This Will Not End Well.
Mangu's Note For Readers: The following story may contain some spelling mistakes. Please do note, all mistakes are intentional as intended by the writer (me).
The Open House of Bygone Sins.
Addy is sitting with me in the classroom waiting in anticipation for my madam to handover the mark sheet. This is his first time to an open house. He seems more excited than me. As soon as Madam hands over the report card, he scans through it as if searching for some coded message from another planet. His expressions say he didn’t find it.
But he has found something else, and can’t take his eyes off it. His expression changes from shock to bewilderment and from bewilderment to resignation. This will not end well!
Story Not So Far Behind.
I am in standard 1 and my life seemed glorious in every form . My parents Ummy nd Addy have great plans for me. I must admit something here. They aren’t wrong to think I would one day do great things. As a witty, go-getting, one teeth missing yet cute 6-year-old, I am much beyond my age. My age is the age of imagination! I have a dream, to grow up and become a driver. Going Vroom Vroom… in air-conditioned car all around the world! And the best part is I get paid for driving! Perfect.
Unfortunately it is also the age of imagination for Ummy nd Addy! Like every other parent, even they believe that their children have talents that are yet to be unearthed. So they enroll them in every extra-curri-kular hell! And by now I know that the word ‘extra-curri-kular’ doesn’t mean fun. Don’t get fooled by the ‘extra‘. In fact, if something looks fun and to do it you have to learn anxtra-curri-kular activity, that means, they will kill the fun part of it and make it work for you. It is not going to end well…
For example, I have been to a dancing class. If you can call it dancing that is. Everyone just waits for a song to play and then they hop around like goats! The teacher was screaming “Dance Dance” but she wasn’t dancing herself. She kept looking at me shouting “Dance Dance” but I didn’t know how to dance!!!! But when she said “Jump” I knew how to do that! So I did. I landed on this bucktoothed girl’s feet. It did not end well…
I have also been to swimming classes in summer. Correction, just one class. It was not very good. I must admit, it looked very interesting and inviting at first. Everyone there seemed to be having fun. The bad part is you have to see other kids without clothes. Anyway,I was intrigued, so I let the trainer carefully tie these balloons on my arms and waist. They looked fun; he looked pleasant, quite chatty though. But then mid-conversation, he picked me up and threw me in water! The next 15 minutes was me fighting for my life as he shouted “Kick Kick Kick” and Addy kept clapping! It did not end well…
Now to be a second child in such an environment is very, hmmm how should I put it…is WAR! In a Changu- Mangu (2 children, both boys) family planning mode, the life of a Mangu is always screwed. The competition for him and comparison with Changu starts right from Day 1!! Not from the day Mangu learns to walk. But from the day he first moves. “Awww…Mangu moved, does it remind us of the day Changu was born”.
Mangu's Note *Day 1: Changu competition. Changu needs to end. Noted and registered!
So it’s only natural that when Changu demonstrates skills in doodling, uber enthusiastic Ummy nd Addy would think of it to be a sign that he would one day become a great artists! Naturally then I would have to be tested for drawing talent! I pray to all the mosquitoes of the world, to come and bite my elder brother at the very same time!
Mangu's Note: He is elder by just 2 years. He won't be given a lot of importance here. But I must add,I do hate him completely. And I just hope and pray, he falls in an open drain! Full of floating poopy!
So back to drawing. I knew quite well where this was headed. They would test my drawing skills and say I was so nice but I needed training and boom! The next thing I know I am attending drawing extra-curri-kular class! Not this time. This time, I had a plan. Exams were a few days away. And there was also a drawing exam. Drawing is pointless in my personal opinion! Maybe Ammy nd Addy had to learn drawing because back in their time they were ‘techlonogy-less’. But even then it’s not like they are good at it. Ammy is still decent, Addy never even draws. He just stares at the paper and then starts complaining. Sometimes he doesn’t have the right pen or the color or the table or even the light!
But I wasn’t bad at drawing. Not if you consider wall crayon art as drawing. The walls of my house were a testament to my talent. But Ammy never understood that. She never let me complete! Whenever Ammy came charging with a broom (btw she has no reservation about violence against kids), Addy appeared like Superman saying, “Look at the colors! He has imagination and that’s applause-worthy!. Unfortunately for me, due to normal working hours Superman was unavailable between 9-6 on weekdays!
So back to the exams. This wasn’t a challenge, this was an opportunity. Drawing would come to me naturally. I obviously was good at it, and I loved imagining! The hours I spent on pondering while I was supposed to do something else were a witness to this. This was the best opportunity to shut Ammy nd Addy up for good! To end this drawing dream, I had to prove to Ammy that deep within I was nothing less than Michalangelo (He was good! Long long time ago he had painted Sixteen chapels!)
The days before the exam, I was completely focused on planning and prepping for the 20 minutes of my drawing exam. Color-pencils were rejected basis cost (Addy only loves buying cheap products). Sketch pens marked orange looked red on paper and brushes seemed to be too big for easy stroking. But somehow I managed! Finally the day of the exam arrived!
The Crooked Bench of Destiny
With a school-bag loaded with my tools to draw, I marched to school in my white shirt and cool blue shorts. There was jump in my stride with a little bit of skip on the side! Man! How I felt proud of my march. By the time I entered my class, almost all my classmates had taken their seats. They looked nervous but not me! I walked in with a sense of confidence that only those truly gifted could exhibit. I also had that little grin for the front benchers which made them even more uncomfortable. This was going to be as easy. Like taking candy from a baby, and I would know, as a candy stealer I am a terror for babies! I have a feeling, this will end well.
And so, I took my place on the bench of destiny. It was a bit crooked. It did occur to me, while arranging my crayons on the crooked bench of the suffering that artists like me underwent. Space always seemed an issue. Sketch pens up or in between the desk? Where to spread out the drawing book? Luckily in first standard you get your own desk. Unlike kindergarten, where some idiot is always nudging you every time he has to draw a rectangle!
Resources have lacked for genuine talent to grow, is what I was thinking when I saw our class-teacher writing our drawing topic. When she moved away I saw that she had written”DRAW A DOMESTIC ANIMAL” . I chuckled to myself, you can make me draw Sixteen Chapels but you want me to draw some domestic animal instead.
Now domestic animal is a very broad definition for ‘a speficic animal’. Domestic animal could mean various animals. I could look at those beady brooding faces around me and say for sure, they were stumped. But not me. To me this was the easiest topic ever. I wouldn’t just draw “a speficic domestic animal”, I would draw as many as I can.
Here I have to admit that starting off I did get a bit carried away! Till the madam yelled politely “15 MINUTES LEFT”, I was imaging my result day. Addy had tears in his eyes, out of admiration. Ummy decided to let go of her broom for good and switched to a vacuum cleaner. And if rumors were to be believed, Changu was pulled out of an open drain (full of floating poopy) that he had jumped in (voluntarily out of shame). I must commend the madam for her insightfulness to remind us pondering minds that time is passing by.
Back to the paper. I had a plan. I was first going to draw all the cattle with pencil and then start coloring them after. It’s easier that way. But first I had to remember all of them. Every time I had to think of the animal, I had to close my eyes and imagine. But every time I closed my eyes madam yelled the remaining time out.
It was very distracting. Plus this kid behind me kept saying “Moooo” every five minutes. Every single time he did so, I spent 2 more minutes thinking about why Cous go moooo. Cirumgating these distractions, by the time I was done drawing them with pencil Madam shouted “Two minutes left”. I have no time left to color. This will not end well.
Flash Of A Genius.
Now I had 2 minutes to solve two major problems. Problem 1 was obviously the lack of time to color the cattle. Problem 2 was that all 4 of my domestic animals looked almost the similar to each other, that is to an untrained eye. This was mainly because of lack of color. I knew I couldn’t possibly go coloring all of them in 2 minutes. Ideally I could, but with the crooked table, the distracting teacher and the mooing kid it seemed like a long shot. What was needed was a flash of genius.
Needless to say that I knew the next 2 minutes would be less of drawing and more about my presence of mind. I carefully remembered the names of all the 4 cattle and imagined their color. Since they were all lined up together, I decided to write their name and color inside each animal. That would give madam the perfect idea of what I had imagined and could have accomplished had she not disturbed me. So on each of my cattle’s stomach I described it for her convenience.
- WHITE COU
- BLACK BULLL
- GREY BUFELLOW
- BLACK WHITE YUK (HIMLAYAN CATTLE)
While giving back the paper, I looked at madam and smiled. She also nodded. I felt like there was an unsaid understanding between us. She gave me hope that she will keep this understanding in mind when she checks my paper. Which is why when I got back home and Addy asked me how was the exam, I told him the truth. I drew much more than what others did. I also told him I am sure even madam feels the same.
The Open House Of Betrayal
As I stared at Addy’s face and his bewildered reaction I can say from sure, Madam and I are not on the same wavelength. A couple of times Addy turned towards me wanting to say something, but then he went back to looking at the drawing. Then for a moment he would look at the other parents and look back at the drawing and just gaze away.
This couldn’t go on forever. So I asked him if I had failed.He replied in one word, NO.
So I asked him did I do well. He replied in one word, NO.
I asked him if I would be put in an extra-curri-kular class. He replied in one word, NO.
Then I asked him, should we tell Ummy. He replied in one word, NO.
It was pointless talking to him so I quietly waited for him to make up his mind and take me home. After 30 minutes of pointless pondering both of us finally got home. As soon Addy opened door, Ummy yelled from the kitchen, “Did he do well? How was drawing exam? What grades did he get?”Addy instinctively replied, “He did good”, then he paused for a second and said, “He got a D in drawing” Ummy couldn’t hear the last part so she asked, “He got a B?”
Addy quickly replied, “Yes! I am getting late for work. I have to go.” Even before I could react to what was happening, Addy handed me the mark sheet and said, “Go show this to Ummy. I am leaving for work. All the best. I am sure this will not end well.” Saying this, my Superman flew away after selling me out for a ‘D’ grade!
Mangu's Note: For reasons of violence and excessive screaming the rest of the story can't be told. Needless to say the broom never got replaced, Changu did get an A+ in his drawing exam. And an important learning of "Never Trust Addy" has been noted and registered.
ART By MANGU.