Once upon a time there was a shy little girl whose only wish was to read, and to be left alone. It didn’t matter what she read as long as she could sit with the print letting her eyes feast on the beautiful white and black dots in front of her, mind racing to paint pretty scenes with a creation of words and imagination. She’d feed off every piece of paper that she could make sense of. Ones she didn’t understand she’d read anyway, they were words. That was beauty to her simple heart.
Her mother would send her on errands, to the local store to buy vegetables, daal, semiya, peanuts..and the girls’ eyes would light up with joy and a shiny special sparkle could be seen from miles away. She’d skip off to the store, and gaze at the shopkeeper as he’d bundle her purchase.
See, those days, the world was still the simple place, where supermarkets and fancy packages were unheard of. The days when newspaper was actually recycled, and not just recycled into pulp, but actually re-used. News of yesterday discarded to bins. Stacks of paper bundled with string waiting for the monthly paper guy to buy them back for a tiny profit. The bundles eventually made way to various little stores that dotted the streets. Small businessmen, bigger fry, the pakora stall guy, the pan shop fellow. All needed to wrap their merchandise with recycled newspaper.
The paper had done its job. Served its purpose to spread news around and then hold valuables together until final destination. It would then be torn apart by the lady of the house and crumpled and thrown away. The contents carefully preserved, the paper had done its job. Thrown into the trash, the newspaper sighs its end.
But, our shy little girl couldn’t let that happen. As she stood watching the shopkeeper weigh her purchase, her eyes would dart hastily to the pile of papers trying to recognize the alphabet.
She’d say a silent prayer within “o god, please let it be english, please let it be english, any paper but just let it be english”
Her eyes would follow the shopkeeper’s every move, his hands and his step, and the moment of triumph sweet as ever, when it was either The Hindu, The Hindustan Times, Economic Times. Sometimes she’d even be able to feed off the romances brewing in Stardust and Filmfare. That was a perk, a nice perk nevertheless but the essence was in the language. You see, she couldn’t read the local language. As her chances of landing a paper drew to a 50% probability, she decided it was time. Time for her to take matters into her own hands, and slowly but surely learnt the alphabets in the local language. Most definitely her choices grew tremendously.
Her most favorite part of growing up was to stand in front of the scooter her dad owned – a Vespa – on their weekly outings. Her dad was a nice husband and a good father. He liked giving his wife a break from the kitchen and so every weekend they’d eat out. So, a small family of four would hop onto the vespa and motor away into yummy foods and exciting atmospheres. The spot between the handlebars and letting her small behind rest on the edge of the seat, before her father was her space. She loved the breeze on her face, uninhibited view of the road and the best part of it all was that she didn’t have to ‘share’ the seat with her sister and mother behind. Voices floated 2 feet above her and she could live in her own little dreamy thoughts. Together yet alone. Perfect.
One day her eyes jolted up when letters jumped up at her from the sides.
Now running 100 days
Kumaran cut pieces
United India Colony
Morning Star Matriculation
Leher pepsi – aha
That was a long list and a wealth of reading right there. She could practice her newly acquired language skills, and also continue to get hit by words.
Within a short time, she had memorized most of the stores that were in her neighborhood and longed to bring some drama into her routine. Thats when it dawned on her that she could make little jingles with all the words right in front of her. Of course she worried as well if someone would hear her, but to her glee she remembered her physics lesson on sound waves. The waves traveled in straight lines, not curvy wavy ones like they showed in the movies! So she rolled her eyes and turned a snooty nose at the movies and the nonsense her young mind could understand and kept singing. Her voice was stretching out in front of her, not above to her daddy’s ears. Bliss.
Reading, singing her own music and left alone. Heavens were just an inch away.
This was her precious secret. Yarning stories with billboards, store names and make unique little jingles that only she’d come up with. Guarding this secret was a perverse happiness. That she was not just another dark shy plain-looking kid with two long braids no one cared about, and that she was capable of creation, of art, of a masterpiece that she was positive no one in the world could ever dream of.
Until about a couple of decades later when she decided she’d switch on this movie that her husband brought home. Not a huge fan of the movies originally she changed herself a teeny bit to make herself compatible as a couple. She was a good girl, and she listened to her mother though she never really agreed. She had originally enjoyed some sensible movies, where logic, beauty and raw life was shown in a way that made her want to cry with the poverty and sadness, or laugh at the most commonplace of acting, simply because it was like it had happened with her, to her.
Over the years, she decided that with enough drama in her life anyway, movies were meant to entertain. Her brain was fried thinking, planning, scheduling and working kinks out in her life, she didnt need to pay to think. So she settled for the run-of-the-mill ones. Where she could essentially box the mind out into the attic, laugh at the antics and meaningless love stories and when ‘The End’ flashed on the screen, she could go back to thinking, planning, scheduling and working kinks out in her life. She convinced herself “Now maybe my husband would love me more!”
So she slipped the dvd in and settled for a young movie. The reviews claimed that it would appeal to the youth. Thinking that at least she could revisit some of her memories she didn’t realize what would hit her until she came across this song.
Disbelief turned to anger to frustration and defeat. It was her song. Her idea. Her secret. She wasn’t unique after all.
As she watches it for the umpteenth time, her eyes light up and a smile spreads across her lips. That was her song. She was sharing it with the world. Sharing is good, she was told since she was a child. ..and so she shares.
The language is telugu, but you get the drift.
At the end of it, the idea was sorely missed!