Author's Diction~Vipin Behari Goyal: Life is picnic

Monday, September 19, 2016

Life is picnic

If you were having a picnic in a dream

life is picnic
Margy at Brighton Beach
“I’ll affect you slowly
as if you were having a picnic in a dream.
There will be no ants.
It won’t rain.”
― Richard Brautigan, Loading Mercury With a Pitchfork

Life is picnic. Life is not a picnic. Plan your picnic. Never, ever plan a picnic. The picnic is an escape; the picnic is an ideal way to confront.
All contradictory views about the picnic are true, as they are true about life. The ample supply of delicious food, scenic view, music, dances, games, sparkling beverages and loads of fun with friends and family members, is the basic idea of a good picnic. Excitement reverberates and laughter is exuberant. Messages traverse through the eyes of young couples and they sneak behind the thick trunks of trees or walk in the bushes, without looking back. While elders are having a heated discussion about religion or politics, youth pursues their passion and children play their games, angels wander in the sky to witness the exotic sight of fun and frolics. People remember such picnics for the rest of the life for some perfect moments.
The Devil has his own plan to prove that opposite of truth is not lie but another truth. Anything may happen during the brief spell. A child may slip in a lake while recovering his ball, a couple in the bush may get bitten by a snake, an old man may have a heart stroke, or thunder and rain may ruin the picnic. People for the rest of their lives regret such picnics.
“Be there a picnic for the devil,
an orgy for the satyr,
and a wedding for the bride.”
― Roman Payne, The Basement Trains
A picnic organised by the company or office is no picnic. The hierarchy of office staff is apparent at Picnic Spot. Bosses are on an ego trip and the young recruits laugh at middle executives. A true sycophant would always allow his boss to win the game. It is not a genuine picnic, its mockery of that.
A school picnic is a great fun. Teenagers usually have their first crush during a picnic. Hidden talents of their classmates impress them. A studious girl surprises her classmates as a good singer, a geek turns out to be the best drummer or a notorious drug addict puts his life at risk to save the life of a drowning girl.
Picnic in the school days is a dream comes true. The preparation of picnic is no lesser fun than the picnic itself. There is debate about almost every issue.  The location of picnic is often from the list of popular sites. The girls discuss their attire while boys make plans for adventure sports.
To plan a picnic is like to plan the life. The essential components of a good picnic and a good life are same. The objective is fun, but not everyone achieves it. Some suffer a defeat by the rejection of their proposal to date; others might suffer a quarrel with a friend, or an injury while playing. The worst calamity is an abuse by a perverted teacher.

The word pique-nique is French in origin and was first used by Tony Willis in 1692. Lord Chesterfield introduced it in the English language in 1748. The French described it as a group of people dining in a restaurant who bring their own wine while in the English language; it was associated with card playing, drinking and conversation.
The best description of the picnic is in a Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam translated by Edward Fitzgerald in 1120 ACE.
A book of verse beneath the bough,
A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness
Ah, wilderness were paradise enow!
The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

In Jane Austin’s novel Emma the “Box Hill Picnic”, was an utter failure. Everyone was disappointed for one reason or the other. Emma suffers a grave humiliation when reprimanded by Mr. Knightly for her misbehavior with Miss Bates. The atmosphere is of lassitude. There is a “want of spirits, a want of union, which could not be got over”. Nothing as vulgar as the consumption of food is alluded to, but one assumes it was on offer.
Frank Churchill said to Emma: "Our companions are excessively stupid. What shall we do to rouse them? Any nonsense will serve…" Excessively Stupid needs to be aroused without raising their suspicion.
Picnic like life is a combination of good and ridiculous.

The Telegraph in an article about picnics also makes a reference of Jane Austin days.

“The list of the best "food with a view" sites is part of a drive to encourage people to eat outdoors, as was the fashion in Jane Austen’s day.
Fiona Reynolds, director general of the National Trust, said people are often nervous about the weather or wasps.
But she said picnics can be simple and healthy, and rather fun in the rain.”
“Picnics are something we're well known for in this country, but we don't need to wait for the summer sun to arrive. ” She said.
"Spring is finally here and we have our extra hour's daylight – it's a great time of year to head outdoors and enjoy food with a view.”
"Spending more time outside is also the perfect way to refresh and re-energise both body and mind.”
Virginia Woolf in her novel “To the Lighthouse” describes an unpretentious picnic in a boat within sight of the lighthouse and the novels closing pages. Mr Ramsay enjoys the simplicity of the fare: “Now he was happy, eating bread and cheese with these fishermen.”
Picnics are sensual in D.H.Lawrence's  novel “Women in Love”. The nude dances in full moon by Ursula and in the rain by Coney (Lady Chatterley’s Lover) have remained controversial in the history of literature. The lakeside picnic in open air is an aphrodisiac. The complete the picnic Lawrence does not forget to mention the delicious winy cakes, caviar sandwiches and hard chocolates besides tea, cucumber, bread, cheese, raisins and apples.
Some schizoids love to picnic alone on a beach with a book, thermos filled with coffee, basket with enough food and drinks, a blanket and a beach towel. We may think that they are alone but the fact is that they are in the company of nature and like Wordsworth; they too believe that nature is not only alive but also endowed with a personality.

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©  Vipin Behari Goyal

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