Thursday, October 05, 2006

I sharpened a pencil.

I started sketching again, true to the promise I had made to myself a few days back. It feels good - the feel of the rough drawing paper, the scratchety-scratch of the pencils on the paper, and the resulting picture - not a work of art, but good enough.

Apart from the many pleasant hours spent in rediscovering this hobby, sketching brought me another unexpected bonus.

One of my pencils needed sharpening, and so I took out my brand new sharpener, and set about sharpening the pencil. A few turns, and the sight of the pencil shavings and lead powder on the sharpener - it was enough to transport me straight back in time to my school days.

I was again a little girl, dressed in the school uniform - a brown pinafore, that unique brown which has no name, and the light brown checked shirt. Black shoes and white socks. Two little hairclips trying unsuccessfully to hold back my thick unruly hair. Sharpening my pencil urgently before the teacher came in, as I had forgotten to sharpen them the previous night. Quickly dumping the pencil shavings in a corner of the drawer, for disposal after class. The drawer, underneath the brown desk - the drawer where I kept my pencilbox.

Pencilboxes. The red Hello Kitty pencilbox which my father had brought from one of his official tours abroad. A prized possession. Then later, a green Mickey Mouse pencil box, which a much admired teacher had presented to a select few of us, for doing well in class. Before that, the magnetic pencilbox - the magnet of which I ruined by dropping the box too many times.

I remembered my bench-mate. Glancing surreptitiously to see if her pencils were sharper than mine. If her book was neater than mine. Drawing a line on the bench to mark boundaries to separate out places, when I was made to sit next to a particularly disliked person.

I remembered my bag, a green, roomy one with pouches where I kept little treasures - a perfumed eraser which couldn't be used because it left black marks on the paper, a little paper with a drawing, a dry leaf - and then the main space in the bag - where the books were neatly arranged, in height order, or in the order of the classes of the day, depending on what order was in vogue in class that week.

I even remembered my lunch bag. An orange bag with a steel triple-decker tiffin box. One box containing chapatis, another containing a delicious kind of curry (each day a different one - my mom is a wizard at that), and the third box containing curds spiced with salt and jeera powder, or chopped bananas in milk and sugar. A prized Milton water bottle that I had won in a Milton "suggest a name" contest. A napkin neatly folded and placed at one side.

I remembered the lunch breaks, where only my best friends got to taste the scrumptious Shruthi's-mother's-curry-of-the-day. Eating up lunch and running out to play for a while before the bell rang. Popping in quickly into my sister's classroom to act the big sister and see if my little sister P was being good and was eating her food, and was not distributing it among everybody, as she so frequently seemed to do.

I remembered my teachers, my classmates, the classes, the notebooks, the text books, the maps on the walls of the classroom, the posters we had made displayed prominently on the boards, the list of homework in our homework diary.

I remembered all this - and much more. Just because I sharpened a pencil.


anoop said...

very well written shruthi.
I can't help but mention a few things about my own school life. One thing that comes to the top of my mind was the huge crush I had on the girl sitting next to me in 7th standard. yes, as boys were too talkative and a great nuisance, we were separated by making girls sitting between two guys. it is just so silly if i think of it right now. oh, and i was doing the same thing with my pencils in school days, sharpening them just before the teacher came in. when we were allowed to write in pens. i.e. in higher primary, i seemed to prefer an ink pen, unlike my friends. as i believed that they are good for a nice handwriting. Anyway, i just loved the process of filling up ink every day, even if it meant my hands were a mess of ink after using the leaky ink pen. Will stop here, for the fear of my comment itself becoming longer than your post.

bellur said...

lovely post shruthi. this post brought back nostalgic memories about my school days. i don't remember sharpening my pencils, coz, i always used to take one from my neighbour, who would be ever willing to give as he had a box full of them (in various colours). but i always preferred the red and black striped NATARAJ HP!

by the way, you have been tagged. for details, please visit my blog.

Inder said...

// Drawing a line on the bench to mark boundaries to separate out places
// a perfumed eraser which couldn't be used because it left black marks on the paper
// a dry leaf

they were the golden days :)

Anu said...

Wow! Such lovely memories. Didn't you also take an unputdownable half read story book to read between classes, when you hadn't forgotten to sharpen the pencils or complete the home work the previous night? I did!

Shiv said...

Hey Shruthi,
I still remember the white bag with a red border u had with a picture of mickey mouse on it!!

Also I remember you distributing Cadbury eclairs on ur birthday in class 2 (flashback to 1984!!). I remember this as we had been to cubbon park as part of the annual picnic, just the 10 of us along with teachers! Remember something......???

PRIDERA said...

Nice post ! I remember the Hello Kitty pencil box ... I had a similar ones too (my uncle gifted him upon return from his trip abroad) it was one of my post precious possession. I used it only during the exams and took great care of it ! It is intact even now

shark said...

Ah the bliss of school life!

Shruthi said...

Anoop, ha ha!! I remember some such "punishment" in our school too, sometimes. They of course stopped when they realized that the students were actually enjoying the punishment ;)
Ah ink pens! That deserves a post of its own!!

Bellur, why am I not surprised that you used to borrow pencils? Heh heh ;)
Natraj, and Pinky pencils - Pinky was more attractive, but the lead would break all the time!

Inder, Ahhh yes!

Anu, Noooo! I had no unfinished books lying around ever ;)

Shiv, gosh!! I don't remember that bag myself! But I do remember the Cubbon park trip ;) I also remember that I was angry with you because you were given the best handwriting prize, and not me, because though my handwriting was more "calligraphic", your book was neater. I was so upset with you ;)

Pridera, such simple pleasures! You still have it?? Wow!

Shark, you can say that again! :)

GuNs said...

First : I am amazed at your memory. Not that I have forgotten all those things but I dont remember all those things in as much detail as you do.

Second : Please post scans/digital photos of your sketches. We all would love to see your art.


Anonymous said...

nice blog ...
brought back the memories of ........

my exams which are due today 2:00 pm.


Viky said...

Could you not have sharpened your pencil earlier?

Anonymous said...

will U teach me kenaada

Shruthi said...

Guns, really, all the memories are right there, hidden away - you just need some dusting, or a trigger!
Thanks for the interest in my sketches! If I do make a sketch which I think is worth sharing with you all, I will! ;)

Akshay, Oh you poor guy... then what are you doing reading my blog, huh? ;) All the best!

Viky, because, Mr Smart Alec, the pencils came already sharpened, in the pack. I needed to sharpen them after drawing for a little while.

Anon, First of all, it is Kannada! And for starters, you can go here

Jyothi said...

I so remember p's box "and the third box containing curds spiced with salt and jeera powder, or chopped bananas in milk and sugar" i ate most of it :)

Shiv said...

For your further information, I still have the book with me which was given as a prize for my neat handwriting! I really dont remember how good I wrote??
I hope you are not still upset abt it!!! ;)

Maverick said...

I took me to my childhood too, my aristrocat bag which my dad had bought n which i preserved to use in the higher classes, my pencil box a two layered dennis the menace one,and my bench mates- they changed every year and usually my bench mate would be my bestest friend for tht year :-), only tht i used to go home for the lunch, so i never carried a lunch box.

Sachin said...

Hi there, must say I have been missing out a lot...feeling so out of sorts, have hardly been able to get on here....hope things improve in the future...must say you are writing as well as ever...

Viky said...

Oh!! Do they come sharpened now? When I last bought a pencil, either Nataraj or Apsara, they were unsharpened. I used to love turning it round and round until it evoked an ouch when I pressed the tip on the forearm of the person next to me.

Much much earlier, I used to store the shavings, because someone had told me if I soak them in milk and keep them under the eucalyptus trees for seven days, it would become an eraser. :P

Yeah, laugh away at my naivete. I'm on the floor too....

Bhargav said...

Except for the homework diary part, I can relate to everything else. By the way, let me know who was it you were sharing boundaries with?
Sometime in primary, there was this other junior who had a similar bag as mine. In the morning, people who just made it to the prayers were allowed to join after placing the bags on the corridor. Once after the prayers, this junior and I had our bags mixed up by mistake.
Yeah, those little brown desks and that wide black board in front of them, running from one corner of the wall to another. We had the right corner of the board allotted for drawings and adages by members of the four groups.
Also, we had that notice board on which the group charts were pinned and had all the positive and negative points, against the group members, in blue and red colors respectively . The final awards were based on these points...pretty funny when I come to think about it now.
We had our so called lab equipments in the right hand corner at the back of the room. Some were bought by the school, while others were donated by teachers and parents.
Sometime during midday, we all used to stand up for shastri tatha, who would come and visit each class and everyday ask the same question, 'which class is this?"
There was this time when we protested against cutting off that bread fruit tree, remember? Our's very own Chipko movement!
Enacting those little skits for school day by students from each group was fun too. Aha, that annual event of preparing for exhibition: starting with cleaning the windows, the floor, arranging the desks, decorating the class and finally building the model villages.
Once we had this one crazy cooking day when we prepared kosambri and rasayana. If I remember, your group had made a really spicy kosambri, which you hesitantly acknowledge when asked by Geetha miss!!
Our sports day constituted lemon and spoon, sack race, needle and thread, getting ready to school and of course running race. We had craft exam too, where we had to sew buttons onto a piece of cloth. Painful stuff for me though.
Yeah, playing games just after lunch before the bell, that was awesome!! I used to purposely fall just before being caught during running and catching. It was a trick play mastered very well.
All this was fun and really enjoyable. Well, all the fun died once things started getting professional when we reached 7th standard!
These are what that came to my mind when I read your post. Thank you!!

Shruthi said...

Jyothi, heh heh.. that's what I mean ;)

Shiv, yeah.... I have all the books I got as prizes too! That was a wonderful concept wasn't it - giving books as prizes? It stopped after 3rd or 4th std, though :(
Nooo I am not yet upset with you.. but I do remember that disappointment pretty well ;)

Maverick, the two layered pencilboxes were so highly desired! wow! :)

Sachin, hey, what's up, everything alright?

Viky, oh my goddddd that is soo cute!! Kisine tujhe properly maamu banaya! :)) What a wonderful concept - and you actually tried it out too??? :))) ROFL!!!
I don't know about the regular pencils, but these drawing pencils definitely came in "ouch" shape!

Bhargav, that was such a lovely trip back to school life.. you have me laughing now! Thank you so much! I remember everything you talked about! :)) And believe it or not, I remember you falling whenever you were within catching distance - and I guess most of us were on to your trick. heh heh :))
Remember - I was made to sit next to you coz I was silent and you were talkative, and you ended up making me talk too, so Sudha miss said, "Bhargav can make a rock talk" :)))

Viky said...

You were silent?? Really?

Viky said...

What? Are you proving it to me? That you CAN be silent?

What should I do? Get Bhargav to put another comment so you can start talking again?

Shruthi said...

Viky, heh heh... I was "supposed" to be a very silent and goody-goody kid ;) [when people were looking] I am still kind of silent, believe it or not - but goody-goody?? Naaah ;)

Vidya said...

I was Shruti's junior in school, and can vouch for her silent nature! That and a very pleasant personality! :)
I remember the swing,slide,merry-go-round in the very old building of MESKK, the one in 1885,and a tree with branches conveniently low enough for us to climb on..

Viky said...

Oh, Shru, You didn't have to do all that - bullying juniors into putting comments, vouching for your silence. You think I'll buy that? ;)

I have half a mind telling me it is you only, putting an anonymous comment in your own defence. :D Oh!! What a shocker of an idea. why didn't it strike me before. I'll now go scrutinise all the anonymous comments in your defence, in all your posts - like John Nash, I may even identify a pattern.

Vidya, no offences. Just some leg-pulling going on !!! :D

Shruthi said...

Vidya, thank you so much ;) Pleasing personality? Oh well, if you say so ;) ;)
Was that building really built in 1885? I don't have any recollection of it!!

Viky, Ha ha and all that ;)

Shruthi said...

And by the way, Viky, I thought you should have a Beautiful Mind to find patterns? ;)

Viky said...

Oh, dont you worry about that, missy, this mind IS capable of all that... ;)

Vinod R Iyer said...

Nice post shruti. But aren't you getting a bit carried away with the past? I enjoy your blogs.Especially the contemperory ones. But I do find too much of nostomania in your blogs. Just a positive comment this one.
Keep up the good work!

Shruthi said...

Viky, I have no choice but to believe you ;)

Vinod, out of 117 posts on my blog, just 5 or 6 are nostalgic ones ;) And that is nostomania?! And seriously, I would love to write more of those - there is a lovely feeling in nostalgia! And my feet are firmly rooted to the ground - I don't get carried away by anything.
And after all, it is my blog, isn't it - I write what I want to write! ;)
Glad you like my posts - thank you :)

Viky said...

Heh heh heh!!!

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