I am a Teacher, living in a small town, working in a government school. Students love me a lot as I am a kind teacher who never uses sticks. But I have used it on my own son today. I know it was an accident but I have lost my temper and given him two lashes with a stick. “What he did? Just broken that old pot by mistake”, my wife has yelled at me, “he is just 10 to understand”. She embraced him.
“He is just 10 to understand” her words has reminded me of my Mother, as I collected the broken pieces of the old pot.
“He is just 10 to understand” my mother yelled at my father who was shouting at me “How many times I teach you? Please do it this way” he loaded the pots on our bullock cart for the day after sales. It was a Monday market in our village.
I smashed the disfigured pot on the grounds after he left the home. I just wanted to ask my Father “how good were your pots in your 10?” But I usually go silent by telling myself “Why this Sunday come? I hate Sundays”
I too wanted to play with other kids to go for climbing the Mango Trees. But my Father never allowed me and he wanted me to learn pottery, which is a hereditary occupation for us, he said. May be his favourite work to do, he always made pots and designed them with colours, sells them in the village market every week. He has made some fair amount for our small family.
As I am the only son he always wanted to groom me a better potter than him and continue his name. I must admit he is the best in his work. Even from far away towns people travel just to buy pots from him.
Last time I remember when I played on a Sunday was almost two years back when I turned 10. I need to go back and count the lines on the wall, I have seen a calendar in my friend’s home. I was tired asking my Father to bring one home from the market, he always says we will get it in the new year. I have seen 3 new years till now on the charcoal lines on the wall, but never a calendar there. Few men wearing long half trousers came to our village and asked me to join school to study. They told that I would be given two new dresses and free meal everyday. I joined the school in the next village.
But every Sunday my father teaches me pottery and asked me to learn, even he lost patience to beat me with stick sometimes. But I have never shown any interest in that as usual.
My Father cooked food for me, so I have no option than to sacrifice the taste sense. School food was far better than Father’s preparation. Sometimes they give egg too. We all go early on those egg giving days.
Time passed by with not much differences to mention. Except the days of heavy rain and floods which affected my father very much and I had never seen him so sad like that before. He got some loan from the village chief for balancing the loss, but the rain shown little mercy on us. The pots and my father’s eyes remained wet all the time. He became so ill and bedridden. I managed to sell a few of last pots he stored and got him some medicines. He hardly recovered. But the sun came out during the following weeks after heavy rains for almost three months. Clouds started leaving the sky to shower beam of lights then.
My father gathered his confidence and started working on the clay muds again. I waved hands and left to the school which was reopened after a long holidays. I could smell the midday meal while in the class, I was waiting for the afternoon bell sound of the iron rail bar.
“Kanna, go with him to your home” said the teacher, Kumar mama (uncle) was waiting. I asked him why but he remained silent. I asked him to wait till I finish my lunch and ran with my plate. He nodded his head and walked a little far. I had my food and came back to see him wiping his tears. He said “lets go Kanna”
I climbed onto his bicycle and reached our home. So many people were there crying and I could not make any sense. I walked in and seen my father sleeping on a bed with flowers spread on him. All were crying and the women took me and cried even more now. They did the same thing one year back when mom was laying like this and then they took her and buried her in the ground. She never returned afterwards. I started crying realizing that my father too will never come back and going to sleep forever buried in the ground. They took my father and did everything same as what they had done to my mom. That was the last day I have seen my father’s face.
I have not gone to school for a few days and I was in Kumar mama’s house that time. He told that he was going to sell our home and asked me to get anything if I want to take from that home. I did not have much play stuffs to grab, but I just found one disfigured small pot half done by my dad, just like the ones I used to make at my best level. I just took it with me.
Life changed a lot and Sundays reminded more about my father. I never went outside to play with others. I just look at my father’s last pot whenever I miss him. Years passed. Sundays could never bring my dad back,
I really missed the angry face of my father who always yells at me for not learning pottery proper. I always feel guilt for being lazy to learn the art of pottery from a man who is best at it.
Now my son and I got compromised. We fixed the broken pieces with quick-glue and by the time we completed the fixing I finished telling this story to my son. He said “I am sorry Daddy! I won’t break it here after”. My wife just smiled, looking both of us from a distance! I smiled back 🙂
– Words by Din
(A story from my few fictional attempts)