As a student of Logic in my younger years, the first two examples of absolutely positive and negative statements I stumbled upon were,
(1) Man is mortal.
(2) No man is perfect.
So utterly true are these sentences and so often repeated that they stand eroded of all meaning and gravity, and at times I suspect, of context too. I mean, those are naked truths shred to the last molecule of verity. What further disintegration could be possible? Yet, it appears, there is a Boson particle after all, especially to the second one of those timeworn aphorisms.
Unlike mortality, and here I am inclined to reflect on Benjamin Franklin’s compelling insight into human longevity –‘Many people die at twenty five and aren’t buried until they are seventy five’– perfection is a relative term.
We all know even Achilles was not perfect, and yet he was perfect enough to his subjugated adversaries, overwhelmingly so to whom he chose to chop and dishonour like Hector. To cut a winding argument short, he was perfect enough by all imaginable stretches of reason. Some of you may argue here, and rightly so, Achilles was more than what humans could breed, the son of a man and a goddess. What promise then, what virtue, and what art can I, a man born of a man and woman claim to have, that is so polished and impeccable that it glistens brighter than the very idea of faultlessness?
It turns out though, I do have a proposition, ancient as the planet and mastered in the time-honoured tradition of known strains of Home sapiens. It is hard to recollect when I first perceived the timeless promise of that word called procrastination, but blast me dead if I am not a precocious host to the talent, a connoisseur of the craft of transgressing time and limits, spilling over deadlines by years and miles. Consider this:
I gambolled into this beautiful world full two years late, actually seven hundred fifteen days late if you are of the nitpicking kind, to the immense mortification of my disciplinarian father. It is another matter though that I was put in the rightful date by a deft sleight of hand that only my creator was capable of, but then that is another ballad, often sung in my posts around here, indicating a propensity to self-plagiarism as my detractors would love to confirm.
I arrived at my first ever academic examination full two days late when pupils of a higher race, aka class, were undergoing the trail. Not knowing what to make of the puny visitor the invigilators slapped me with the day’s question paper and the fact that I was none the worse for the experience is an aberration of the laws of Metaphysics and Philosophy, and again not the subject here. The mystery of the extra student unravelled only when the result was pasted on the notice board and the guardians were duly summoned to explain.
I was highly punctual in hitting the playgrounds but usually late for all tournaments of cricket or kind. Indeed, there was the time when I arrived at dusk and having started fielding for the rival team took a spectacular catch off a blazing shot of my own team’s star batsman who was duly shunted off to the pavilion. And the less I speak of the jinx of missing buses, trains and flights the better. Nothing beats the time when I boarded a train one month late and nearly managed to frighten the bonafide passenger off his berth but for the drooling ticket examiner who then slapped me with every fine in the almanacs of Indian Railways.
I hold the honour of crashing out of my Doctoral course at the university, not unlike a skydiver sans a parachute, for refusing to acknowledge any timeline whatsoever. Please do not be shocked if my wife and in laws claim I was late by a day for my marriage –the clock had already struck midnight and the date moved ahead- although less due to my prodigious talents than the overzealous legion of street dancers.
As I muddle past my mid life, orthopaedists caution me not to miss a set of exercises that will keep my brittle back functional. My arteries and veins are turning into a gutter of bad cholesterol and triglycerides, perennially waiting for that promised brisk walk to begin.
More than the lust for your attention, the events I have recounted above are a testament of a trait, culmination of an enterprise of ennui beyond imaginable blemishes. To be sure, I have gleaned harvests of grief time and again on account of the languorous vein, and there is every sign that I will stay unreformed, but they are more a reflection on this world’s morbid obsession with schedules than a commentary on my own incontinence.
It is highly contextual therefore to mention that high fever called NaNoWriMo –National Novel Writing Month- that binds the participants of a nation to a timetable of spinning off a fifty thousand word novel in a month. To a croaking tortoise like me the ambition is akin to a legless dwarf competing in an Olympian 100 meters dash. But I do adore the humanity for the hurly burly it is capable of. In a Utopian world though, normalised for specially gifted slackers like me, National Novel Writing Decade, or better still, National Novel Writing Life would be more like it.
But, alas, life is short, writing is so long!