Monday, January 31

Kismet kibosh? 

Somewhere in Illinois or its bordering states - Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, or Kentucky is an ill-fated individual (I leave the gender totally up to your wild imagination) whose fancy dreams of reaching out to the stars from a magic carpet on bagging a few million bucks at the lottery have been crushed forever. And the individual, in all possibility, is entirely oblivious to the recent goings-on that have so sealed his/ her fortune. The winning Lotto numbers 14 - 23 - 24 - 36 - 37 - 50 were drawn on January 31, 2004 and the ticket in question was sold at a Gas Station in Frankfort, IL. Sure, there’ve been scores of crafty souls that have come forward with the wackiest of tales and feints to claim ownership of the prize. Some, according to the grapevine, have offered to fetch the ticket in once their trash has been sorted out, few others have miserably recounted having tripped and fallen soon after buying the ticket, thus losing sight of it while they braced themselves to stand up in one piece, and some others have even dared to show up with carefully glued bits of paper simulating the numbers in sequence. But the actual winner is missing, still.

The $14 million Illinois Lottery jackpot expires at midnight today if no one comes forward with the real winning ticket. And if it remains unclaimed, it will be the biggest unclaimed prize in Illinois Lottery history. Following which, the money will become part of the Lottery's contribution to the State Common School Fund. To own a gold mine and not know how to quarry, ugh. And then, there’s the freak that left behind a $1300 tip for a $33 pasta meal he gorged on at one of the city’s restaurants. Seems to me like Spartan’s gone on a rather long, nice walk.

Thursday, January 13

That bitter blue funk 

One would never have imagined savoring a temperate 60+ on a routinely bleak January day in Chicago. All the snow had begun to thaw, the skin felt revitalized. Yes, implausible as it may sound, the mercury decided, of a real sudden, to upsurge yesterday, and the entire city was abuzz with a curious summery spirit. The city’s full fleet of snowplowing trucks was well rested. Heaters were turned off, windows were thrown open, long coats and fleeces were relinquished, children were tricked into believing it wasn’t winter after all - the only thing amiss was the sun.

It’s all back to the good old icy pavilion today. Rain, sleet and snow have filled all the city’s pockets, and the salting down of all slick streets and sidewalks has resumed. Snow ban parking regulations are back into effect, woolies are out of the closets, and heads are back in their hoods. Kids have resumed their snowball fights, and fireplaces are ablaze again.

Yet spirits seem unfazed, and the city seems more alive than ever. Perhaps because there’s a certain security in the wind chills of the windy city. Winter, evidently, is fortifying all the same, and winter blues, but a delusion. All it takes to beat the cold emptiness is a little convivial warmth. Or a piping hot tomato-basil-bisque, if you will.

Sunday, January 2

Another day, another year... 

Another year rolls in, this time sombre and solemn, as parts of the world still teeter between a state of utter morbidity and the littlest hope of renewal from a catastrophic blow. Candle light vigils, prayer sessions and moments of quietude marked the eve of the New Year across the world. Although hubby and I didn't exactly partake in any of them at the given hour, our thoughts and prayers kept coming back to the victims, their loved ones and all those who did manage to survive, but are barely living. We ushered the new year in by simply being together, and doing our measly bit to aid the hurting and the needy. We found our peace at the temple at daybreak, and were moved immensely to see the efforts of so many strangers manifest in multiple ways to help the grief-stricken. We hope sincerely that the new year will mark the beginning of very many upheavals yet to come for all of the world. Peace and happiness to all of you.

And this one's especially for Marg, who has flown oceans away from a perfectly sunshiney land she calls home to one that's barren, to work with World Vision staff in their endeavors to help victims of the tsunami. May God bless you, and keep you, my dearest friend.