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Pens, Pencils & Little Joys

By Vishu Bansal
It was a cold afternoon in the dusk of 90s, may be 1999. I had dutifully secured the extra sheets to the main answer book with the thread and was waiting for the final bell. As the teacher shouted “Last 1 minute” I picked up the pencil shreds and tried to see if they could be put together to make some decoration. I always related the shredded pencil’s design to snow-flakes, and joyously discovered one long unbroken red and black string of Natraj’s outer skin. Though the inaesthetic callous me could never bring a single piece of craft out of it, yet the wannabe creative genius made sure that I diligently packed it all in my pencil case.
The bell rang, sheets were collected and I got up. Carrying the board and pencil box under my arms, I walked outside the class to collect my bag. She stood there, having come out from her class, smiling and her eyes twinkling with excitement as her mouth opened to say something.
“Hor pencil di lod ni”  (There is no need of pencil anymore)
“Kyon?”  (Why?)
“Fifth class to pen use karde ne.”   (From fifth standard onwards, pen is used)
“Sachhi?”  (Really?)
“Haan. Aappan vadde ho gaye ne.”  (Yes. We have grown up now.)
“Haan. Pen taan vadde use karde ne.” (Yeah. Pens are used only by grown-ups)
“Hor ki. Hun aappan vi karaange.”  (You know right! We will use it too now.)

And we did our little dance of joy. Of having grown up. Of having passed another milestone in turning big. We strode down and joined others on the way to our school buses. Fourth standard had come to a very fair merry end, and soon we were going to use pens. In that spring, apart from buying the new text-books, note-books, brown covers and stickers, I did some new shopping; shiny bright pens. I bought two Foutain pen and a pretty pot of Chelpark Royal Blue Ink. I asked my mother to get a Gel pen too since everyone in class was buying them but she insisted that I should start with a “proper” pen so that my writing shapes up well. And when I walked inside the V-C class that March, I had ushered into a new state of grown-upness.

And over the years I ushered into many more. One by one, I crossed many bars which grown-ups had sanctimoniously reserved for themselves. And today, as I see the wedding pictures of that girl who once told me that pens are not required anymore, I am filled with immense happiness for her, along with the numbing echo of her words from 12 years back, “Aappan Vadde ho gaye ne”. Really we have.

Nothing will get my pencil shreds back; the many that I collected hoping to make some designs out of them. They withered, along with a time when the pride and satisfaction which came by graduating from a pen to a pencil, can’t be brought about today by the finest of appraisals and best of Entrance test percentiles.
Good bye Pencil.


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Let The Good Times Roll Magazine is an online youth magazine
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