If there is one place that I would get back to, with a vengeance, it has to be the ART CLASS.
Make no mistake about it. Looking back, the pleasure I derived out of my Art Class was beyond compare.
Here is how it all began.
On the first day of my art class, I was given a huge white sheet of art paper, which, admittedly, I didn’t feel like spoiling by sketching on it ! Instead, I strongly felt that it would have been better put to use had it been issued to the students for wrapping up their books for safe upkeep. But there it was, spread in front of me, helplessly pinned down on the drawing board, waiting to be ravished and I never had even an iota of willingness to violate its purity.
However, I relented, and even I found myself slowly being lead into putting the graphite on the paper (blame it on the persistent herd mentality – everyone else is making sketches on the paper so you better catch up). For starters, I drew a horizontal line in the lower portion of the paper, leaving a third of the blank space below.
I recollect that the line that was drawn did not present a very pleasing sight, but it sure send a chill down my spine. Think about it. Here I was, a boy all of 12 years, slowly realizing with dawning horror that I was thinking exactly like an unwilling, perverted rapist ( Is there a category like that? Hmmm, need to check).
It was like “Oh dear God, I just raped this sheet of paper”. Psychologists reveal that people with such a bent of mind would eventually get habituated to it, if the initial barrier of resistance is overcome and would go ahead to enjoy the act of subjugating something or someone so helpless under one’s prowess. I just can’t help but agree, because, you see, I went on to draw the same same picture week after week, year after year in every art class, exams be damned.
The picture had two parallel lines across the sheet of paper, effectively dividing it in three equal parts – three distinct layers. Down below is the slot for the green meadow with a coconut tree bearing exactly six coconuts, three each hanging down symmetrically on both sides of the trunk. A mango tree was onto the left with blades of grass protruding out from the periphery of the layer. The Middle portion which is light blue is a water canal with the silhouette of a man pushing a boat in still waters, positioned right in the center, and above this partition was the place for the layer of Orange sky with a prominent Sun, like a damsel’s ‘bindi’ , peppered with flocks of birds (or maybe crows or whatever) onto left and right of the Sun.
Composing the same picture, every week, takes the fun out of the whole act, if you get my drift. So, you gradually move to experimentation. I started with the birds. Sometimes they flew towards west, sometimes to east, sometimes towards me and sometimes into the paper, sometimes they would hold their head down (probably out of shame) and sometimes they would keep their tail down as if they were being chased by a rocket from our friendly neighborhood space research station, the VSSC at Thumba.
Once when I was completely done, (i.e after being zipped up completely), I once flashed the picture across to Biju, who was a serious contender for the Art Trophy, and may I add, became finer at it with the passage of decades (I am being very serious here, even as I realize now that being serious has become such a rarity my life) for his approval. He flicks his head, and swiftly exclaimed “Oh. National Tricolor? How nice .”
That was also the first day when I swore to myself, that “from now on buster,there will be three fishes in the Canal’s crystal clear still waters, and God help anyone who lifts his pinky against it !”
Like I said, if there is one place that I would get back to, with a vengeance at School, it will always be the ART CLASS.
You see, it made me a unwilling, trained rapist.