An interesting blog I read had a brand new look at the so-called 'Bad' experiences in life - the mistakes or the embarrassment in certain stages of life. She called them the "Ishmaels" of her life. Let me elaborate in her words :
"In the Old Testament, God promised Abraham and his barren wife Sarah - much after she had crossed the acceptable baby-making age - that they would have a son. Years went by without God fulfilling His promise and in her desperation - seeing how they had no heir - Sarah got Abraham to sleep with her maid Hagar so they could have an heir through her. Now, God had promised that the son would come from Sarah. The story goes on to say that Abraham and Sarah did have a son as promised - whom they named Isaac. But the maid's son Ishmael (born much before Isaac) turned out to be a wild donkey of a man who was constantly at war with the son of promise (Isaac) and basically was Abraham's Big Mistake. So in Christian circles, Ishmael is synonymous of one's Big Mistake - the thing that you did on an impulse which continues to haunt you or be a source of regret - an Ishmael can be something as innocuous as an expensive gadget that you can't make payments for."
We all have our Ishmaels, don't we? Stuff that caused embarrassment, pain; harrowing experiences because of wrong decisions in our lives. But there is another side to it. I don't think I would be what I am today without all those Ishmaels in my life. Am sure you have them too.
A few scenes spring to my mind from the earliest of my memories....
- Scene 1 : An embarrassing episode on stage dressed as a teapot. No really, a TEAPOT! In the middle of the poem "I am a little teapot, short and stout...." looking around for parents, and upon seeing them, forgetting the rest of the lines.
- Scene 2 : Playing basketball with the same fervour we currently have for blackberrys - At it constantly! Losing an inter school match, sitting under the net, sobbing like a baby..... in my defense, I was joined by others in a few minutes.
- Scene 3 : Altering the distance between socks and skirt after reaching class. Then looking around to see who had the highest levels of gumption (Use limited imagination here)
- Scene 4 : Scaling a 7 feet high wall in traditional Kerala long skirt (we were supposed to be in a Saraswati Puja, dammit!), with other miscreants, to play badminton in the adjoining club. Getting caught, paraded into Princi's cabin, avoiding eye contact with her for a whole month!
- Scene 5: Wearing a sari, high heels, lipstick and eye makeup for the first time for the school farewell. Tripping all the way to the stage, saying dumb things while trying to look all grown up. Realizing how everyone else looked better than me.
- Scene 6: Red in the face with all the impressive sweeping, mopping and dish washing within the first two days of joining hotel management college. The fact that a few others from the same batch were dressed in formals and dining in the restaurant added to the color on the cheeks and hot air in the lungs.
- Scene 7 : Burning papers, cards and other stuff in exaggerated ceremony with friends. Thank God the memories we wanted to burn still remain......
- Scene 8 : Falling flat on my face in the middle of a cricket field. This was followed by years of practice in falling down from various heights on various occasions to perfect the art.
- Scene 9 : Extended shifts, worked our a***s off on New years Eve, pink champagne and swimming pool. Dangerous combination. Not to mention embarrassing. Ask me and my then room mate. What say, Vini?
- Scene 10 : Crashing down on a kinetic Honda. The friend who owned it was sitting behind me, and she had a minor heart attack. The cow (or bull- don't remember) we hit errr... I hit survived, though.
- Scene 11 : Declaring to mom that I'd get married only AFTER I buy my own car. Sheepishly telling her a few months later that I was in love, and the car could wait.