Friday, July 22, 2011

Purism and the Public II

The Rise of The Puritan clan
and the Fall of a Purist..

"You, too, don’t know what a puritan is?", I asked a friend as I saw her blank expression.
"A puritan is a-", Mr. Arul Ganesh S.S started.
"- Here, let's just google it.", I cut him off, as I pressed "Enter", to google for it, irritated by the lack of common knowledge among the people around me. The page was taking time to load.
"You can say a puritan is another word for a purist. I'm a purist, strictly. But I like the word puritan. There's a tinge to it, if you know what I mean", I used to tell them and I was tried of having to tell everybody this same thing again and again. Manas Samant, then Mr. Arul Ganesh S.S and now this girl. How many more ignorant people would I have to encounter before somebody showed a trace of perception.
The results page appeared, finally. I clicked the link for one of the results, and waited impatiently, full of unswerving confidence. The page opened and my jaw dropped as I read what it said:

Pu·ri·tan (pyr-tn)
1. A member of a group of English Protestants who in the 16th and 17th centuries advocated strict religious discipline along with simplification of the ceremonies and creeds of the Church of England.
2. puritan One who lives in accordance with Protestant precepts, especially one who regards pleasure or luxury as sinful.
1. Of or relating to the Puritans or Puritanism.
2. puritan Characteristic of a puritan; puritanical.

I have never in my life felt so stark naked, despite being so densely clothed.
"Wait till Manas hears it", said Mr. Arul Ganesh S.S, overjoyed that I'd made an ass out of myself. He hurried out of the Computing facility in search of Manas.
I, meanwhile, was still gaping like a goldfish to do anything. Sensing him dash out, I hurried after him, still feeling naked. I somehow managed to mentally clothe myself on the way, and caught up with him. We both scrambled our way into the hostel mess, and surveyed it carefully. No sign of him there. Mr. Arul Ganesh S.S went outside the hostel to continue his search.
I have no idea what got over me, nor any about what I was going to say if I found him first. All I knew was that I had to get to him before Mr. Arul Ganesh S.S.
It was on. Both desperate to get to him: one to share delight, the other to prevent its illicit trade. It was like a quest for the Holy Grail. Only this time it would have been silly to argue that the Grail was a cup.
I came out of the mess and waited there deep in thought. I wondered, where the Grail could possibly be. And then, I had a stroke of genius: I called the Grail from my cell phone.
"Hello", came the voice from the other side.
"Where are you?", this was no time to niceties.
"In my room", said he.
"Aha! no wonder we couldn't find you in the mess! I wish you wouldn't potter off to your room like that. Sit in the mess. It's a good place. Comfortable chairs. What?"
I was starting to enjoy the conservation and it would have go on breezily like this, only I saw Mr. Arul Ganesh S.S turning round the corner at that moment. He must have sensed that I was talking to the Grail - I haven't a clue how he did but he did - because he ran in my direction.
"Hullo, Manas", I started talking hurriedly, "listen. Remember I told you that I'm a puritan. Well, I'm not. I mean I can't be -", I extended my arm to keep Mr. Arul Ganesh S.S at bay just as he approached, and continued,"- I mean to say, a Puritan is a..", I told him the definition and added, "So my usage of the word was, in fact, wrong. Now here is Arul, he wants to say something to you."
Looking visibly triumphant, I thust the cell phone in Mr. Arul Ganesh S.S's hand, "Ha! You said you'd find him and tell him, so that you could make me look like a giant troll. Well, guess what? You can't. and you want to know why? Because I told him first!"
There was absolute dumbfoundedness in his expression - obviously, his plan had failed - as I turned away and went some distance. Not being familiar with my cell phone, he accidentally switched on the loud speaker and I heard some noise, almost as though a hyena were on the other side. It was the sound of an amused Manas Samant laughing like one.

No comments: