Tag Archives: drawing

Of Childhood and Notebooks

I remember a time, back when I was barely twelve, and we lived in a small house with breaking mosaic patterned tiles, Mom never bought us those ruled notebooks. Instead, she’d buy us sheets of plain, white paper and stitch them up to make it look like a notebook.

I was always fascinated with those hardbound or paperback notebooks, though, for they had pictures of superheroes and superstars and unicorns on them. But Mom never bought us those. All I had were sheets of bright, crisp paper divided into two halves, with a taut white string holding the pages together.

With time, I learnt to make it look better. I’d paste little stickers on it or cut out pictures from magazines and old newspapers and decorate the front page with them. But no matter how much I tried, the cover page of my notebook was never as glossy or gorgeous as the ones they sold in shops. But I never gave up. I started sketching and drawing on the front page to make it look the way I wanted it to be. Often, somebody in school would stop by, steal a glance at my weird, little notebook and ask me if I had designed it. A part of me would be scared to answer because there’d always be this lingering fear in my mind whether it’d be laughed upon or appreciated. My friends would compliment me and shove their notebooks into my hand and ask me to design one for them.

Over the years, plain notebooks without factory-made cover pages didn’t bother me anymore.

Even when I had a chance to buy myself those notebooks I had once envied, it didn’t feel that great as it was supposed to. Rather, the notebooks felt too ordinary when I pulled them out from my bag and saw the rest of the class of forty students pull out the same kind of notebook too. That is when I realized how beautiful those barren, plain notebooks that Mom brought for us, were. My designs on it were unique. Yes, there was no cellophane covering on it, so whenever it rained, I had to go back home, tear away the cover page and make another one, but it was all worth. For they stood out. Stood out from the rest.

Over the years, many other things changed too. Mom stopped buying us those sheets of paper and instead bought us those hardbound, ruled notebooks. I didn’t draw on them. They looked too perfect already. The cover pages were waterproof. So I didn’t have to bother when it rained. In fact, I never bothered at all. I let them lie on the study table, collecting dust. The other notebooks carried a piece of me in them. I’d keep them locked up in cupboards like they were some hidden treasure. And my heart would swell in pride every time somebody would praise them.

I don’t know why I suddenly remembered about them. The thought arrived like a little flash of memory, bringing along with, a fountain of nostalgia.

Years have gone by. I’ve moved on from those “weird”, little notebooks to factory-made, custom designed notebooks to spiral bound ones and more. But I haven’t moved on from those memories. Be it the awkward squirming on seeing a friend pull out a proper notebook to waiting for the class to look at the teacher so that I could pull out my notebook without becoming a laughing stock to garnering appreciation for the same doodles, it’s been a crazy little ride.

A part of me wants to go back in time and find my treasure cove. I want to call Mom up and ask her if they sell those loose sheets of paper anymore. But I know the answer, they don’t. Just like me, they’ve moved on to better technology and better ways. Mom probably wouldn’t make me those notebooks if I asked her to. She is too busy. Yet, a part of me wants that and only that.

It makes me wonder of how we remember so much about the things we shouldn’t have bothered to remember. Perhaps, it is because though the moment had seemed very insignificant once upon a time, it made us into the person we are today. The miles we’ve come; the miles we’ve yet to conquer, we owe it to these tiny, beautiful memories.

Of Sad, Little Tales Of Sorrow

She stared at the picture for long. Her eyes narrowed as she took in the curves and lines and strokes. Her head tilted from the right to the other, taking in the picture from every angle. Yet, something was amiss.

In front of her eyes stood a work from fifteen years of experience. Around her, in rows that ran to infinity, hung every picture that she had taken over the years. They sang tall tales of glory and of raw beauty. Anyone who had stepped into the cozy little, dark and damp room had never failed to remark how peaceful the place felt like. They told it felt like falling down a black hole filled with wonders.

Colours – bright and dark; people – so innocent and beautiful – the sheets of paper felt like a wonderland of memories. The people trapped in the pictures, spoke for themselves.

Each night, she would sit in the broken, wooden chair and under the light of the red fluorescent bulb, she’d watch her pictures come alive.

Yet, today, she frowned.

It was a bad picture.

Her brows furrowed and she paced.

Beside the tall camera that rested upon the mahogany table, there lay a crumpled paper. Amidst a forest of majestic trees, stood a lonely girl. Her cheeks were sunken. Her eyes were grey. In between her thin lips, slept the lazy butt of a lit cigarette. Perhaps it was the smoke or the haze, but her hair lacked colour. The mascara was smeared. The sick, old, brown hat with its tattered ends clung helplessly to her hair.

Amidst a swirl of vibrant colours, she stood – without a trace of red or blue or gold. It seemed as if the artist had left the painting there. It was incomplete, indeed.

She walked to the far end of the room, ducking several rows of drying photographs and stood in front of the mirror. Her hand shot up and traced against the curves of her cheek. They moved down the bulge of her lips. And she gasped in horror.

Turning around, she didn’t bother to duck this time. With every step, she ripped every photo from its place. Carefully, with hesitant steps, she walked to the table and lifted the paper up. In horror, she cried.

Looking around, she saw those million beautiful pictures and then stared at the ugly one she held in her hand. It was not the fault of the sun who cast an unnecessary glare; neither was it the fault of the specks of dust at the corners of the lens. Now she knew why. She was the ugly one. She was the one who made the picture look rather incomplete. Because though she captured justifying beauty through her lens, deep inside her, she was nothing, but a void.

And like the million times before, with the picture clutched firmly in her hand, she walked to the very corner where rested a little tank of water.

And laughing and cheering in merry, she shoved the photograph into it.

As the colours faded away and mingled with the clear water, under the faint red light of the room, she saw her reflection down under.

Hers was never a beautiful picture.