September 30, 2011

Pompous Ass

Yes, you heard it right. I finally used a profanity in my blog. But to be very honest, today something happened that made me look back at my own self 9 years back in October 2002 and I started laughing. If anyone had peeped in through my window, they would no doubt think that this guy has gone crazy. Lying on his back on his well flattened bean bag, he is laughing away as he reads intently through something that looks like a magazine.

9 years back I was a pompous ass and it took me all these years to finally get it.

(If you are interested in something called Cactus Flower, dear reader, then go on. Else accept the fact that I have acknowledged my shortcomings and hope you come back for the next post)

Believe me, normally I am not one. Not even when I manage to win a game of Ludo against my sister or burn 402 calories in the occasional trips to the gym. But there was this one instance in my life when I had to be one, to uphold the dignity of something I treasure to this date, to survive.

Every college magazine goes through a cycle which I have termed the Rise and Fall of Pompeii. It reaches its zenith in terms of quality and brilliance of the individual and the collective till the team that guides the magazine becomes more and more estranged from the populace they are about to serve. They glorify their False Gods, they begin to believe in their invincibility till one day suddenly a hand, often that of the masses they have begun to despise, destroys their high pedestal and all that’s left is dust. The worst part? They don’t even realize it.

The task of rebuilding is painful. I know it. Getting trust back in an institution is something that requires major sacrifices, but more importantly it requires time and a proof of the right intent. Humble steps are made till all lessons are forgotten till History repeats itself and once again the mighty Hand comes crushing down. The eeriness with which this pattern plays itself out is unbelievable and yet we don’t learn as human beings are weak in nature and in memory.

2010 and 2003 were similar in many aspects. The Mother Ship was agitated with the nonchalance of one of its most important arms. The stewards of Gondor had come to believe that they were the true heirs to the Thorne of the Great Kings. And Boromir had left them. The Mother Ship could easily cut off the arm.
Gondor, the last refuge of sanity, the last bastion of truth was left to defend for itself and it was left to the sanity of Faramir to protect Gondor.

And Middle Earth will never know but Gandalf knows what the cost of resurrection was. And Gandalf felt proud.

Anyway, coming back to the story – a little girl called Hema one day met an old man called Banjo. They were separated by years. She wasn’t even born when Maradona scored the Hand of God, yet as fate would have it, in the small niche of a group of men and women called Cactus Flower Editors, she was the newest flag bearer. Nothing connected them except a crazy ManU fan and a dusty old magazine which has the immense grit and determination to survive. The moment had come again. My gushing emotions on seeing a previous edition was short lived. I had posted on this very blog how delighted I was with what I thought was one of the better efforts in recent years. What I did not say was the path at the peak was the most slippery. 

And slip it did, 3 years later.

When I had sat down to write my editorial in 2003, I was a changed man, perhaps a little bitter with the entire experience and it had poured out straight from the heart – for two pages and then one page of Epilogue! And since then, true to ancient traditions, thereafter broken with a vengeance by the New Age, I had never written anything for the magazine.

And here was another young comrade, facing the same crisis, perhaps worse, coming out victorious and yet all that she says while paying her tribute is, “the eras go by and we, so often, overlook their passing.”
I felt a little ashamed and that’s when I realized I had done the task I was assigned but I could not rise above it. That’s what being a pompous ass is.

I leafed through the magazine that was delivered at my office desk in an extremely busy evening. I knew it had to wait. It was late by the time I was back but I read through the pages in one go. The brilliance of language was still evident but so were the paucity of ideas, the glitter of individual talent was dazzling and so was the dearth in quantity of that talent. It had tried going back to its roots, talking to people who mattered about the things that mattered. All in all, it was a magazine that seemed to reflect what my alma mater was and it does not matter if I subscribe to what it now upholds as its spirit.

After all, the definition of spirit does change with the ages. What does not change is the Truth.

There are a few things that remain eternal and it is their ethereal magnificence which ensures that whenever trouble looms, a steward will come again to hold the reins and keep Gondor safe.

I was about to turn to the last page and cringe at the random words that seem to have been a part of every edition since 2005. It’s like an internal joke of the team but what people fail to realize is that those random set of words destroy a year’s worth of quality literary efforts at one go. And then suddenly I realized the last article was what I would have called an epilogue! And that’s where the Editor became a mortal like a few before her. In an article extremely human, straight from the heart, she prays for remembrance if not for immortality. And that makes her endearing to all who walked before her.

And yeah, that article shows a glimpse of her being a pompous ass as well.

Here’s what best resembles all that we feel every year. The last 15 minutes of Toy Story III.

Here’s to memories, here’s to travelling back thousands of kilometres in a matter of hours. Here’s to hope. Here’s to eternity. Here’s to immortality – not for ourselves but all that we have lived for.

(PS: Thanks to Google. The almost right picture came up)


Ojas said...

For the records Banjo, you did an excellent job with CF :)

Madhurjya (Banjo) said...