Treasures to pocket

I am going down the elevator. The lift stops two floors below mine. A small boy of about four gets in. I say Hi! He says Hi! too. He seems preoccupied with a small pocket on his T-shirt.

He repeatedly looks inside it, and taps the pocket. I ask him what he has inside. He tells me that he has three ‘treasures’!

I smile, and ask him more about his ‘treasures’. He asks me to wait, and slowly pulls out the said ‘treasures’.

First comes a beautiful, grey pebble that is perfectly round. He tells me that he found it near the beach. He then pulls out a small bit of paper, on which are drawn shapes in different colours; a game he made, he adds, by way of an explanation. The last treasure is a small paper aeroplane, made by his grandfather, who’s visiting.

His eyes shine, as he carefully puts the three precious items back into the safe recesses of his pocket.

Soon, the lift reaches the ground floor, and he dashes out to play.

I remember how eagerly my classmates and I waited to go into Grade 6 in school; because that’s when we got to move from sweaters without pockets, to blazers that had four pockets on the outside, and one pocket inside.

There was so much excitement when we switched to blazers. We had our own ‘treasures’ then, ranging from candy, to lists of crazy games, secret code language sheets, chip-chops, message chits we wrote to our friends in class, and so many other exciting things, which formed an integral part of our childhood.

Courtesy – Wikipedia

We also carried ink-pens in the inside pocket, those ones where we had to fill ink from an ink-pot. It was a kind of ritual every night, where my siblings and I would fill ink in our pens. Our dad checked if the nibs of the pens were ok.

All it took was a hard fall for the pens to develop hairline cracks, which would then cause the ink to leak. We got rude shocks sometimes, when we opened the lid to write, only to realize that we had lots of ink on our fingers.

We also had nice fluffy pink blotting paper that would absorb any ink stain in a jiffy. Sometimes, we would look at the shapes formed by the ink stains and try and liken them to animals or everyday things!

We felt important with our blazers and these ink pens; we had secret treasures in our pockets, we had lovely candies tucked away…!

All these memories came rushing back, when I saw the little boy and his precious treasures!


A pair of black ribbons

Like most of my friends, who lived in our small town in the hills, I studied from kindergarten to higher secondary in the same school. 14 years in the same school and then straight to university.

I used to love our school uniform. The school required girls to have their hair done up in two braids, with black ribbons to keep the braids in place.

At the beginning of each school year my mom would buy us each a pair of black ribbons, nice shiny ones. It was an unspoken rule that we had to keep these ribbons carefully, so that they would last the year.

Courtesy –
Sigh! That never happened, however much we tried. There was a constant battle with my siblings if any ribbon went missing.

Necessity being the mother of invention and all, if we lost a ribbon, we would cut the other ribbon in half. This helped for a while. The halves then became quarters sometimes, and when we reached the ‘quarter-size’ ribbon, we would cut the ribbon horizontally. We were innovators, the best ribbon innovators ever.

Our mom would watch us snip and cut, but would not say a word. We were expected to take care of our things and make them last.

However, when our ribbons completely vanished or when they shrunk to the size of threads, my mom would give us a brand new pair of ribbons. We never knew where she kept her stock. All that we knew was that my mom had a box secreted away in the kitchen, which had a supply of safety pins, hair pins, shiny black ribbons and rubber bands.

We took the new pairs with relief. We placed a lot of value on our possessions. Nothing was taken for granted, and we were taught to appreciate what we had. 

We learnt many valuable lessons, in addition to being superlative ribbon innovators!