After a month of frenzied action the world cup has finally drawn to a close. Young stars twinkled brighter than ever as old stars faded away.Many memories will remain- The football named Jabulani bouncing around with a football named Diego Maradona. Old men wilfully pumped up their BP while supporting their teams while the the young opened themselves up to a whole lot of going crazy. A beautiful month celebrating another edition of the beautiful game went by leaving in its wake memories of Love, affection, heartbreak and wonder.
What I would remember remember the most is a rather adorable cephalopod, about 2 years old, eyes forever half closed in a pose of meditation, moving around in a tank somewhere in Germany, probably wondering why every once in a while he wassubjected to a zillion flashes of light.
What amazes me, more than the obvious discussions, is the depth of human feeling Paul has elicited. Depending on where you stay the name could mean anger, hope, expectation, cynicism, contentment, belief, or prayer. Say what you will, I’m thankful to Paul because over the past one month, he has shown us a little more about what it means to be human.
Its nice to know that that very animals we pay so little attention to, teach us so much about what it means to be a human. One world famous chef announces that he is sharpening his knife while the president of another country announces relief measures ranging from temporary protection to adoption for Paul (or is it Pablo nowadays?). All the while I’m sure Paul ponders over the mysterious source of his next tasty tidbit.
Some more examples to show how much certain animals mean to us-
Sir Nils Olav commands a huge army and is a symbol of everything that’s good in the Norwegian Kings Guard. One must watch the respect he commands and the awe he inspires during parades as he waddles all along proudly displaying his rank on his flippers. Sir Nils Olav is an emperor Penguin
Lance Corporal William has been one of the Queens best in the army. He has had a wild time in the army- headbutting a drummer during the Queen’s eightieth birthday. He was even put through a disciplinary hearing for that offence and demoted to the rank of fusilier before being promoted again. I wonder- perhaps the Drummer upset him, or perhaps LC. William didn’t have his daily dose of whatever goats eat. Ya, apart from Being in the Queens Royal Guard and living a life of ‘discipline’ LC. William walks on all fours and bleats! Would you really blame a Kashmir Goat for Headbutting to show its annoyance?
– I can almost dramatize the disciplinary hearing scene in my Head
Colonel. LC. Wiliam, do you know why you’ve been called here?
LC. William: Maaaaaaaaa!
Colonel: You Headbutted a drummer- you made your company look bad, you disobeyed a direct order, you were found lacking in discipline, and you insulted the Queen
Colonel: You are demoted to rank of fusilier. Now leave and think about the shame you’ve brought to all of us!
LC: Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! (Trans: Idiot bipeds mumbling! Ooh there’s a pretty leaf and it just feels so right J )
All the while, our generation have grown so disconnected to each other- I think it becomes imperative to look elsewhere for inspiration- to see life a little bearable with a little hope- I guess that motivates most of us to look to the animals. In hope, in wonder.
What were the major happenings of this decade? Its easier for us to rattle off the attacks and deaths and doubts about government than it is to list 5 amazing things that made us feel happy to be humans. It almost seems like each one of us is a little Island of distress, doubt, sadness, some love, and a dimly flickering ray of hope.
In times like this perhaps- the tentacles of Paul, or the Flippers of Sir Nils Olav or the goat antics of LC. William give us that much needed bridge to understand other humans without being judgemental of them- for a moment forgetting the things that keep us grounded to rationalism and for a little while take us to the sky in our little flights of fancy- just like when we were kids.
So that was my most favourite happening of the world cup- a 2 year old octopus providing us a bridge to talk to each other all the while allowing us to laugh to ourselves a little bit! Allowing us to drop our pretence of seriousness and smile without expectation! I’m sure I could say Thank you, but he wouldn’t understand- I’m about as knowledgeable about octopus language as Paul is about English. But I’ll make it a point to buy him a nice tasty shellfish if i’m ever in Germany. Not so much because he predicted 8 matches right (How did he???) but because he gave us something else to see- no the blood and gore, not the intense competition of the World Cup, supposed referee blunders or the annoying Texas Chainsaw called the Vuvuzela, not the regional, national and international dangers that await all of us. He gave us 15 mins of tranqulity- to see a peaceful octopus swim from one end of his tank to another, open a tasty morsel of food, and each it- with the satisfaction of a 2 year old child. He gave me something to hold onto in an otherwise evanescent and shifty world.