Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Weeping Carrots

A hot, sultry evening in 1997. It is the annual day of the pre-primary section of the school. The auditorium is packed with proud parents watching indulgently as their children parade their skills in singing, dancing, and story-telling. The pièce de résistance is a pantomime put up by the kids, in which they act out the part of various vegetables.

Each vegetable is supposed to come dancing to the stage, introduce itself, and extol its virtues; I am full of carbohydrates, I am good for the eyes, for protein you have to eat me, and so on. Finally, all the vegetables come together holding hands and dance in a circle, emphasising how all of them are equally important for proper nourishment and good health.

The pantomime begins and the four-year-olds suddenly find themselves the centre of attention. While some take to their new-found celebrity status like ducks to water, a few are standing rooted to their spots, paralyzed by fear. There are sprightly tomatoes and terrified cabbages. Confident aubergines and sulking pumpkins. Prancing okras and stricken shallots. Potatoes disoriented by the powerful stage lights and teary-eyed beans wilting in the heat.

Two carrots come on stage, a boy and a girl. The girl carrot, already a nervous wreck, sees her parents and grandparents seated in the front row, forgets her lines and promptly breaks into tears. “Appa...” she cries, holding out both hands and beseeching her father to rescue her from this terrible situation. Some of the other vegetables, already on stage, snigger wickedly, especially the yam and the snake gourd. The drumstick and the bitter gourd are also equally mean and the situation is rapidly spinning out of control.

It is left to the boy carrot to save the situation. Showing admirable panache for one so young, he comes up to the mike and putting up both hands on his hips, looks at his fellow-carrot and the audience in turn and announces with a regret-tinged smile: “Arey, yeh gaajar to ro rahi hai!

The entire audience collapses in helpless laughter.

Yesterday. A hot sultry evening and we are sitting in the same auditorium waiting for the function to begin. It is the farewell function for the outgoing Class 10 students. The carrots and the beans and the other vegetables have all grown up to become self-confident, personable young men and women and it is such a pleasure to just look at them. Most of the batch has managed to stay in the same school and have grown together and the ties of friendship and camaraderie that bind them together seem even stronger than ever before.

I sigh and wonder how quickly time passes.

Picture Courtesy: www.growingyourownveg.com


Archana said...

:) my mom says I was a confident mango, a beautiful Juliet and a terrible cook!

Mom Gone Mad said...

*dabs tears from her eyes and curses uncle who has done this to her!*

Vijay said...

LOL... I can relate to this with my son just finishing 10th. The same kids who were 2 feet 2 when I first saw them tower over me now ... sigh !!!!

Gypsy said...

awww!! :)

mohit said...

wow... u really struck a cord there...
its true time flies past....and in the wink of an eye, the people who were the centre of our lives are just a voice on the phone...

love the way u wrote this one!

Padmaja said...

wow! that was sooo sweet!

Nautankey said...

That was a damn sweet way to show time has flew past :)

gauri said...

Wonderful, wonderful post. Explains my mom's misty eyes when she saw my 4 year old son perform at a recital last year. She was probably reminded of a 4 year-old girl in a red and white frock 25 years ago.

My kids are going to grow too, aren't they? :(


Cynic in Wonderland said...

awww very nice post!the carrots grew up eh?

Velayudhan said...

Nice post. After a stage, the flying time will flash like this, only to make us understand that fresh carrots have arrived.

Renu said...

Really well written :), but sigh! Time does seem to fly fast especially the good times

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Stepping Sideways... by K. Radhakrishnan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.