Wednesday, January 13, 2010

An entomological tale

Richard the ant sat by the campfire, cleaning his pipe. His grandchildren were clustered around him, begging him for a story.

Old Richard was famous for his yarns. Some were sad, some happy. Some plausible and some really tall. But each one was interesting. The children loved him.



"Very well, my deal children", said old Richard, as he filled his pipe with shag tobacco.Let me tell you about Cousin Sammy, the ant who had made it in the modeling world.

"Children", said he, "you must have seen my cousin Sammy in many magazines and papers, he being a movie star and all, but you probably don't know he was an ordinary Alaskan Carpenter ant from right here in Nome. A fine representative of the Alaskan Carpenter Ant clan and the eldest son of my late mother's sister Bess."

"As ginormous a queen ant as ever built a hill." he added with a twinkle in his eye.

"Sammy was as lazy as he was handsome, though he made up for it by being smart." continued Grandpa Richard

"I'll rule the world one day, just you see" he would brag as we toiled in the tundra, stocking up for the winter.

"Bessie is spoiling him rotten!" my mother would hiss, but neither Sammy nor his family ever seemed worried about the future. "Oh, my sammy will be a great ant one day" aunt Bessie would say smugly.

And sure enough, the agents came scouring the countryside one day, looking for the handsomest and the best built Alaskan Carpenter Ant in the country and zeroed in on a few candidates.

Sammy was the best among them. After a little huddle, the agents made their offer. A very nice sum of money, half in advance, for a year's modeling contract.

It turned out that the sponsor was "Tide" detergent and they had arranged for their future model, Sammy in this case, to be on the cover of Time magazine!

We were overjoyed! It was an honor! And everyone was excited when  the team of photographers from Time, the sales director of "Tide" and a bunch of important looking people landed up.

And Sammy? He was nowhere to be seen. We searched high and low but no Sammy. The Tide people were throwing tantrums. The Time photographer threatened to return to New Yorkl. We begged him to stay a day  more and I went off into the woods, with an idea in mind.

I knew that Sammy had the hots for a young fire ant named Hilda and I kind of figured they might have shacked up for the weekend. But where would they be?  I remembered that old rotten log we used to hide in and smoke weed. Sammy would be there if anywhere, I figured, and sure he was.

I barged in without knocking and caught them in a very compromising position. Sammy was furious but when he learned about my mission, his pallor changed from fiery red to ashen.

"Good Lord!" he cried. "I completely forgot! Dick, do something. We have to hurry."

I smiled at him. For suddenly, I had realized everything.

"Sammy, my brother",  I told him calmly, "don't worry. Go back in and finish whatever Hilda and you had started. I'll wait here. And don't even think about the suits going away. They ain't going no place."

Sammy looked gratefully at me and vanished inside. He was back in no time, I noted smugly, and we set back for home.

When we reached, the colony was wearing a look of gloom. Aunt Bessies eyes were red from crying. My mom was consoling her. No one seemed to be glad to see Sammy.

"He's back, Ma!" I said. "I've found Sammy!"

"What's the use, Dick", said aunt Bessie. "Surely they must have gone back. Their deadline passed more than 2 days ago"

"They have not, I can assure you!" I said, in my most confident voice. "They'll do what they came to do!"

"How can you be so sure, Richard," mother asked

"You know the old saying, don't you?"

"What old saying?", asked Aunt Bessie, puzzled

"Time and Tide wait for Nome ants", I beamed!

And sure they did. Sammy still remembers and nary a week goes by without him calling me and asking about my health. Now wasnt that a nioce story?

But the children had long fallen asleep

17 comments:

Idling in Top Gear said...

Guessed what was coming when I read "Time" magazine, sirjee. :)

mridulgreenwold said...

a little predicatble once you had tide and time in it together. vastly enjoyable nonetheless.

Giribala said...

When the children woke up, they wanted to hear the story again. Grandpa said, "Go and read it on AOAOM..." :-)

Scattered Thoughts... said...

OMG.. so you are back.. and I thought Mrs. Shenoy is back so we can breath easy now :)

Doli said...

hahahahhaha good one!

buddy said...

technically speaking this one was a little off the mark, still good one but we have come to expect very high standards from you

Anonymous said...

Old Richard is certainly young at heart! Doesn't mind telling his interesting discovery about Sammy and Hilda to his grandchildren! :D

Anonymous said...

Good one...but you have set very high expectations based on past ones! :D :D

I still enjoyed it! :)

Kavitha said...

You have too much time on your hands!

We demand one of the missus' awesome posts. Even another headbanging video would do. Anything anything...

mentalie said...

i'm with kavita. death metal! that's the ticket...and the only way to survive this!!!
;p

Spaz Kumari said...

not as good as preceding ones, shenoy saar. *shakes head mournfully*

do you remember the cartesian coordinates one? now THAT was stupendous. truly stupendous.

narendra shenoy said...

Yes guys, I agree I'm slipping up a bit. I read it over. It IS pathetic. Apologies

@idling - Yeah, dead give-away

@mridul - I know you're only being nice! Thanks for the kind words.

@Bala - :)

@scattered: Yes the missus is back. She's a little pissed at me because of several things, including the fact that I've been very lax with the boys

@Doli - Thanks!Very kind of you

@buddy - Yes, I know. time for introspection

@anon - Terrible, I know.

@Kavitha - The missus is back. She ain't talking to me, but I'm relying on my native cunning and abject surrender to win her heart.

@mentalie :D

@spaz - I know. That Polar coordinates thing was once in a lifetime, though. I can't remember how I got that but it still makes me laugh. It's a bit like Ashish Nehra hitting a six or Uday Chopra turning in an Oscar performance - real rare.

Preeti said...

Yea the Time and Tide in between definitely was a give away...But i really think ur good at this! And so, contrary to popular requests, i think you should continue!It isn't always one gets to have their style given a name :) (a shenoy)

Siddharth said...

Sirjee,

I think the Arthurian tale was the best. Especially, "Hast thou kept milk bottles outside castle?" Now how could you think of lines like that!

- Sid

Nav said...

agree with siddharth.. that line was true genius

Sowmya Srikrishnan said...

Hmm, but why?????

Will wait for a good (!!!) groaner.

Stupidosaur said...

Predictable as soon as time and tide both appeared once.

Arggh! You are worse than even me! Now I know why you called them groaners in the post above!