‘What if I were to wake up as a five year old child?’ I asked. Specky, my wife looked at and simply said, ‘You’re tired after the long flight from London to Delhi and I think you need sleep.’ When I persisted, she dismissed my question as being one that had too many unanswered elements. Well, obviously, we do not know if we are talking of someone walking up with the body of a five year old with the mind remaining the same… and there can be other such combinations as well. But I decided to let alone the mathematics and the science of waking up as a five year old and went along with just the fantasy.

‘Reply,’ I murmured, ‘I’d think of and give better replies.’

‘You said something?’ asked Specky and when she saw me in my blogger’s trance, she went on with whatever it was that she was doing and let me be with my five year old fantasy.

Yes, if anything has bugged me all my life it has been the absence of the right replies at the right time. They always stumbled in late and so the replies that I gave and the replies that came to my mind as an after-thought, have both ganged up to torment me. So I’d simply love to put an end to this torment. The torment of sad, bad, and drab replies.

I know if I had given the right replies that I know I knew I’d have been my teacher’s pet. I know that I got my knuckles rapped by Brother Francis in school because I couldn’t give the correct reply at the right time. I remember how not giving the correct reply made my teacher say something that pinches me hard even today. I remember not being made a part of the cool gang in my class because I thought silence and a cold sigh were great answers.

Silence and cold sighs generally substituted for the brilliantly worded answers that always hooted into my brain from a few minutes to a few hours late. So the thing is that it wasn’t that I did not give the best and the smartest answers because I was not capable… I just did not give them because they did not occur to me at the right time. And this is what I’d want to change because I believe I did not trouble my mind enough or pursued it or persisted or insisted with dedication and force… and always ended up with large doses of silence and cold sighs. That habit went on to become firmly entrenched… and I remember even when I was appearing for a job interview, the CEO talked about corporate communications and the need for stronger PR etc. All was going well when he suddenly asked, ‘What’s the vital difference between a jpeg and a psd file?’ I told him a long-winding cock-and-bull story about images and how they play upon a customer’s mind until he waved and said, ‘Just say you don’t know. Though what you do know is fascinating enough.’

Now, as I was driving back, the correct answer hit me hard and I braked hard, took out my laptop, punched the right answer and emailed him right away. Obviously, a jpeg cannot be edited to the extent that a psd file can be subjected to… and from the communication point-of-view this facet was vital. What happened after this does not matter… because all that I am trying to say is that the absence of the correct reply at the right time hounds me. This bugs me as well and if I am really going to be a five year old again, I am not going to remain content with long bouts of silences and heavy doses of cold sighs for sure.

Specky was reading all this and casually asked me, ‘And how do you think your new five year old avatar is going to avoid being the silence-hugger?’

I noticed that I was silent and a cold sigh was on the verge of my being… and I know the correct reply will come zipping towards me a few hours later, but then it will be too late, as usual.


Sketches_The reply

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.





Arvind Passey
10 August 2014