningless daily existence may not be the stuff made of dreams but then it is not a torment—it is great fun also .At least sometimes. On some moments it is worth living. It is worth bearing when those moments are not there … After all, a long walk, a refreshing bath, a cold breeze and lots of memories…. above all my imagination, my ability to enjoy all this –that is also a part of my being. How it can be a torment then .Perhaps these patches of indescribable pain – the feeling of spending time in vain , make me appreciate the moments when life is not so bad.
Oh, but it was definitely better in those days . Then I thought of Yarrows and the exact words came from Mary Hopkins
Once upon a time there was a tavern
Where we used to raise a glass or two
Remember how we laughed away the hours
And dreamed of all the great things we would do
Those were the days my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day
We'd live the life we choose
We'd fight and never lose
For we were young and sure to have our way.
Those were the days, oh yes those were the days !
Then the busy years went rushing by us
We lost our starry notions on the way
If by chance I'd see you in the tavern
We'd smile at one another and we'd say
Those were the days, oh yes those were the days

Just tonight I stood before the tavern
Nothing seemed the way it used to be
In the glass I saw a strange reflection
Was that lonely woman really me………………
Oh my friend we're older but no wiser
For in our hearts the dreams are still the same
Those were the days, oh yes, those were the days

PS: No this is not what I will write in my Julie Andrews like list to DG (NAAA). I will find words to tell the tale – my tale, for that .


deeps said...

at least you have an office to go to ha?

why Dickens’? you have expressed it quite beautifully ..

Uday said...

very nicely written ,congratulations !!
Memories of childhood so fresh,pure and simple.Life was SIMPLE then.We used to be happy with what ever was given by parents.We used to share our toys with friends ,brothers /sisters.

One used to value the gifts received and cherish the memories.
Now no one has TIME for the LITTLE things which gave us happiness.YES those were the days......

Uday Naik