Friday, November 16, 2012

Rough Work : Story of a Child's Mind

When I was a kid, I kept two kinds of notebooks per subject. One for fair work and the other for rough work. Slowly as I grew up, I was not allowed to do mistakes anymore and rough work was gradually to be reduced. The rough books disappeared soon. Looking back I feel strange because most of the things that I have learned were from the mistakes I committed doing rough work. Probably those were the ones I should have kept? I don't know.

But as I grew up a little more, as I said, I wasn't allowed to do mistakes. I was required to respond quickly and and (i was not allowed to put two and's together by mistake) in rightful manner to situations that arise, so I had to do rough work in my mind. Now when mind gets full, how do I make the rough work disappear? Its stuffed in my head, isn't it? And this is exactly what happened to the little boy in our story. He is called by the name Bent. No one knows whatever his real name is. Even Bent doesn't know anymore whatever his name was. 

Bent was a brilliant kid in school. He could do the math like a 8 year old genius. He could explain the planets and the solar system. He knew the importance of brushing everyday and he also knew the stories of The Giant Bull Man (whatever that is) who was his hero. When he was brought to school by his parents, he suffered from some mysterious disease and the bones in his fingers won't let them straighten up. His parents had yet not thought of a name, 4 years old though he was, so when the Head Master saw the kid, he immediately named him Bent. Head Master, it is said, wanted to name his children with English names. Unfortunately he never had any. And some would say that he named him Bent out of his disappointment in life of not having kids and when he saw the kid in diseased condition it quite suited too. But anyways I want you to believe that he was named with good intention as I believe it too. And now you know why nobody knew his real name, well for one reason that there wasn't any.

So one day when Madam Merry asked the bright, brilliant, witty Bent, with fingers beginning to straighten up after his age of 6, that tell me the answer to how many candles you would buy if..., Bent suddenly interrupted and said. Madam Merry, as much merry as you are but I cannot answer your question. Madam Merry was shocked by this rudeness. One would call her Madam Marry and then whatever they wanted to and she wouldn't mind, but she couldn't understand despite her being tireless teacher, why would his favourite pupil refuse to answer a question. 

Bent didn't like keeping secrets much, particularly when keeping them might get him more trouble and no fun, he immediately stooped and said. "Madam, as much merry as you make me by teaching but my rough copy is full. I cannot write there anything anymore."

Listening to Bent, unsure and afraid, Madam Merry, how could she not believe him? She asked, "What rough copy?" 

And then Bent told her his painful story that would bring any child to tears, if at all any child is still left in you. He started to tell her how his fingers were bent when he was little, particularly no reason to tell it but he told her anyway. And then he told he had been doing all the rough work in his head ever since he was a kid as his poor parents, as hardworking as they were, could provide not much to write upon. He told that his mind book is full now. And because as he could not pay attention in doing the rough work efficiently organized, his mind book is full before his prediction of 18 years(whatever way he might have predicted). 

"But all that you have ever taught", he said to Madam Merry, "is still up there my dear Madam. But there is no more space to learn more!" Poor kid, innocent as he was, began to sob and Madam Merry, as much merry as she was, could not hold her tears. She wiped her tears soon, the class was watching, and said to Bent.

"I know my child you remember everything I have ever told you", whatever that might be, "but because I love you my pupil, and the others in your class too," for others were now frowning upon the two, "I want to teach you more my lovely child and the rest of you." 
"And fortunate as you are,", she told the poor child Bent who was now blowing his nose off, "I know what to do."

Madam Merry bought Bent a rough book everyday in the morning and Bent, brilliant as he was, wrote upon it day and night, for evening is reserved for playing on the fields. Books and books, shelves he stacked with cover pages signed Bent. A month later he came knocking on Madam Merry's door. 
"Scribbling as much as I did, 
Days and nights, 
For evenings are for play,
I have my mind unlid, 
And wrote everything bit by bit.
My head's a hollow drum, 
Strange as it thrums.
Though my fingers are sore,
Will you teach me more?"

Madam Merry, merry as she was,  told him to come to class.