I love to sketch. I didn’t always know that I could draw. In 4th standard, our art teacher saw a sketch I made of a peacock and told me that I should make it better. I remember feeling good and intimidated at the same time because she was angry that I was not making good progress. From then on I religiously maintained a sketchbook which was our homework. So when I turned up with lots of sketches every week, and nobody else in the class did, I was easily hated. I understand. Its ok. Its school. I may not have been an angel either.
I continued sketching. Once when my parents were doing something related to cooking in the kitchen, I drew, what I call as one of the best sketches I have ever made. I was 14 then. I was so proud. It was so hard but I did it. Then I took my sketchbook to the kitchen and showed it to my parents. My dad liked it. My mom responded in approximately the following fashion, “Why are you wasting your time? Why don’t you study instead so that you can get higher marks? Don’t waste your time.” She was actually annoyed, if not angry.
I was in 7th standard, I had only twice not been among the top 3 students of the class. I didn’t have friends because I was always studying, ALWAYS.
Even today when I think about that day, the very core of my…..soul..bleeds.
When someone makes something from scratch and shows it to you, especially something creative, he actually bares a part of his soul in front of you. My parents have given me everything I have, or else made me capable of getting what I have today: food, shelter, great education and above all security, so that we could have things which perhaps they never had. Their sacrifices and their dedication towards us two kids is truly monumental. I also understand that she must have come from a good place on that day. I should be grateful but honestly I still want an apology from her.
Its not very often that we hear people wanting apologies from their parents, especially in India where parents are revered as gods, or so I have been made to believe. I revere my parents as well. At the same time I know my parents are human beings and they make mistakes like everyone else. I want my parents to apologize not because my ego was hurt that day but because that day my mother discouraged me from being me.
Now that I approach the age where I may have to chose motherhood or not, I put myself in her shoes and ask myself, what would have I done?
What would anyone else do?
I would be a bit happy, smile a bit and then tell my child that they had worked hard. Now maybe he/she should think about other homework. I simply can’t be angry at being included in his/her journey of finding out what all he/she can do. If anyone has a child, please don’t be angry if he/she draws (yes, even if its on the walls). I request you. Please talk to them, and see what they have made. See it not just look at it. See what they are trying to tell you. Who knows that your encouragement stays with them when they are 29 and on looking back, makes them smile as well.