Lord of the Rings: The Tales of Retail Management

by sidin in

Humble apologies. The daily schedule got the better of me. And not being able to post anything was not the least of the outcomes. No, I actually forgot a couple of interesting topics to write about. So now I am left with time to write stuff... but nothing interesting... except...

Sports day back in school. A day of much mirth and enjoyment. Wake up late in the morning, cast aside uniform, and have fun at school. Everyone loves sports day dont they. NO. Not me. Not any overweight child in the history of school-days. I loathed sports days from the bottom of my heart. Given a choice between a root canal and sports day, I'd happily open wide. The dentist could plunge a screaming drill into my mouth while we shared a two seater roller coaster. But I wont go anywhere near a sports day.

Sports Day was always marked in bold letters in your school handbook. In the calendar pages at the end. While everyone else read it to mean fun and games for me it meant one of two things. One of two people not to represent your house in anything. Or official sand-raker at the long jump pitch. Some years, when I did lose a little weight, they would let me be certificate-writer or lemonade maker.

In 7th class they let me try out for the throwing events. They said I would be a bad influence on the other sand rakers from the 3rd grade. Javelin and discuss. Now javelins back home are not made of fiberglass, carbon fibre or WR234-J super composites. But close. Bamboo. And bamboo is a very bendy thing.

I took a mighty briskwalk-up. Let loose. Bang. The lights go out and I wake up with a rather large portion of earth in my mouth. The javelin had landed perfectly point first into the earth. Around 3 feet away. Like I said Bamboo is a bendy thing. And I was a novice javelin thrower. We sand-rakers are a tight group and while we could rake a mean sand pit in ten seconds, we could never throw anything. The javelin had left my pudgy palm. As straight as George Micheal. The trailing end whipped out and smacked me in the back of the head. I landed face first onto the ground, a few nanoseconds before the projectile. In ten minutes I was convening the annual sand-rakers strategy and refresher meeting.

"Those were the days. Sun, sand and some wholesome raking..."

Thats not to say I never participated in anything ever. Oh no I once reached the finals of a human chariot race. This is a game for two boys of limited life-span. One guy, who we will call "holder", holds the other by his ankles while the "palmer" crawls along the ground on his palms. The holder runs behind him. You get the idea right.

Our school in Abu Dhabi organized it for the annual sports day. Suddenly there was a demand for big guys who could hold small wimpy types by there ankles. Members abandoned the sand-rakers in droves. So did I. My friend Neeraj was an ace palmist. We easily qualified for the finals.

It was quite a pain for Neeraj I agree. The event was held on an asphalt ground and he had to wear gloves to keep his palms intact. In the finals we started off well. But then he started tiring. I was not one to accept defeat without a fight. So a little away from the finish line I showed him forward, gloves and all. When he got up his palms had the consistency of a subway sandwich that blew up after the wrapper paper fell apart. As it was asphalt he did not come to with mouthfulls of dirt. But his face was not the kind to take suddent impacts with hard surfaces lightly. For some reason we grew apart after that. We came fourth.

Ah thats a whole story in itself. Ask any kid who comes from sports day without a medal.

Dad: "Son how did you do in the 1000 metres?"
Son: "I came fourth by a whisker..."
Dad: "Awww... thats okay..."
What son should have said: "I ran 300 metres in fairly nippy time. Then passed out."

I know people who have been career fourth placers. Never made a medal in their entire life. And because we didnt have drug tests no chance of being moved up after someone else gets thrown out. Though I am sure a lot of people cheated in sports day. One of the guys who came third in the chariot race in 7th grade dedicated his medal to his family. Wife and both children.

The sand-rakers never cribbed though. We did our jobs with dignity, some got promoted to line judges, lemonade servers, trophy polishers and all. Some violated our secret code and actually participated in things. One such quisling did the long jump. He landed on a rather carelessly placed rake.

But in the end we hated sports day. Rakers never win medals or got certificates. We never had the senior girls talk to us with bulging eyes, among other things. We were the unsung heroes. The people behind the scenes who do all the hard work and get no credit. Like the camera guys in porn movies. But what we did we did with dignity. We came, raked sand, and went home...

And told our parents we came fourth in the sack race....