A few ten thousand years ago, our forefathers lived in caves or other crude shelters. Some bright spark discovered that by rubbing two sticks together more sparks could be produced, which lead to forest fires becoming a common occurrence. High fashion consisted of the latest in sheepskin. The loudest sounds were that of thunder and the roar of a famished lion, which was good, because it was an ominous warning that they should take to their heels. The Tower of Babel had not been built then. Communication consisted of a series of grunts and arm waving in its most rudimentary form.
Research has shown that the first phrase coined by the wise old men of yore was “Those were the good old days”
Sounds interesting, does it? It was the abandoned beginning of an article for our college magazine. If the lightning has not struck you yet, it was about the different phrases used by the generations of humans. For example, our grandparents wax eloquent about the golden times, (“good old days”) when rice was one anna a kg, and fish grew in neighbourhood ponds. Conversely enough, our parents NEVER stop reminding us how cushy our life is. (As in) “We walked 5 km to school”, “We used a slate and a pencil” (How on EARTH did they mix?). Not to mention the fact that they didn’t see cars (or horseless carriages) until they were forty. Okay, maybe both they and I are exaggerating here, but bear with us, our memory isn’t like it was!
Unfortunately, at that last sentence, writer’s block kicked in. For two months, I stopped work on “Golden Days”, and it was consigned to the deep wastes of “My Documents” (from where no document has ever returned intact) and I set my nefarious sights on more lofty ambitions, like beating the world’s longest sleep record!
Then…. Thor struck his hammer one fine day.. (just a fancy way of grabbing attention)my phone rang. Not suspecting anything, I picked up the mobile..
Voice: “Hello, Shruti? This is the Assistant Magazine Editor (AME) speaking. I want to speak about the non-appearance of the article on my desktop”
Me: “uhuh.. I… busy….uhm…work…lab..err no ideas, no language… uhm”
AME: “Okay drop whatever you were doing. I have a new topic for you to write about”
Me: “I can hardly wait”
AME: (great fanfare and virtual bursting of firecrackers) “You are hereby assigned to write about THE ROLE OF ENGINEERS IN THE PAST & FUTURE ”
Me: “Err wait a minute. That’s an ESSAY! Who CARES what we can do in the future or the past… Do you? Do THEY? Are you sure you want people to READ your magazine?”
AME: “Oh come on. Be a sport. Write about Leonardo Da Vinci. By all accounts, a very interesting fellow. International jokester, ‘happy’ personality, painter, sculptor, inventor, anatomist and god knows what else. ”
Me: “I am not sure that Dan Brown’d appreciate me invading his turf. There’s so much to write about Leonardo that I might as well make it Leonardo Da Vinci: The Man Behind the Shroud*” (*The Turin Shroud, not his ACTUAL shroud)
AME: “Make that your second article. Right after ROLE OF ENGINEERS”
Me: (hysterically) “I can’t work with ICs and buildings! Give me humour. Give me quirkiness. Above all give me something to be awake about!” (The battle cry before Liberty, Equality & Fraternity!)
AME: “That’s all very well. But do you know that this article will be the centrepiece of the magazine? It’s a honour for you!”
Me: (suspiciously) “So, you didn’t get anyone else to do it, did you?”
AME: (Chuckling sheepishly) “Uhm no, but if you don’t write it, I will.” (hastily) “But please do and it’s due in the first week of 2005!”
Suddenly an idea struck me, they’re going to get an essay about the role of engineers that they never bargained for… Bits and bytes fell into place.
Me: “Okay… Whatever you say, boss.”
I kept the phone down and laughed maniacally.
Me: Muahahaha *cough*
(Sorry Govind! I HAD to insert that line!!)
***** The End (Or IS it?)*****
PS: This is NOT a fictional work.. All these events DID happen! Will keep you updated!