Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Book

It had been a tiresome day for me. I returned home with my head fuzzy in the effort of remembering long-forgotten formulas. It had been an experiment which had drained me of my patience, challenged my intellect and ultimately tested my practical skills. Somehow, my observations felt wrong, my calculations steadily grew to maniac proportions. I couldn’t help feeling cheated. Those awful numbers had tricked me again, and it would be painful to search for mistakes. I was naturally a bit frustrated at the end of the day. I came home and tried to snuggle myself into a blissful sleep. I waited, but sleep did not come….the memory of the disaster of an experiment was like this constant irritant to my brain…a strand of thought continued to stretch endlessly. I sighed and tried to forget.

You know how your ears grow even more sensitive when you are unable to sleep? Every little tick of the clock, those small insignificant murmurs in the distance suddenly seems to enter your audible range, don’t they? Your senses are sharper, keener and quicker when you are in that phase. As I tossed and turned, my earns picked up laughter. My mother was speaking to Grandpa on Skype, and it looked like he was chuckling at the other end too. Must be one of those standard jokes they crack once in a while, I thought, and dismissed it.
“Lakshmi, are you still awake?” I heard her call.
“Yes,”
“Come talk to your grandfather. He has something to tell you.”

Amused, I shuffled out the room to see what the big news was. I learnt that grandpa had discovered a book I had written when I was nearly seven years old. It was an old classwork book with stories and incidents scribbled in with pencil in an unsteady hand. Some of them were figments of my childish imagination; others were vivid memories, all full of misspelled words. I saw a struggling writer within my seven year old self, someone who was prying at those words which are just beyond her grasp…someone who tried to communicate with poorly constructed sentences, hanging phrases, and incomplete passages. But that is not what attracted my attention; it was the incidents I had talked about. I had talked about rescuing a “baby mynah” from a nearby tree, about wriggling into a gutter to retrieve a pencil-top, about my grandfather’s home which I had considered an “animal home.” I had talked about how monkeys often came in to grab bananas from the kitchen, about the unfair death of a kitten, about the fun times with my friends. The stories that I had authored were worthless, but they had those wonderful “happily ever after,” endings. I laughed a lot that day. I laughed remembering all I was, all I have been and all I am right now. It was downright amusing-- remembering how such little things were so important to me back then. They seemed to have been important enough for me to write them down with so much of an effort. I had wanted to preserve them, as proof that I could think, perhaps. I also felt a very complex feeling tugging at my heart as I remembered those days. How my priorities had changed over time!! Now, all I thought about was completing my homework on time, retaining that perfect GPA, and expanding my social circle. That little book had been a remainder from the past, intruding into my present life to help me see clearly--to help me re-examine myself. I wondered why those little things were so insignificant to me now…I thought about how I had changed. I remembered how free my mind was then, always inquisitive, always ready to imagine. There had been an unwavering optimism towards everything that was my life, and a graceful acceptance of everything that my childhood had offered me. Revisiting those times, I could not remember a single incident which had been full of pain. I saw colour and freshness in every single memory; I saw happiness which was so apparent in my childhood. I also realized that today’s world looked splendid too. I stared out of the window, and felt blessed when I saw those clouds hanging about lazily in the sky. I let my mind relax, and altered my priorities. What my little book had taught me was a lesson to remember. Finding pleasure in the smallest things was important. As I attacked those calculations again, I remembered how my hydrated magnesium sulphate had so closely resembled Mentos Mouth Freshener, of how my sample of unknown chemical had crackled like something yummy being cooked on a stove, and how my carelessly recorded data actually had many smiley faces hidden in between those scary numbers….and I found myself laughing again, until my stomach ached from the effort.You see, learning to love life is a simple thing...its just a matter of searching your memory for happiness, and happiness will be yours!
Do keep smiling!

(PS: To read blog posts from my grandfather, please go here)

15 comments:

Indrani said...

You have had such a happy childhood, may your coming years be equally happy too!

RAJI MUTHUKRISHNAN said...

Lovely one. God bless you and keep you happy.

Sneha said...

Yes, sometimes in life, the little things matter so much! I am glad you felt better after hearing about your book :D How's the US!Hope you're fine Lakshmi!

Lakshmi Bharadwaj said...

Indrani and Raji: Thanks a lot for your wishes.
Sneha: Agreed! Im doing fine, just caught up with stuff, esp chemistry! :-) Trying to stay afloat...meanwhile, how r u doing?? How is studies going?

karthrags said...

Hi Lakshmi,

Stumbled across your blog while reading random stuff online. Very nice blog! I guess you usually hear this - I was quite (pleasantly) surprised to note that you'd started blogging so early :) . I've not yet read many of your articles, but certainly will! Like your writing :) And I wish I post as frequently as you seem to be posting :D

karthrags said...

Hey, and your blog title might sound nicely alliterative, but its no longer appropriate I guess. Amateur? I don't think so :)

Lakshmi Bharadwaj said...

Karthrags: welcome to my blog!! And gosh, thanks for the comment! Well, would be interested in reading your blogs too, although it says your profle is unaviable. I'm sure you would make a great blogger too...do keep popping in!

karthrags said...

Hey :)

my blog is http://karthrags.wordpress.com. I don't have a Blogger profile..

Sure, I'll be popping in. I'm currently going through your archive and reading at random :)

karthrags said...

Hey :)

my blog is http://karthrags.wordpress.com. I don't have a Blogger profile..

Sure, I'll be popping in. I'm currently going through your archive and reading at random :)

Suchitra said...

Hi Lakshmi,
Really a nice one ! The world seems so much more simpler and beautiful when viewed from the eyes of a child :)

Maddy said...

What I like about you is the different perspective you put to certain things.And I guess that is surely what almost all others like. So like I told you many months ago, keep on at it. I hope you write for your college publications as well..

Lakshmi Bharadwaj said...

Maddy: thanks fr the comment! :-) It has been the "unusual perspective" which has made me someone difficult to understand!! At least,that's what my frds say!

Praveen G K said...

Lakshmi,

Coooool post!!! I remember one of my biggest childhood worries was "What would happen if I grew indefinitely? What will happen if I touch the skies?" :-)

Lakshmi Bharadwaj said...

GK: Oh wow, you actually thought that? :-) Don't we all have such kind of childhood worries? I worried I would grow bald one day! :D It's a fear which is still there...hehe, don;t know why! Some childhood memories are fascinating...maybe I should write a post on that, huh?

Lakshmi Bharadwaj said...

Suchitra ma'm: True, isn't it? That was the point I was trying to drive home...:-) Life is really wonderful through a child's eyes..especially on those boring, mundane monday mornings--I guess looking at the world lik a child on those days helps a lot, doesnt it?