Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Osi mai kadai – the shop where I got free ink for my pen


He doesn’t talk. He looks tall and healthy. Dark. Never smiled at me. We don’t talk. People in my street would talk. They would at least say hello. It is a different matter that they all know me and my family. They say hello to everyone. They are interested in knowing about everyone and everything. If you are a stranger or new to the area, you better have answer and time for all their questions. It is a bit strange for me to go to my regular shop,  still do not have ever spoken to the shop owner. I do not know whether he has never spoken to anyone or just to those kids who come to his shop to fill their ink pens. There is that ink bottle just outside counter in front of the tight row of big mittai (candy) bottles. Kept in a very convenient place for us the regulars.  An ink filler by the side too. I go there and look up. He turns inside and starts looking at his books or something. I take my pen out, open it, and fill it with the blue ink from the bottle. There it is, a little cloth thoughtfully kept by the side of the bottle. I use the cloth to wipe the pen and my hands. I look up again. He is still examining something inside his shop. I have to go as I am getting late to school. I start walking. My head turned to look back. I saw his head looking out of his shop looking at me walking. I smile. He pulled his head in. I smile again and walk fast. I am late for the school prayer.  

I shall Try


I try. I try very hard. I am not a runner. I try hard. “Get set go”…. And the whistle… I do not whizz off. I do run, but far behind all the other contestants. I can see Radhika running in the front. Failure to run does not make me sad. I was quiet. I stood on the sides for other rounds and other sports. I watched them whizz past me. I asked the teacher if she wanted any help in conducting the events. May be I can mark a tick against the name of the contestant who has turned up. May be I can add the winning scores and give the totals to the other teacher who is summing up the results. May be I can arrange the lines and marks on the ground for the next sport. I was wondering. I was a little sad when I didn’t win in the singing competition. I do believe I sing well. May be that is my interest. May be I should properly learn to sing and become a singer. I was wondering. There was this thing glaringly obvious that I get good marks in all the exam papers. But how can you make it specific? Is it geography, is it science, or is it …oh yes, I like maths and I do well too. But, what about it? I do not know what can you be if you like maths or if you do well in maths. May be I can become a maths teacher one day. I am not sure I want to teach children. They misbehave a lot. I do too. I do not like to become a teacher. Becoming a teacher is nothing about having liking for maths. That is why I do not think scoring good marks in exams can make me anything. Singing can make me a singer. But I cannot learn singing. My folks won’t let me learn singing. And there is no one to teach me singing. Let us say I learn singing and I sing a few songs. What then? Mmmm, good that I thought about it before wasting my time on learning to sing!
I don’t know what would interest me. May be I can become an engineer and build bridges. I will build the best and the famous bridge in the world. I will have beautiful roses on the sidewalk. Yes, it is a good idea to have a sidewalk where people can walk while the buses go in the middle of the road. I will have beautiful roses in pots arranged in a row on the side walk. There should be a tap for people to drink water when they go thirsty. And there should be benches if anyone wants to have a sit down for a while.   The dream opens up. It brings the bridge closer and bigger. There are people on the sidewalk. Colourful roses in pots too. The tap in the middle of the walk looks wet. Some elderly men like thatha are having a sit down on the benches. It will be a wide bridge then. Then the weight bearing should be strong then? That will be my challenge. I will be the engineer behind a famous bridge which was built with strong weight bearing and colourful roses in pots. That will be my goal. I shall try. I like that. I shall try.
My walk back home had a spring in my step. Humming three full songs took me home. “Aachi, have you got some rice for me”?