The curious case of the incriminating Ice Prince

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Growing up around an agnostic parent meant there were no consistent rituals or customs when it comes to the celebration of "festivals". It has always been a moment of intrigue when I'm demanded accountability by acquaintances, "what are your plans for XXX?" with XXX being any important festival.

It does not help the cause that my other parent who practices some skewered version of religion decided that a convent school was best for me. Maybe they predicted my serial dating habit years ago or maybe they were just lazy. I have other theories but I'll keep them to myself.

Meanwhile, the convent school I attended underplayed all major festivals, barring Christmas. Which also explains how I go overboard on that one day of the year. Everything I know about customs and having a ritual goes back to waiting for Christmas year after year. It hasn't changed one bit, and Christmas continues to be my favourite time of the year. I have things that I do, despite not being religious.

It bothers one of my two parents, that as a fully functioning adult, I have no, absolutely no recurring sense of fulfilling traditions that go on in other households. We don't celebrate most major festivals, not cause we don't want to, but mostly because at least one of us is majorly disinterested and we have no past memories of doing any such together. The ones we used to do, we have now ceased and I don't see us coming back to them anytime soon.

Festivals, for the most part, translate into one day of the year when we're all home, bickering about what to eat and settling for some comfort food, while scrolling through our respective social media feeds to see how are others losing their shit on that day. Each of us interprets these days as a standalone event. We make our own rituals and stick to them in the absence of all of us having one collectively.

My background into mythology and understanding of religion largely comes from the practice of storytelling; a hobby that advanced into writing and reading, I was obsessed with listening to stories as a kid. Most people don't know this about me, but I would bully my grandmother into telling me ten different stories each night as she put me to bed. Storytelling as an endeavour did one thing right- I imbibed to make my own narrative. In this case, come with my set of rituals for every important occasion.

As a part of my Diwali ritual, I finish a book from cover to cover as the world is going ham with their respective festivities. No matter how drunk, busy, tired or crabby I am, I grab a book on Diwali eve and wrap it in a few hours.

This Diwali, I'd been drunk for a week. I started smoking again and essentially, I was in a haze of intoxication. To cut it short, in no mood with keeping up with traditions. I have theories on why that transpired but that's not critical.

Coming back, as a part of my anti-social asshole regime this year, I made faces and threw shade on one and all. That's hardly new by my standard but I have learned to keep that monster tamed. I think largely it had to do with my patience being tested all around, from work to personal life.

I was particularly snappy all of the last week. The highlights of which include calling a friend "Ice Prince".

Don't raise your eyebrow. The term is self explanatory. Ice Prince is a dude who is cold, and inaccessible and only soluble at room temperature at carnivals.

To be fair, I've been using the term in regular conversations for a while now and have not bothered to remember the etymology. It just describes some people rather well and somehow, it stuck around with me as a phrase that I use when I want to remind people to be kind especially when I think they're being obnoxious. On a side note, I should maybe, take a weekend and sort the definitions of these insults in my head to avoid any further embarrassment.

As a good save, I do think of an Ice Prince as a chill guy who slips in and out of his mold and mixes well with a spirit or two.

Anyway, I don't think this went down well. In my defensive mode, I explained that I had read this in a book long ago.

Upon further prodding, I confessed that I didn't remember the name of the book where I'd read this. However, I skipped the details. It took a grand total of 2 minutes, with the help of my nuanced research skills that I employed, to learn the name of the book.

In absolutely no time I had assessed everything there was to the context of the usage. Man, why would I continue using this for years?

Keeping up with the merriment, I decided to read this again as a part of my only Diwali ritual. I dug out the copy of the book and read the whole thing this past weekend. I think I would have been better without this reminder, but no, I had to invoke the ghost of Ice Prince and throw shade. The entire process made me look and feel stupid and how. Let me explain why.

It's hilarious and I'm partly ashamed to admit that an absolutely pathetic book is mirroring my life in godawful ways. I remembered certain portions, well but for the most part, had completely forgotten about the things that went down in the book. This includes the protagonist's job, her friends and their story arcs coming a complete circle, an old friend reconnecting just before her wedding (eerily described to be similar to what went down when I reconnected with my long lost best friend from school after 8-9 years), old crushes losing sheen, new ones being totally hopeless and a general sense of displacement amongst others. At the end of this re-reading, I was embarrassed for myself. Why is my fucking life resembling a godawful chick-lit?

If I add another punctuation up there, even my blog will resemble one, if it doesn't already remind you of that. Not cool at 28. Not cool at 17 either but I'll be kind to my younger self.

What's worst is that I was impressed with the book when I first read it eleven years ago. I recall I was writing this blog and extensively writing about my time around the guy in the neighbourhood who I crushed on. When I read the book and how painstakingly it covered the protagonist's crush and so on, my 17-year-old self felt validated. Not the best role model at the time. It doesn't help one bit that with time, the crush in the book and mine in real life have unfolded to resemble just as lame. That's a parallel I can live with.

Now that I think of it, I don't think I'd have fully understood what the book was trying to do as a 16-17-year-old when I first read this. The entire novel was recreated as a part of the author's blog and was the shite amongst bloggers at the fag end of the noughts. Ofcourse, today, writers do gigs on independent digital publications and nobody reads books or even those pieces. Instead, the ritual demands everyone to Instagram the front cover. There are video book previews, a joke since every serious reader at some point prior to the descent of internet television looked down upon the moving visuals as a medium when compared to the written word on paper.

I don't know what's worse, writing deals scored then basis blogs or the interpretation of books today. Whatever it is, one needs to seriously reflect upon that and action. In my case, cease reading garbage and calling people by those names.

For what it's worth, the back blurb added to the charm of the ice prince "...(he) who thaws at his own convenience".

Move on Annabelle. Some of us have to live with completely eerie book-life situations mirroring real-life, instead of having the luxury to play with cursed toys. Meanwhile, now I truly believe that all rituals should be open to customization. To that end, I now propose burning stupid books instead of crackers on Diwali.

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