Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lessons learnt

            "Mamma I will be back soon. You remember my gift ok?" her daughter yelled from the door as she ran to catch her school bus.
             Today her daughter was going to get the results of her internal test in school but Rachna was worried about something else. She was anxious about something her daughter had done. Rachna had prided herself for managing her job and her home perfectly. She believed she had ingrained good values in her daughter until today.
              Today she had found a storybook, tucked under the pillow of her daughter, while cleaning the room. It did not belong to her daughter Sana. Rachna opened the book. The first page of the book showed doodles done on the name previously written on it. Below that was a hurriedly scribbled "Sana". Her daughter had stolen the book from someone and kept it for herself. This was the cause of concern for Rachna. Where had her daughter picked up such a trait?
               Why Sana would steal was beyond Rachna's reason. That too a storybook? Knowing how avid a reader Rachna was, she would have gladly bought Sana the book if she had asked for it. Was her daughter stealing for thrill? The thought sent shivers down Rachna's spine.
                After thinking long and hard and setting aside the anxiety, Rachna decided to take actions to stop this habit of her daughter right away. Sana had to realise the wrong she had done. Rachna knew Sana was a sensitive girl. A wrong word or a little carelessness in handling the situation and her daughter would be lost to the wrong ways forever. One never knows how the tender and young minds work.
                Later that afternoon, Sana returned from school with a wide grin. She had got a 10/10 in her test.
"Mamma you promised me that you will give me a gift, where is it?" she asked.
"I did not get time to go to the market. I will go in the evening and get you something you will love." Rachna replied.
"Mammma, this is not done! You told me you will give me when I come back." she whined
"I will give you I said. Finish your lunch and get some sleep. Before you wake up I will get it ok."

Sana stomped her way to the bedroom. After sometime she came to the table for lunch. Rachna never pestered her to eat. She had taught Sana to respect food when it was served and not waste it. Once when Sana had thrown a fit because she didn't like a balanced diet for lunch, Rachna had taken her to the nearby street children and asked her to give her lunch to them. She didn't give in to Sana's demand for junk food for lunch and made her go hungry. But looking at the street children who feasted on her lunch, Sana realised how lucky she was to have fixed meals unlike the kids who didn't know when their next meal would come.

Today was time for another lesson. Her daughter had erred, but that didn't mean she couldn't improve.

"Wow my gift!!" Sana jumped in joy looking at the gift wrapped in blue paper.
"See I told you I will get it." Rachna said
"Ya ya mamma, let me open it."
She opened the gift and suddenly her face was pale.
It was a brand new story book but the same one which she had stolen from her friend.
"What happened Sana ? Didn't you like the gift?" she asked her daughter who wasn't seeing her in the eye.
"Its good." she muttered.
"You would have loved it if you hadn't already stolen the same book and read it." Rachna said

Rachna didn't utter a word after that. She didn't blame her daughter for behaving that way nor did she point out her flaws. She left it to her daughter to figure out the wrong.
Her daughter sat stunned. Her eyes were welled with tears.
Rachna took Sana into her arms and said,
"Sana I won't ask you why you did it. I will suggest you what you should have done. You should have asked me for the book. I would have given you. Even if I couldn't give you something, its not good to take away from someone else. You could have borrowed the book and returned after reading. Because you of your mistake you lost your gift. Because of you taking someone else's book, they lost their book. Now I leave it to you to decide how you are going to return the book."

Rachna had made a concious effort to not mentiont the words "steal" and "thief".

The next day she saw her daughter making a card. Sana had made a "Sorry" card and attached it to the first page of the brand new book which Rachna had bought last evening. However Sana had not mentioned her name. Rachna didn't mind it. Mentioning the name would only lead to guilt and undue torment from other kids. Her daughter had learnt to give and learnt to make up for her mistakes.
After parting with her brand new book, Rachna was sure that Sana wouldn't make such a mistake again. If she had wanted, she could have returned the same book but she had made up for her wrong by giving the brand new one.

That afternoon when Sana returned from school she quietly went to Rachna and said, "Mamma I m sorry. I will never steal again. I gave her the new book with a sorry note. She was happy to find her book under the desk."

"I know dear. Freshen up and come soon. I have made your favorite dish for lunch and also made a chocolate cake."
"Wow chocolate cake!! For what?"
"One good turn deserves another." Rachna smiled.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Yellow pencil

"Will you tell me what it is called?"
"Yellow pencil!" I replied between sobs.
"Arre that is the color, tell me the name of that pencil" my Mom was getting irritated which lead to a proportional increase in my crying.
"Ok I will look for it."

I was in first standard. I had a friend of mine who had bought these yellow pencils to school. I used to somehow love her stationery. She was the first one who had brought "penpencil" to school. Those pencils which had many leads in it. Loss of one lead and the entire pencil would be useless. Nevertheless I had wanted that too and Papa had brought me a blue penpencil. Now this yellow pencil had caught my fancy.

Mom searched in stores and came back with a yellow pencil which had black stripes on it.
'This is not the pencil I want! I know you will not bring it now!" I threw a fit.
"There's nothing called as yellow pencil! The shopkeepers keep asking the name. This is also yellow so keep it." she yelled at me.

For days I kept pestering her for the yellow pencil.
In the lunch break my friend opened her pencilbox for some reason. She used to place a paper in  her pencil box so that it doesn't get dirty with the pencil marks and for some reasons she also put something fragnant in her box so that everytime she opened her pencil box it would smell of sandalwood.
I saw four bright yellow, sharpened pencils. It had no name on it.
Ego kept me from asking her where she bought it from. It made me more stubborn to have those pencils now.

I dared not ask for those pencils after Mom's outburst. After some days I even forgot about it.
One day while watching TV, I saw an advertisement on cable. It was the same yellow pencil! Its name was Lion!
Now finally I had a name for the pencil and called out Mom to tell her I want Lion's pencil. She might have been frustrated but it was rare that I did not get what I wanted so much.

My Mom worked far away from where we lived. There are many places near her workplace which are places for wholesale stationery and many book stores as well. She made it a point to go there on a Saturday (when it would have been packed with crowd) and look for the Lion's pencil. The shopkeepers told her that the pencil might not have been produced on a big scale yet and the ad might have been just promotional. There was no Lion's pencil in market yet.

She had promised me to bring those pencils if she found them but she had no luck. She knew I would be inconsolable if she returned empty handed.

She came home with four pencil sets. Two each of Apsara Gold and Apsara Extra Dark. Those were the times when Nataraj and Apsara (the normal black one) were used in our school. These two were newly launched so she had thought this would make me happy.. How right she was!

I was satisfied with the new pencils and forgot all about the yellow pencils. More than writing with them, I played with them and sharpened all of them :P

How much joy a pencil can hold only innocence can know!

Today while travelling back from college in a crowded local train, I saw a girl seated and writing with a yellow pencil. Memories came back flooding. Years later, when I think of it, I realise the tact with which Mom dealt with me. I realised how even I might have been a cause for many young children of my class crying for the new "extra dark" or "apsara gold" pencils.

Later ,when my stop was about to come, I stood near the entrance and the girl with yellow pencil too came there. She was still holding her pencil in hand.
Ego kept me from asking her the name of the pencil :P
Some things never change I guess!