Monday, May 02, 2005

Icarus

"Now you remember what I've told you, don't you?"

[Voice raised] "YES! I've heard it, I've heard it!"

[Voice raised too] "You don't understand! Shouting at me won't make you right."
[Quieter, but with controlled effort] "See son - don't be foolish, that's all. There's a lot at stake here. I know you - you'll get too high up. You've always done silly things like that and..."

[Interrupting] "Yeah, I'm the one whose always doing stupid things. I got into trouble with King Minos, didn't I? I was the one who got us imprisoned here.

[Irritatedly] "Oh come on, what do you know about the affairs of the world! You're too young to unders..."

[Again interrupting] "I'm always too young, I don't know anything, I'm too immature - that's all you ever say! I'm surprised you're taking me with you - why don't you leave me to rot on this island?"

"This is not the time to quarrel. It is almost daybreak. It's the best time to make our leave. Don't be irksome, I beg of you. Prepare to leave."

And they do. He carefully, lovingly fastens the last of the feathers on to his son, checking not once or twice, but five times. He could feel the warmth of the sun on them, and he could feel freedom's flame beckoning.

"You're sure you won't fly too low or too high? Don't be rebellious as a son is wont to do. Please, for my sake."

Again irritatedly "Oh father, I'm sick of you talking to me as if I were a mere infant!"

[Whispers] "It is your nature, my son, I know it well - you see none but yourself, and are lost in your own image of exultation. It is perilous to be lost in your own self."

Seeing his child's impatience, he thought it was best to leave at the earliest.

"I'll lead the way - remember, stay close behind"

They leap off the cliff and flap their new wings, blinking like a fledgling would. Soon Daedalus was off. He keeps looking behind anxiously to chart his son's progress. The sun kept glinting in his eyes and he couldn't see clearly...

Some time later...

[Thinking to himself] "I can't believe this! I'm actually flying. I'm a bird! I'm soaring! Look at father flapping away, all in dread. Oh this is so joyous! I wish he'd soak in this warm air, its currents."

He flaps a little more and it takes him higher. He sways a little at first but slowly learns how to control his flight. He gets better every time.

"I can get a little higher - just to show that old man you don't have to be such a coward. I'm not going to get too close, just a little.

His enormous wings slap the air about and thrust his body upwards, rushing a surge of excitement through him. Then a little more. And then more. Unbeknownst to him, a little drop of molten wax falls off and plunges into the water way below him.

[Singing] "I am flying... to heavenly abodes... I'm dreaming... of silver roads..."

Which is when it happens.

WHAM!

Stunned by the impact, Icarus loses all balance and drops wildly. He lashes out in search of a hold, but comes up with air. He cries out to his father, but no words will come. He careens away and some of the feathers drop off.

Icarus stops falling. Someone has plucked him off and stopped his fall. He loses all concept of time and space...

Icarus blinks. His vision is a mix of sights. He is on ground, he can feel it. There is someone peering at him. He is all confused. He can see the little figure above him looks like a monkey. He closes his eyes trying to regain his obviously impaired eyesight.

A pause later, he opens his eyes again. It is a monkey.

[Shrill, boyish voice] "Sorry about that, elder brother. I didn't mean to bump into you that way."

Icarus blinks.

"I've just been a little silly, actually. You know that orange, round thing in the sky? I thought it was a fruit you see. I really like to eat and no one would give it to me. I asked for it so many times, no one would pay any heed to me. So I leapt up to get it. I didn't know I could fly so high! No one told me that either."

"So as I got closer, something hit me. I don't know - someone didn't think I should have it. It didn't look like a fruit when I got nearer - it was all hot. By the way, your wings are coming off."

"I think I don't know my own strength, don't you think? My father always tells my mother: 'Anjana, this child will hurt himself one day'. He is the Lord of the Air, but even he can't be around all the time to keep watch on me. But lucky I could catch you before you fell too much."

Icarus sits there and simply massages his head.

[Sorry for this very, very late submission guys, but I had to clear some mental buffers before being capable of doing any useful writing. Let me know what you think.]

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8 Comments:

Blogger Sudarshan said...

1. Ummm. <scratches head/> How does this relate to the original topic? Is it because Icarus is used as a symbol of egotism? "you see none but yourself" etc...?

2. Cute story, though. Ending is funny. Were you intending that? George suggests that you may be falling in love, which is why these cutey-cutey things arise in your mind. Please refute him :)

3. Why isn't Icarus surprised at this strange face showing up? Maybe some more focus on that?

Still, 'twas fun. I personally would count the Lab a success.

George : your turn to suggest the next one?

5:12 AM  
Blogger Ramanand said...

#2: "George suggests that you may be falling in love" - Far from it :-) On second thoughts, I found the story a little puerile myself. Perhaps if I was in love, I'd be expending such romantic energies there and churning out more dire plots ;-)

#1: The relation to the topic was that to me, both Icarus & Hanuman were egoists (not much of egotists perhaps). The child Hanuman probably didn't have a conscious ego, more not being scared of anything and bold/innocent enough to aim for the sun. Icarus is just so focussed on his newfound beauty, that to enjoy it, he will endanger himself. I like to suggest pride goes before a fall :-)

#2: Ending is meant to be funny. It starts off as being serious with a heavier choice of words, but is diluted towards the end. Intentional.

#3: Icarus is confused when he sees the monkey; in fact he thinks his eyesight is affected :-) Anyway, his 1st reaction would have been to recover from being stunned.

Initially, I had another plot in mind, where an editor puts down a rookie's article for being too egoistic while revealing his own tendencies towards the same. I couldn't manage that. It just occurred to me later that for me the stories of Icarus & Hanuman would be a good intersection for egoism.

10:57 PM  
Blogger George said...

regret missing the opportunity to see the "aha!" on the icarus/hanuman commonality. now that you've made it clear, i must say i like the idea [note the use of the lower-case 'i' ;)].

i agree with sudarshan. if this first lab is any indication, we have a burgeoning winner on our hands. the variety of interpretation of a seemingly simple topic is exciting.

engage!

yikes, now I have to suggest the next topic??? *faints as a consequence of shock*

7:54 AM  
Blogger Ramanand said...

*faints as a consequence of shock*

wake up, fascination-beloved :-)
[assuming Desani's translation for "Mohan"]

11:16 PM  
Blogger Abhishek said...

if i am not interrupting can i send in the occasional entry -
you can post it if u like

11:43 AM  
Blogger Ramanand said...

Hi Abhishek,
I will let Sud make the call here, but I think for starters the idea was to keep this as a private lab only and not to look for more contributors. Again, let Sud decide as he is the initiator of the project.
Perhaps in the meantime, you could shadow the themes on your own?

Cheers,
R

10:43 PM  
Blogger Sudarshan said...

Hi Abhishek,
As it is, I'm already finding the club difficult to handle - we need to get our own schedules worked out first.
Also, as of now, I'm inclined to keep it between people who know each other fairly well.
Perhaps after we're done with a few more exercises, we could consider adding to the club. Thanks for the interest though. We must be doing something right! :)

5:03 AM  
Blogger Abhishek said...

my apologies for not reading archives - thought this was something like Helicon - anyway interesting attempt !

2:11 AM  

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