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Beware the Ides of February


Beware the Ides of February…and so what if Shakespeare actually wrote, “Beware the Ides of March?” 

For the uninitiated, the Ides is thought to have originally been the day of the full moon, and refers to the 15th day of March, May, July, and October but the 13th day of February. In modern times, the Ides of March is best known as the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC.

A soothsayer had warned that harm would come to Caesar no later than the Ides of March. On his way to the senate meeting at the Theatre of Pompey, Caesar passed the soothsayer and joked, “The Ides of March are come” implying that the prophecy had not been fulfilled, to which the soothsayer replied, “Aye, Caesar; but not gone.”

And true enough, just a little later, Caesar was stabbed to death at the meeting of the senate. In the more recent times circa 1981, the Ides of February is best known as the date on which the freedom of the undersigned was assassinated and your's faithfully became domesticated. One has now lived with the assassin for the past 36 glorious years, debunking the myth associated with the fear of the Ides of February, and actually quite looking forward to many more such years to come.

And while we are on this trip of advising you to be careful, let me also warn you to “Beware the 14th of February.” Yesterday was that dreaded day when the poor husbands needed to follow the age old tradition of Valentine’s Day, which is thought to have originated from a Roman Festival known as Lupercalia. It was initially held as a fertility festival, and during the celebrations the boys would draw names of girls from a box and the pair would be partners during the festival, and these matches often led to marriages and children, though not necessarily in that order.

In modern times, Valentine’s Day is best known as the day of celebrations for the shops selling greeting cards, chocolates, flowers and jewellery, for what the poor husbands/boyfriends/admirers spend on that one day is almost equivalent to the annual sale of these places. So all you men out there...Beware Valentine’s Day!

Yesterday if you did fall prey to the emotional arm-twisting, better luck next year, as you can always wriggle out of the quagmire by claiming that you are mourning the death anniversary of the maestro Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, who died that day in 1975, and are not up to celebrating something as trivial as Valentine’s Day.

“Here was a Caesar! When comes such another?” thus becomes the apt refrain to mourn the passing away of such larger-than-life Colossus’ of this world, like Caesar and Wodehouse and closer home, Raj Kumar Atal or Robi Uncle for most, but Chacha for me. Chacha passed away two weeks ago, on the January 31st in Delhi, leaving behind an aching void. On February 18, he would have been a young 93, who had lived life king-size. Having retired as the chairman of one of the premier companies in India, he will always be remembered as a cricket fanatic whose love for the game almost surpassed, though not quite, his love for his gorgeous bride Kamini.

Chacha was befittingly cremated with the latest copy of his favourite magazine The Cricketer , which strangely enough, had the words “Moving On” emblazoned on its cover. Rest in eternal peace Chacha - they don’t make them like you anymore!

And before I sign off, a few random thoughts:

  • Do you know that some mistakes are just too much fun to make only once?
  • Do you know that there are some people who think they know it all, and become really annoying for some of us who do?
  • Do you know that some people are not as bad as they are made out to be? They are, in fact, much worse!

Till next fortnight… .

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