THE MAIN GATE OF OUR SWEET HOME.......SINNATHAMBY SIVANANDAN
Gate is defined in the dictionary as a movable barrier, usually on hinges, closing an opening in a fence, wall, or other enclosure, In other words a means of ingress or egress.
In some big compounds that house big buildings there are specific gates exclusively for entry and exit.
I am neither a wordsmith nor a lexicographer, however with my limited knowledge in the English language; I have noticed some entry words starting with gate and exit words ending in gate in the English vocabulary.
The terminology used, as entry and exit word is purely my coinage with a sense of humour as in this instance the word in question is “Gate” and literally it permits entry or exit.
The entry words begin with gate such as gateway, gatekeeper, gateman and exit words end in gate such as abrogate, aggregate, congregate, mitigate, litigate, segregate, propagate, subjugate, interrogate, investigate, surrogate so on and so forth.
Oops! My memory the only diary I carry with me is fading or fainting to recollect more words, nevertheless as much as Americans strive to keep Al Qaeda at bay after 9/11, I am afraid I too should take steps to keep Alzheimer’s after 66.
My thought of Americans brought the flash back of “Watergate” which was the exit gate of Nixon from “White House”. Not bad, old events are still fresh in my memory but not immediate past perhaps the neurons are becoming inactive.
I am now transplanted across pacific to be specific in Australia, shuttling between children yet to be kicked like a football, at present in Melbourne, living in a duplex that has made things more complex. There are some days I come down leaving my hand phone up, all of a sudden it rings, when I hear the ringtone then I realise it is not with me, cursing the technology I climb up the stairs the ring tone stops before reaching the top, and I do something else and return minus the hand phone.
Well leave it aside, thanks to Al-mighty, with the help of Bill gate I can still navigate and open the floodgate not to irrigate but to elongate the list of words ending in gate.
Now my original thoughts begin to tailgate and remind me I have deviated from the “Main Gate” in the title, other gates have overtaken me down the memory lane.
Coming to the “Main Gate” and entrance of our home during my young days in early fifties after WW2 long before WWW, we had two identical gates. The frame was wooden fitted with iron cylindrical rod with spikes like spear on top so that no one can jump over in a hurry without hurting themselves. It was the only security measure or feature of our gates.
Iron hinges on either side fixed on to the wooden posts supported both the gates. The gates opened inside into the house and in the middle where the gates meet was a small concrete patch with a hole right at the centre so that the left gate as you enter has a lever that goes right down inside the hole and prevents the movement of the left gate and there by permitting the right gate to move freely serving the purpose.
My Dad was very innovative and inventive, he improvised a small pulley on top of the gate and with a cord running through it and a small weight hanging on to the other end and devised it in such a way the gate opens meticulously and permits you in according to the force of the push exerted and closes automatically.
Both gates were opened only when Dad’s rickety old ramshackle Austin 8 car bearing numeral plate Z 8872 find its way out. My dad when he starts the car first pulls the choke and after sometime will pull the starter knob; it comes a fairly long way behind. It was a bit cranky and will not always start at the first time after a series of such manoeuvres it would start, failing which he would take the starting handle and insert it through the front opening and crank it. When he does so he asks one of us to get on to the driver’s seat and keep a foot on the gas pedal. Once it starts he will take over press the pedal and raise the engine for a considerable length of time before the final take off. As it picks up we will absolutely have no problems till we return home.
Our kitchen then was an L shaped extension, a make shift ad hoc adjustment with no chimney. On an elevated platform made out of mud on ground level was the fire place, neatly polished by cow dung, the clay stoves were embedded. Fire wood was the source of energy, no smoke detectors or fire alarms. It was thatched by dried plaited coconut leaves on top, lower half mud walled and upper half with wooden planks with a wire meshed opening. The mesh had holes big enough; the tennis ball can squeeze its way through.
When the main gate is opened it makes a creaking noise that is an indication some one is opening the gate that was the alarm, signal and sensor. My mom will pop up from her wooden seat at ground level attending to the cooking chores and look through the mesh opening and shout out and answer, as there were no regulators to control the fire in the stove. That was our electronic camera and answering machine.
In the front yard on the outer side of the mud wall of the kitchen, we four including my three brothers aged 5, 7 and 12 had engraved a permanent wicket and played cricket. At times the ball find its way through the mesh hole and mom did the wicket keeping and returned the ball, if by accident it fell inside the curry pot we got a beating with the wooden spoon, she always used the long handle and there after play abruptly gets abandoned. No Duckworth Lewis calculator then to decide who won?
I am now astonished and amazed at the remote controls of gates and how the gates are designed to open conserving the space and the calling bells answered and gates opened from being inside the house within closed doors after camera identification.
Finally to the Pearly Gates, some do not believe in god, they say god is “no- where” at the death bed in final stages hardly cannot move take perpendicular turn and say god is “now-here”. I am an orthodox Hindu and believe in re-incarnation definitely not an atheist but might have been slightly agnostic while reading Bertrand Russell influenced by his school of thought as aptly told by Greg Epstein as “Antagonistic Atheism”.
When I was young, I started reading “Daily News” in the reverse order from the Sports page which was invariably the last page then, when grew older from the front page and now at the ripe age of 66, I read first the obituary column with remorse and find out whether the person deceased is older or younger than me and thank god for keeping me alive and kicking when people younger than me are listed. When I find older people have passed away I deduct their age from mine and assume I have some more time to go.
Nowadays I do not believe in living for years instead think of months and very soon it will be days. It is a question of countdown during the tail end for a nail biting finish.
However I praise the god everyday for having gifted me to do my daily chores on my own and live healthily. So far so good, whether one’s life is worth living depends on the state of his liver. It has given me a better lever-age. I do not tax my liver now much having levied excise tax to de-liver public and deliver revenue to state chest, to be honest when I was at behest.
All of a sudden when I think what will happen to me after death then an eerie feeling envelopes me but soon I recover. I do not believe in heaven or hell both heaven and hell exist in this world we are living.
If at all I am destined to go to heaven and St Peter permits me through the “Pearly Gates” I would suggest him, I prefer to go to the hell as the heaven will be full of saints and semi gods the whole atmosphere will be religious and pious with regular “Bajans” and meditation. I would rather join my colleagues and contemporaries in the hell.
St Peter too is due to retire soon after the monotonous, stereotyped job and almighty is hell bent in contemplating to electronically operate “Pearly Gates” with a pin number. For Pete’s sake don’t tell anyone!
This is a development after Steve Job’s entry he is entrusted with the job. Will he topple the apple cart? His innovation will not start with I as egoism is a total taboo.
Oscar Wilde quoted “It is foolish to erect fences around a cemetery as those who are inside will not come out and people who are outside do not like to go in”, he would be frothing wild turning inside the grave as human race for want of space is encroaching cemeteries as a result cemeteries are fortified with fences and gates.
Hell or Heaven human birth free of defects or congenital disorders is bliss. Hence do good service to the mankind and live your life to the fullest, from the “Womb to Tomb” in other words “Basket to Casket”!!
Sluice gate in my think tank is blocking the flow of fluid of thought, the ink in the fountain and my th-inking is thinning.
It is time for me to click exit word document, shall shut down the window and escape, bye.