Friday, 28 July 2006

Dodo

Thinking about “Mauritianism”, it occurred to me that there is no such thing as “True Mauritianism”. Well, it’s the case where citizenship is concerned but not at all when you start digging deeper into the origins of the Mauritians.

You’re told that before the arrival of the first settlers, the island was inhabited. Does the absence of men make a place uninhabited? That’s what history tells you. What about the animals and birds living on the island then? Surely, they are to be considered Habitants of the Island.

The Mauritius Dodo, more commonly just Dodo, was a metre-high flightless bird of the island. It is currently extinct and it lived on fruit and nested on the ground. The origin of its extinction is controversed since many think that it was brought about by the Dutch, who were the first settlers, while others think that it was caused by a natural disaster which might have occurred even before the arrval of men on the island. The point is, the Dodo is extinct.

“Dodo”, such a funny name you’d think. You wouldn’t be wrong! The etymology of “Dodo” is one of controversy – the bird seems to be controversy prone.

According to Encarta, "dodo" comes from Portuguese doudo meaning "fool" or "crazy". David Quammen, author of "Song of the Dodo", points out "that 'dodo' was an onomatopoeic approximation of the bird's own call, a two-note pigeony sound like 'doo-doo'."

“Fool” or “Crazy”, the Dodo is also portrayed as a clumsy, not very intelligent bird (which is an understatement I am told!). From artists' renditions we know that the Dodo had blue-grey plumage, a 23-centimetre (9-inch) blackish hooked bill with a reddish point, very small – useless - wings, stout yellow legs, and a tuft of curly feathers high on its rear end. Dodos were very large birds – Fat - , weighing about 23 kg (50 pounds).

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Of course, this is not the Dodo, this is a very dangerous dog. Please see the do below:

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The last known Dodo was killed less than a centuary after the species' discovery. A Dodo egg is on display at the East London museum in South Africa. From genetical researches, it now appears that the Dodo was a close relative of pigeon species that are to be found in Africa and especially South Asia.

No one took particular notice of the extinct bird until it was featured in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865). With the popularity of the book, the Dodo became a household word: "as dead as a Dodo" is a common expression – poor Dodo.

Since 2002, following “Ice Age”, directed by Chris Wedge and co-directed by Carlos Saldanha there’s been a renewal of the interest in the Dodo.

The animated movie featured Dodos at their best. Their Tae Kwon “attacks” made them memorable and movie forums have been full of questions about their origin and whether they truly existed.

Here are a couple of memorable quotes of the movie:

*Dodo: This is our private stockpile for the Ice Age. Sub arctic temperatures will force us underground for a billion, billion years.
Manfred: So you got three melons?

*Dodo: If you weren't smart enough to plan ahead, then doom on you. Other Dodos: [chanting] Doom on you. Doom on you. Doom on you. Doom on... Manfred: Get away from me.

*Dodo: Tae Kwon Dodos, attack

*Dodo #1: Prepare for the Ice Age.
Dodo #2: Protect the dodo way of life.
Dodo #3: Survival separates the dodos from the beasts.

*Dodo #1: [lecturing about a crater] Now don't fall in. If you do, you will definitely...
Dodo #2: [runs in] Intruders. Intruders... oops. [trips and falls into crater]
Dodo #2: ...Burn and die.

At one point, in the French version, they sing "I believe I can Fly"!

It’s terrible though, the fate of the Dodo when you think of it. It does not occur to many but when you medidate over this you realise that the Only True Mauritian is the Dodo and it’s extinct!


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Monday, 24 July 2006

Thought of the Day

"Level with your child by being honest. Nobody spots a phony quicker than a child."

Mary MacCracken

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Monday, 17 July 2006

All in a School Day

I never liked the girl. I don’t dislike many people; I normally make good choices whenever friendship is concerned. Only for that one time but let’s not get into it.


So this girl was not my friend yet I disliked her. Why? I don’t like Snobs and she was a Snob par Excellence – still is. You’d think she’d change after what happened later but no, she is still Miss Am Better than You. That’s the look she gives me whenever our paths cross. She seems to hate me. But I guess she just resents me for witnessing what happened.


You are now dying to know what actually happened, right? Shall I tell you?


It was a school day. When the bus dropped me on my station after school I remembered that I had to wait for my friend C. to whom I’d lent my literature notes. But people being people and the island being so small, anyone seeing me standing there on the station was bound to bring it up “incidentally” in a conversation with my parents. How’s Your Daughter, I Saw Her That Day…. So I decided to cross the sugarcanes and wait on the other side of the road.


I cross the sugar canes and wait. I see this guy walking up and down the road. He’s clearly waiting for someone. He looks familiar but I'm not sure. There are two crossings through the sugar canes; the one I came through and another one up the road. He does not know which one his – I thought – rendezvous would be coming through so he checks both. He looks distressed now and is talking to himself. I realize why he looks familiar. I’d seen him hand in hand with Snob many times. I remember thinking what an apparently Nice Guy was doing with a Snob-School-Girl like her.


He looks my way and sees me staring. He attempts a smile and fails. He crosses the road and comes my way. I look around. Oh my God what if he is not a nice guy after all, goes though my mind.


He stops a step from me and says Can you do me a Favor please? What? I ask. Hold my malette for me please. I say I can’t, Sorry. He says, You don’t have to hold it. Listen, am going nowhere. It’s just that it’s heavy. I’ll just put it down here. I say, whatever but I wouldn’t be responsible if… Am going nowhere. Please. He cuts me off. I shrug. He says Thanks and lays the bag against the wall. He resumes his surveillance.


He’s at the up crossing when I see his Snob-School-Girl coming down the sugar cane crossing in front of me hand in hand with a School Boy. Wow! I think, She’s going to be in big trouble!


Nice-Guy must have seen me looking intently in front of me – did I do that on purpose? - so he runs down the road and sees what am seeing.


Standing next to me, he starts muttering Bitch. Am feeling sorry for him.


She’d let go of her new boyfriend’s hand and is pretending that she’s alone. But he’d already seen her.


Nice-Guy starts screaming insults her way and shows his fist. I almost giggle because it reminds me of a Hindi Movie I’d seen.


Now he’s serving me the whole story. They’d split because she’s told him that her parents found out about them and been spying on her ever since. He, being a gentleman, let go because he does not want to cause her trouble. Then someone called him and told him that she’d been seeing this new boyfriend while she was still with him and how now he was going to fix her right.


By the time the story is over Snob Girl has crossed the road with her new Boyfriend. She tries hard to show that she’s not scared. She starts stuttering and asks him what he wants. He asks her why she’d betrayed him, why she just didn’t tell him that they were over instead of serving him lies, did she not know that he loathes liars. She just says leave me alone, look please go away. She tells him her parents might see them. But he’s beyond caring. He’s screaming away.


I look up the Avenue. It’s her house’s. And I know both her parents work. I wonder if some neighbor would come to her rescue. Then I remember her vis à vis neighbor telling me this family – hers – is not nice. They don’t participate in the neighborhood activities or neighborhood watch. No, no one would come to her rescue.
I look at new boyfriend and am curious to see his reaction. But he’s having none. Reaction I mean. He’s standing there in the background. I give him a scornful look and apparently piqué au vif he tries to intervene. Cute Nice Guy gives him a look that makes him step back. He looks at me. He looks away.


Watching Snob-Girl and Nice-Guy is more fun. He is now holding her by the shoulders and she’s shaking her head and her eyes are wide.


Not fun anymore I think. I hope he’s not going to beat her. Just then she says something I miss and he slaps her. Hard. My hand almost flies to my cheek. Her mouth is open and her eyes are wider but no sound comes out. She’s shocked speechless. He looks at his had and seems not to believe what he’s just done. He lets go of her. She staggers back. New Boyfriend holds her. I think she’s going to shrug him off. But she doesn’t. Cute I Don’t Believe He’s That Nice Anymore Guy, takes a step back. Two. Turns his back on them. Picks up his bag. Turns his head to look at them. Smiles weakly at me and says Sorry. Then he’s gone.


I went home forgetting all about my literature notes.

Thursday, 13 July 2006

The Fiancé who is eating my friend

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Is she home? Can I go over and see her? Is she all right? I'll text her! No, not a good idea. The last time he replied. Yes, he replied on her behalf from her mobile phone. As it is I don't feel at ease around when he's there. He's cool though. He makes jokes and is quit talkative. He laughs a lot. He's nice really. I don't like him. But it does not matter. She does. She does so much that am starting not to miss seeing her. Because when I do she only talks of him. It's starting to get to me. Why? Because am starting to wonder if she and me ever had anything in common. But we must have.

We used to be together, studying together, eyeing guys together, and making up stories of what our future would be like together and vowing to remain always friends. Friends forever. We made silly friendship pacts. We wrote in each other's memo diaries. Calling each other "Sister". Crying at the prospect of an eventual separation.

Now, no more. We've grown up. We've changed. She has and I have to.

Yesterday despite the fiancé I'd have been visiting at her place, today I can't ring myself to go there. I sit and wonder how it would be like when they'll get married? Not very different from now I tell myself. They're as good as married now.

Am I jealous? I think about all my other friends with whom and whose husbands I have a super good relationship. No, am perfectly all right.

It's that fiancé, he's eating her.


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Tuesday, 11 July 2006

Blogging Again

Thank God the PC is now repaired! I can now indulge in my favorite passe temps; blogging.

I bought a poster which I stuck on the wall in my office. Here is what it says:

As soon as the Rush is Over,
I’m going to Have a Nervous Breakdown.
I worked hard for it – I owe it to myself,
AND nobody is going to deprive me of it!


My boss looked at it, looked at my other notice which says:

Of Course I can handle it.
I’m a woman!

He then raised an eyebrow. I raised mine even higher.

Maybe I should bring them both down? Non?


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