Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The twelve square existence

The Sunday newspapers would be spread eagled across Sagar’s room. The colorful illustrations in the additional pages would hold his attention till the last printed word. Everything from which socialite got groped at which event to why the new Bollywood sensation considered the industry sleazy would find an audience in him. He just had to know it all. Did it matter that these were things he would never discuss with anyone? Of course not. He liked to call them his ‘guilty pleasures’.

Apart from the Page 3 sections and the multi-boxed cartoon segments if there was one other column he never missed it was the one labeled ‘This Week For You’. Sitting cozily next to faces he never remembered would be his future printed in bold letters for the week ahead. Without a second thought he would pace his forefinger down to a square with the word ‘Aquarius (January 21 – February 19)’ and hastily skim through the highlights. His father’s loud requests for the ‘color section’ of the Sunday newspaper would fade away as he tried to fathom what he could expect in the coming week.

‘Don’t waste your time on that. Those things are a complete hoax anyway. Not everything they write applies to every Aquarian in the world, you know. Your future is what you make of it’ would be his father’s argument against the twelve square column. As much as Sagar would be tempted to agree with his old man there was always an ounce of uncontrollable inquisitiveness that would get the better of him.

His personal favorite was always ‘Love life looking good. You and your partner will spend a lot of time together.’ He would, week after week, hope that he finds that illusive ‘partner’ since he could not wait for his love life to be spent in bliss. He somehow fancied meeting her in random places like supermarkets or his scooter garage. She would, he thought, fly in with her shiny Scooty motorbike and park it right next to him. Just like in the movies, he would say to himself. She would alight, glance at him with those gorgeous eyes and flick her cascading hair from one side to another with a haunting smile.

Sagar was a hopeless case of never ending hope as this routine went on for years.

On occasion he would ignore the forecast of his non-existent love life and focus on more practical seeming issues. Finance, sports, family and of course, travel to distant lands. On the weeks that had foreign tour predicted he would await some sign all the time that he would be called away on an ‘assignment’ by a foreign land. Every country from Australia to Burma was on his list. On occasion he would also wish he applied for a passport in case of an emergency situation were he needed to fly out midnight.

Never once did any such call come. His relatives wouldn’t invite him to places inside his own state in India so getting out of the country seemed a far cry. But he never lost hope in his twelve squares. He would religiously visit it every Sunday arranging his plans as required.

When Sagar did eventually get the overseas assignment almost ten years later he was 24. He had still not applied for a passport when he was offered the job so his father had to pull some major strings to get him one. He somehow managed to make it just in time and flew out of the nation with a smile on his face and faith in the predictions.

He has been abroad for five years now. He still continues to read the twelve squares every weekend with the same childish enthusiasm he once had. It still serves as a guessing game to see what he needs to do or avoid the next week.

‘It took me almost a decade to get one thing true’ he sometimes says to himself ‘so maybe I will meet her in a supermarket in ten more years.’ He has realized that the ‘twelve square column’ might have delayed justice but did not deny it to him.

He keeps his eye open in supermarkets every weekend hoping another column follower is out there doing the same thing.


2 reflections:

kooksi said...

everybody does that pal!!very humourous..keep it up!!

shakri said...

Thanks mate for the appreciative response. Hope connected with an ounce of predictability is such a wonderful thing yet at times it makes us borderline paranoid when we depend too much on it.