Sometimes, it’s quite amazing to realize that all of a sudden you felt so much, you realized what life is all about, and that you have got many juniors when you look back, who are still blinded by the little successes they enjoy, and they won’t believe you when you tell them about the tales of reality. For reality, to them is far from reality. They are still happy with their life, and you feel unhappy, jealous of their happiness and innocence, and pity it, as they soon are going to lose it.
Such is the story of Reetu, a girl of fourteen, still innocent, still happy; my very first student of my art class. She’s a teenager, as I am too, except, there’s a difference- she’s still a child. I don’t remember how I used to be when I was her age. Whether I too was that shy, but arrogant, choosy about the kind of circle I was in, and considerate to those who couldn’t succeed and try to help them in every possible way. Yes, Reetu am I talking about, the girl whose face showed a feel of pride when I called her in my room first, handling my paintbrush neatly over the calligraphy I did with the pencil.
“Did you call me di?”
I looked back at her as I smiled. “Congratulations! Great achievement.” I said, raising my hand up and finally stand up as a mark of respect to the little kid who had performed so well in her school, achieving a 95% overall in her 8th class results. She might have topped the class, she might havn’t, lost it by a few points as I always did. I didn’t ask.
“Oh. Thanks.” She said, yet I couldn’t sense the shyness in her face anymore. The usual shy attitude was changed to that of pride, as afterwards, she would always try to defy each of my statement.
“No, a coconut sten is green in colour.” She would say. “I have recently seen it at my grandpa’s house.”
“Kolkata has got a great amount of algae population, darling. The green might be because of the same.”
“No, you don’t know. It’s never brown as you’re making me colour it.”
She might be just questioning but what was more irritating was the fact that she would argue without even knowing the basics.
“4B is darker than 6B” she would say, when I would explain her about the darkness of pencils. Yet she was never convinced that actually 6B was darker.
“No it’s not.”
“Yes it is, Di! You don’t know it?”
And then I finally showed her different grammar books to justify myself. She didn’t have anything else to say. I heaved a sigh of relief. Pheww…
Yet she would never stop. “Why are you making me colour the inner circle in a half coconut blue?”
“It’s called shading.”
“But it’s all so blue.”
And I would snap, “’Cz you did it all wrong! Do it again.”
I thought she was finally gaining trust in me when she saw that whatever I had taught was alright. But of course, these early teenagers are hard to deal with. I gave her my ninth class notebooks to help her in her homework, and her question was kind of weird.
“Did you achieve marks by writing these answers?”
“What do you mean?” I asked, quite amused.
“You know, I have scored 95% in my eighth class, must be familiar with that?” She snapped.
I smiled. I wanted to speak up, “I had scored 96.5% in my eighth class.” As I really had. But somehow, I couldn’t speak it all up. I just smiled and realized that she would herself understand when she grows up a bit that these few little successes don’t mean a thing, but who knows? After all, every topper doesn’t have to land down in the dungeon of fear. And after all, I too had once been like this. I smiled at the innocence little children have at this age as I finally managed to say, “Be sure of that, or leave it if you think you can perform better.”