I found a book of quotation lying around and was thrilled. I think I was in the third standard, and I needed a sentence everyday to fill two pages of transcription writing (my handwriting was worse than Gandhiji’s - so I was asked to do two pages while one was the normal burden). Strange- the only thing I knew then about that great man , other than his role in our independence struggle was that he had a very bad handwriting. And in all my childhood innocence, I thought that was truly the surest road to greatness. Till sister kevin’s ruler came down sharply on my knuckles.
And so there I was, falling over my transcription book every evening after school, repeating loudly, word after word, as I carefully formed them between the four lines. Ok. to come back to the subject in hand – that quotation book revealed a great truth to me: the most prolific ‘quotation writer’ was Mr. Anonymous. I remember Sr. kevin’s laughing face with tears streaming down her face, when I asked her who this poet was!
True, anonymity is a blissful state. I have found that every time I have had to relocate from my native place for brief stints. If you are traditionally sari-wearing types, you can get out of that cumbersome attire into more comfortable ones, under the cover of anonymity. I knew a cheduthy, who used to live very close to us. I had seen her only in thuniyum chattayum. One day, her grand daughter brought a photo of that cheduthi taken in Florida; she was in a –hold your breath (‘cos it knocked the breath out of me)- in jeans and T-shirt!!! Another acquaintance of mine showed me a picture of herself in a two-piece swimsuit taken on some beach in the US. She was young with a well-toned body but something was wrong. It took me some time to realize what it was. Either she looked uncomfortable in that unfamiliar outfit or the outfit felt uncomfortable on her. You know, that confidence to carry it off was not there. Then, why on earth did she get into it-and why on earth did she take a picture in it? still worse, why on heaven and earth did she show it to me, carefully keeping her eyes on my face to see how I reacted? God. It was really difficult- keeping a dead pan expression and and then looking up with a stupid grin and tell her that she looked great, with my smile confining itself to my lips. In spite of all my efforts, it refused to travel to my eyes. And why on earth did she have to tell me with a pout: “you know what? You are jealous!”
I have capitalized on anonymity myself on many occasions. I always wanted to look chic and I thought the easiest way to achieve that was to chop off my lifeless hair and style it. Back home every attempt to do that was sabotaged by my near and dear ones who threated to do terrible things (kick me out, disown me, disinherit me---) if I did that. as luck would have it we had to relocate to Mumbai. I should have chopped off my hair the day after I landed there. Instead, I waited for a couple of months – by then I had lost my anonymity and couldn’t muster up enough courage to do it!
But this anonymous business can be quite annoying sometimes. You know when that sometimes is? When you see a response to a blog written by that prolific writer “anonymous”
Why does a comment to a blog need that fig leaf called anonymity?