Sunday, January 17, 2016

Ice skating ....Zoooooooom....

I have always wanted to go to the ice skating rink that crops up every December near our house for last three years but we kept procrastinating. The husband was obviously not very keen on breaking his bones over the holiday season which explains the three year delay in reaching the venue but I tried to explain that it would be so much fun ..'it would be like walking but actually faster, it would be like surfing but on ice, it would be like sliding through the mud' ..oops yeah I did say that but by that time like most men, who have extremely low attention span, he had stopped listening to me and he agreed to book the tickets to the skating rink. We also managed to convince another friend to go along - more the merrier but mostly to take us to hospital if needed.

The ordeal started as soon as we entered the place - a gust of cold wind blew on my face sending a chill down my spine. I almost immediately wanted to turn my back and take the exit but I noticed the husband smirking from the corner of my eye waiting to say 'this was your idea' so I put up a brave face and stood in line for my turn.

The next challenge was to put on the skates. The man on the counter handed us the skates, big blue ones and it felt that even after any possible twisting and turning of the foot it was absolutely impossible to somehow get the foot inside that skate without breaking the ankle bone into two pieces. This struggle went on for a fair amount of time when a small kid sitting next to me could no longer tolerate our ignorance and also the destruction of the skates and pointed out that there was a small buckle on the side that we needed to unlock to put an end to this stupidity. We followed his instructions though in my defence I have to say that the  husband who otherwise has proven higher IQ did not notice the buckle either.

The skating shoe was horribly primitively designed. The bottom part wrapped around the foot and was a tight fit. It was fine till that point. However the top part that wrapped around the ankle up to the lower calf muscles was tight too and more importantly the designers of this skate had clearly forgotten that humans have something called as ankle bones that protrude outwards. Also the material used for the skate was leather. This might be a wonderful material in some ways but on those ice skates it was used in one thickness only - ‘rock hard’. While we all might have different definitions of ‘rock hard’ depending on our varied skills to make 'chapatis' for the husband, it was still all rock hard. While I was explaining all this to the husband, the kid shrewdly told me that the skate was hard because it was meant to prevent the ankle from twisting and hurting. Now first off all I don't like this eavesdropping business. Also I wanted to point out that unless one has the ankle bones of a horse it’s impossible to tie the rigid leather tightly enough to the ankle to give support and allow flexibility at the same time but he did not wait or me to clarify and ran away, so I shut up. 

Needless to say, ice skating is far difficult than it appears to be. However after the first round, I had gathered enough confidence to leave the side railings and start 'skating' in real sense. To be honest, the credit for this goes to my parents who had gifted me roller skates when I was a kid and I went crazy learning how to skate down the slope in my society. Moving to smooth ice rink from the potholed concrete slope was fairly easy. Sometimes I suspect that my parents sent me out to play as a kid so that I could exhaust all my extra energy and not turn the house upside down. So as a kid I was packed off to either a gymnastics class, or table tennis or badminton or dance class or taken for weekend trekking somewhere nearby and when all options were exhausted I was given the roller skates but I digress.

Generally the husband and I are in serious competition with one another. For e.g. one time he asked me if I knew how it would affect the operating cash flow of an airline if they capitalise their leases instead of treating them as operating leases to which my response was can you prove that the integral of the fraction where the numerator is the derivative of a function and denominator is the function is equal to the natural logarithm of the function. I honestly don't know how and where that came up from but he left the room saying 'tell me one day in your life when you used this integral' to which my response was '12th board exam' and we were even. (Point to be noted mi lord)

Today was however different. Today I had this golden opportunity to give him some 'lessons'. I showed him how to bend in the knees and take small steps outwards to begin skating. 'Become a penguin' I said. On a normal day, any such advice from me would have been taken with absolute cynicism but there was no sign of refute from him at that point. Taking advantage of this opportunity I also passed a comment that there are other ways to come to a halt apart from banging on the side railings and I could demonstrate that to him. Husband was however too focused on maintaining the balance at that point so we continued our trip around the ice rink.

We were almost at the end of one hour and I took a break to look around before I took the last round in the skating rink. I noticed that all the kids were zooming around at break neck speed making their way through narrow gaps formed by adults who were holding on to the railings on both sides too afraid to let go. The kids were falling over again and again but each time, they got up, laughed and carried on as if falling over was equally enjoyable. There was something to learn from these kids - why couldn't we all be like that, why couldn't we let go the fear of falling and failing and just for once thrust ourselves into completely enjoying what we are doing. This was the time.

I took a deep breath and slowly and steadily I increased my speed. I saw kids zoom past me and I suddenly felt like a kid again. It was time to give them some competition. One push at a time I increase my speed and soon I was gliding with the kids. I was smiling from ear to ear with my achievement when I saw the same kid from before charge towards me. I carefully made the turn and brought myself to a quick halt and patted myself for being able to avoid this accident only to realise that the kid, being the kid, didn't think it was necessary to stop so bang - both of us were on the floor. 

Before I could even realise what happened, the kid got up and skated away. Kids these days - first they eavesdrop my conversation, then they push me and and now they don't even apologise? I wanted to turn around and give him a good thrashing but I realised that I was in UK and hitting children is totally illegal here. While I was tried to get up, bang - I fell again and this happened two more times. By this time my posterior was completely wet. The personnel around soon noticed my inability to get up on my own and that I was not performing yoga in the middle of the skating rink so they quickly came to my rescue. Thankfully the husband did not notice any of this as he had already made his exit. I heaved a sigh of relief.

Well all is well that ends well - we came out without any broken bones and happy faces. 

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