Monday, July 20, 2009

Flight of the humble bee

As I write this, I am sick with food poisoning to the point of throwing up and passing out in a puddle of regurgitated bile and undigested Indian food. On the bright side, I haven't had to say a single word to anyone in the last hour and a half and I'm hoping to avoid civilization for the rest of the day.

A few years ago, dad worked for a software start up. The company had everything going for it - talented young engineers who were part time actors and musicians, curly haired nerds who thought they were playboys, minor indiscretions such as, and not limited to, the CEO boinking his secretary behind closed doors. The complete package, if you will.

Among my dad's peers was a snooty management chap who thought the fine arts had chosen him to be their savior. He wrote short stories (a pig learning to make an atomic bomb through a brain-internet interface, a Utopian society where names were replaced by numbers but havoc when the youngest citizen picked a name etc.), played the flute, violin, sang, and even critiqued this blogger's writing. I was in high school at the time, and had hosted a website that chronicled a 5 day vacation with the boys. "Promising, needs more work", was the verdict, and I had to try hard to keep my middle fingers stationary.

The company hosted it's "Annual Day" in a small party hall one evening. There were quizzes, stupid dancing, embarrassing-bordering-on-sexual-harassment-contact, and plenty of singing. The art savant then took the stage to render some classical Indian tunes on his violin. I don't remember how the performance went, guess I was busy looking for that secretary. Enter stage right, his son clutching a violin bigger than his torso. There was a hushed, almost revered silence. It was rumored that this 7 year old was the greatest gift to music on this side of the Rhine. As he sat down, with an extremely somber demeanor, the audience collectively held it's breath. The excitement was palpable and a few were convinced that this era's Paganini would emerge this evening. What would be on offer for our aural pleasure? Hindustani? Carnatic? Jazz maybe? With possibilities endless, and yet nowhere close to the hype, the kid began.

Happy (scratch) Birthday (pause)
to you (wail)
Happy (silence) BIRTHDAYYY to you (notes blitz)
assorted licks and squeals

The silence in the room, though momentary, rang louder than the cacophony we had just heard. Soon there was polite applause followed by 94 attempts to change the subject. While the kid looked nonchalant, the father was sporting a hitherto unseen shade of humble pie. Grown, brown men can blush.

Dinner was served, and the frivolities resumed.


Australis said...

Hahaha I laughed out loud at that one. Nothing like a kid to bring you back down to earth.

Hope you're better.

Thanatos said...

Much better, thanks!