Masters, past and present

Masters, past and present

My present masters are incarnations of impatience, all with a short fuse.

Of the masters who had taught me simple things in life, my mustachioed uncle, a retired military man stands alone.

Being an ex-combatant, he taught me the art of ambushing a tricky enemy like a cockroach. When one such is to be tackled in a skirmish, you should suitably arm yourself with two stout broom sticks. This would be strategic to strike if it moved laterally. But the canny enemy, changing its stratagem might vertically take off to aerially attack your sensitive nose when you should lift both the brooms over your head and bring them suddenly together like a cymbal player of a brass band to squash the marauder in mid-air.

Then there was  another uncle  nicknamed ‘electrical superman’ who habitually received and withstood electric shocks -- all from peak 220 volts, 50 cycles per second, Ac supply. He taught me to change a fuse wire a skill unknown to even some qualified electrical engineers, coax a tube light to burn, cut open a jack fruit with a sharp knife and remove the yellow fruits, carry a meowing kitten by its scruff and handle an umbrella that billows up in a thunder storm like Marilyn Monroe's skirt.

But this worthy lost all accrued Brownie points after he taught me to play a banjo alias bulbul tarang. After this monumental—rather instrumental blunder, he was made a persona non grata by my father who became  uncontrollably violent at the mere sight of that instrument.

Yet another master taught me the use of a Swiss army knife which when opened spreads out its armoury from their hideouts like the multifarious arms of a God revealing His full form to a devotee. I owe to this worthy my  expertise in opening the circular foil in a tin can with precision, a performance called upon to do by women busy in the kitchen.

Times have changed. I am a senior citizen now, fixated with tablets, capsules, ointments, gels, liniments and so forth. My present masters are incarnations of impatience, all with a short fuse, quite unlike my old masters who were soft and empathetic. Nowadays, they  teach me to handle gizmos like laptop, pen drive, iPod, iPad, iPhones and Kindle.

Their body language of searing  impatience at my sluggish grasping power and my frequent faux pas should be seen to be believed. It is indeed a paradox when I was young my masters were old and when I am old my masters  are young.