Skating on thin ice

That was a crazy weekend! Went ice-skating with A. at Kansas City. Having heard fearful stories from past participants about falling on ice and breaking bones and other fragile protuberances, I was nervous about the whole thing. Thoughts of my encounter with the vicious bone-fracture fairy from summer kept running through my mind. First of all, those shoes – these are not simple slip-it-on-and-velcro-it-up equipment, but foot-encasing boots with half a mile of lace to tie up. I got a good look at the half-inch-wide blades on the shoes and mentally imagined tooth-surgery with it a la Tom Hanks in ‘Castaway’ – not a pleasant thought.

Literally walking on the edge, I reached the rink. Walking on those blades is surprisingly easy. Standing up on them on ice, however, isn’t. I started out by holding on to the perimeter railing and slowly circumambulating the rink like a nonagenarian en route to the restroom. A nice lady skated past and challenged, “Get on to the middle of the rink!”. The trick of skating on ice is to walk like a duck. Of course, we’ve all seen how ducks walk… no we haven’t. The closest recollection of a walking duck I have is Daffy wagging his feathery finger and lisping horribly.

After a couple of crunchy landings on my bony ass, A.’s friends decided to lend me a hand… make that two. With A.’s CC friend S. on on hand and her german conversation partner on the other, I proceeded to be lugged around the rink a couple of times. In normal circumstances, having two beautiful girls holding on to my arms on either side would have been a matter of immense pride and gloating. This time, pride was the farthest thing on my mind as I emulated a limp straw puppet being dragged around in circles. I eventually learned not to hold on to the side railings. In a couple of hours, I was skating with confidence, only occasionally inspecting the ice in a horizontal fashion. Except for a sore knee from when I landed on it after a triple-toe-axle, I retired from the rink, in a state of pleasant well-being.

What could top off a tiring excursion to the rink than reclaiming those precious calories in a suitably grease-molecule filled atmosphere? We chose the most American of all possible food-joints, a Denny’s diner. After an hour of waiting, we were finally treated to a fine set of pancakes. Good conversation around the table, with A.’s friend S. recounting his mother’s dubious jewish ancestry and A. herself confessing indubitable hickishness from her mom’s side. I wisely stayed away from my own genealogy, since I have no idea about it except for a kumkum reddened photo of my great-granddad who was a transport business owner. Hardly thorough or impressive, when compared to the American penchant for knowing one’s genealogy.

Why don’t Indians keep track of their ancestors? Of course, I could always claim that castes are a kind of ancestry, and that my forebear was the one-and-only Naidu McNaidu. But what about records, oral tradition, and other such evidence? Seeing how much importance we give to our elders and ancestors in general(yearly thivasams etc.), I would’ve expected a more detailed account of my great-great-grandfolks from my mom or grandma. Maybe it is time I started calling myself Dev2r, son of Dev2r Sr., son of Dev2r SrSr. and so on. Heck, the Welsh have it, and even Gimli, the son of Gloin does it!