Our Columnists, Zeena Singh
Dawning Marvels # 1
Perched high on our white wooden gate, I could spend the most amusingly enjoyable moments of findings, innumerable scenes of perfect pleasure and happenings from my panoramic view while the hours slipped by. One of my first discoveries, I realize, of a pass time which became a favourite, lasting quite a long while, beginning at six years.
I really couldn’t say that nothing would move, shake or rattle me out of my chosen post; often did instances have me scuttle for shelter, but never enough to make me relent.
Alongside my regular game of ‘I spy’, I have to say that from atop my world of sight-seeing leisure, I got a glimpse and a very early insight into an impressive example of what true discipline meant; such that made a dent of admiration in my little mind.
A little further up the hill from where we lived was an army base camp, very clearly visible from where I used to be positioned. There was an unmistakable awareness of their encampment in the vicinity by the daily morning and evening bugle calls which was by then a familiar tune for me to hum along and which I had even begun to like. By now for me, every little activity of drills and the like, even simple everyday chores became interesting enough to draw my full attention.
The sound of this bugle call one evening had me get full view of the tricolor flying at full mast. All at once all activity seemed to come to an instantaneous halt. Everyone had stopped on track standing ramrod straight, at their places, wherever they were, leaving whatever they were at, as the flag was now being slowly lowered bidding adieu to the day.
This particular sight left me in complete awe and amazement. I saw respect. The presentation of it was what I wanted to be a part of. So since then and till we moved, did they have me join in from wherever I was, emulating their display of reverence, giving all else second place at the first blow of the bugle.
Dawning Marvels # 2
After a busy week of monitored academic activities, our weekend would slow down. Now we had time to freely browse our own personal interests. Not that it found us short of things to keep our little energized selves engaged.
There was such an abundance of things to discover and learn from the plethora we already had in our companions from the world over. An assortment of stories to be told, new games to be taught and learned, palettes invigorated with new tastes to be tried and tested, after all, almost everyone had something from his or her land.
…and yet, perhaps the mind at some point in time, subconsciously sought for things off beat….
…Evidently mine did…
Come Saturday and some Sundays we’d always have a visit from an old Salt and Pepper haired man. A cap on his head, satchel across his shoulders and wooden box in hand, he’d plod down the long walk to his usual railed corner at the end of the verandah stretch outside the dining hall.
There he’d be almost the entire day with not so much as an exchange of words with anyone, doing what he knew best – mending shoes.
Watching him from afar, week after week, completely engrossed at his task got the better of my curious self.
I edged closer.
Never had I observed a cobbler at such close quarters in the entire 8-9 years of my life. What I saw had me intrigued…. a snip, a slice, chisel, clippers and awl at work; strings of waxed twine, deft ( calloused) hands and the quick in-and –out of the needle and thread. One by one, he repaired them to as good as new.
Nimbleness and dexterity were his God-given tools with which he sewed through the toughest leather. My off-beat find. What a wonder! What a marvel!