Let the lesson be…

I am one of those people who extracts  lessons/morals/philosophy from all of life’s experiences. And as is the case with all of us the more negative experiences etch a deeper lesson in our memory than the pleasant ones, because as someone very aptly quoted “experience is the name we give to our mistakes”.

For people like me however, this whole notion of summarizing our mistakes and slotting them into neat boxes of labelled philosophy serves another ‘higher’ purpose – that of making some sense of life and its complex workings. But no matter how many algorithms we were to come up with to explain the cause and effect relationship functioning in world of our little lives, there will never be a formula that could capture the bizarre lessons that life feels like throwing at us all the time. And frankly, some days after I have exhausted all the rationale for why things were the way they were, I really wish that the lessons would stop at some point of time.

The point of the jargon above is that, today is just that kind of a day, where I have run out of explanations for why somethings panned out the way they did, and I am going back to this story from my own life, almost a million years ago. Though it is from a time that I wasn’t even me, yet it comes back to me strangely every time I can’t make sense of things in the present.

Back in 5th or 6th standard as part of an arts and crafts assignment in school, I threw myself for several weeks (with some help from my parents) into creating a beautiful toy swing made out of scrap. After weeks of labor, innovations and improvisations on design I presented the final product to my subject teacher. She absolutely loved my idea and raved about it to the whole class (a dream come true for every kid that age). Also, she chose the project as a model to be replicated by all the other students for an upcoming all-school arts & crafts exhibit. For several weeks, I was thrilled about my model being at the center of the display with all the replicas around vying for attention. On the D-Day I dressed up in my best clothes, convinced both my parents to come with me to the school exhibit to see for themselves my labor of love under the spotlight, only it wasn’t there. Every single piece made by the other 25-plus students from my class was displayed but the original made by me. It was either lost, misplaced or sabotaged. I came back, too embarrassed to interrogate my teacher or explain to my parents what would have happened.

It is a silly, insignificant story to remember from a very eventful life, but we have no control over what stays with us embedded in our hearts. This one always keeps coming back for some inexplicable reason, possibly because I could’t really sieve the lesson I was to take away from this as the confused 11-year old. Almost two decades later, I still go back to the feeling of that 11 year old, standing in that display gallery, still looking frantically for her 5-minutes of fame under the sun.


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