Ice Spice Girl

It was a game. And we were kids. Average height two and a half feet. Wide-eyed and energy-surplussed. In a game of hide-and-seek. Trying to get lost in an enchanted forest. Actually, a park. A green photosynthetic world—palms with grey trunks, potted ferns and sweet nectar bud shrubs pruned and shaped—in concentric circles around a raised cement pond with fish relief walls. On the pond surface floated lotuses, pink with oxygen and good health. Supplied from a colony of sticky green slime. We’d often see bubbles on the pond surface and mistake them for fish. But the pond was green and fishless.

The innermost of the concentric circles was ours. We were the tiniest of the enchanted forest kids. The circles were divided according to age. The biggest kids took the outermost. The innermost was ours, the tiniest.

We were playing a game of ‘Ice Spice’. Funnily, it made sense in an exotic, rhyming sort of way. The Ice Spice Girl was our leader. Curly-haired and dimple-chinned, she was magic and beauty personified. A childhood hero in economy pack. We would follow her to the ends of the earth. Or ends we thought were ends.

Ice Spice Girl told us of the Teeth Counter Bird. If the Teeth Counter Bird counted all your teeth you’d die, she said. The bird, although a tiny, unremarkable, black-and-white sparrow type, was for us a fearless angel of death. So mouths were squeezed shut whenever the Teeth Counter Bird flew past us.

One of the qualifications of rulership was the fact that Ice Spice Girl knew things we'd never even dream of. She knew of the best hiding places and the best stories. She would always be the last one to be found. She also never got to be the ‘den’, the seeker in the game.

That day, as always, Ice Spice Girl found a place no one could have guessed. It was a game but Ice Spice Girl was bold and adventurous.

Among her many stories was one where she used to be a fish. And we believed her. Ice Spice Girl could be anything she wanted. If she said that the Teeth Counter Bird was her aunt, we’d believe her.

The day was losing its shine and Ice Spice Girl was still not found. We looked up her old hiding places but found them empty. Lost and disappointed we went to her house, a sort of collective statement of defeat. But she was neither there at home.

A search party of parents came out looking for her. Ice Spice Girl, where are you? Ice Spice Girl, come out. Ice Spice Girl, the game is over. Ice Spice Girl, it’s not funny. Ice Spice Girl, come on. Ice Spice Girl, enough is enough.

It was late evening when they found Ice Spice Girl. Floating on the pond, next to the pink lotuses. Like the fish that she once used to be.


  1. Very, very sad. Adults try to shield the eyes of their kids from all sorrow and loss, and yet, we are all so vulnerable.

    On a different note, I used to call the game Ice Spice all through my childhood, till I finally figured out it was a corruption of I Spy You.

  2. Yes Mikra, but I think children cope better with grief, sometimes vulnerability can also be a source of great strength.

  3. Beautiful post. Reminded me of that scene from Sir Laurence Olivier's "Hamlet" (when Ophelia's found dead in the river...)


  4. ice spice girl in heaven must be glad abt the way she 'lived'. that should matter only.

  5. Yup, Dim Poetry, having 'lived' a life is more important its year-length.

    Krishna, thanks. I agree, death can be beautiful too. I think it's our way of looking at it, as something evil and final, is what's essentially flawed.

  6. why so much death. last i heard it was your fish. now it's dear ice pice (that's how i said it).. but you make me cry.

  7. Oops!!!! But then a few tears don't hurt... or do they?

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