My first attempt at making a pot. And I am feeling so pleased with myself. Am a novice in the world of wheel pottery and it has taken me around 20 hours of practice to reach this stage. I am fortunate to have a teacher who is so passionate about his art that he does not indulge his students to take short cuts, and insists we develop our senses to understand the fine nuances of this beautiful art.
When I first thought of enrolling myself in a pottery class, it was purely with the intention of learning a new craft. What I didn’t realise at that time was the other skills the clay and the wheel would teach me during this journey.
Today I akin my pottery sessions to meditation. Each time I sit at the wheel, it gives me no option but to focus my attention on it. The moment my attention wanders, the shape of my pot loiters like a wayward child. I NEED to be there. In body and in mind.
I am developing a new level of patience. I had remarked to my husband a few days ago that bringing up two children has taken a toll on my patience. Now I have a new child in the clay I mould. It’s a battle of wills. My teacher always says that I have to learn to control the clay and the wheel and not allow the opposite to happen.
I am learning to break what I have created by my hands. On most days, at the end of the one hour sessions, I break what I have created. I am still learning so each piece is really not worth preserving. But still, I used to hesitate before crushing it up. The moment of hesitation is decreasing each time. Maybe this is also a mini lesson in learning to let go.
So my tryst with pottery is not about the clay and the wheel but so much more. And I am so much richer because of it.
Today I watched my almost 11 year old very keenly. Standing on the cusp of 5th and 6th grade, today was her last day at school before it shut down for a two week break. When she returns it will be to 6th grade. The range of emotions coursing through her the entire day have registered themselves in my mind to be narrated to her in future.
She awoke with the thought that it was her last day in 5th grade. Jumped off the bed with a spring in her step and headed straight for the kitchen to supervise the packing of her special lunch. The girls had decided to bring something special each for the meal they share at lunchtime. Today my lady took homemade pizzas, a box of popcorn and cookies to share with her friends. They call each other BFFs! My husband shakes his head in confusion when presented with all these abbreviated terms.
She is also sad that it’s her last day in this class and this classroom. Without being aware she has already stored in her memory the many moments created here in this room in the past one year. And while they will gather dust in some corner of her mind for a couple of decades, I am sure she will pull them out one fine day and smile in remembrance.
She is sadder still about the fact that one of her close friends is relocating to another city and will be moving next week. But then again I see hope in her mind when she says optimistically that she will email her and chat with her online.
And then I saw the glimpse of apprehension in the way she chewed on her lower lip when she wondered aloud if all her friends would be in her class when the new term began. Their school has a practice of shuffling students of the three divisions every other year. So friends do get separated in the process. She says she is praying that her friends remain in same section as she is.
When she returned from school there was a sense of satisfaction over the unorthodox lunch party. And an air of superiority…hasn’t she just moved up a grade! And of course the thought of a two week break, especially when her older brother still has to go to school, is just too good a chance to pass up to gloat over him.
Such a bundle of emotions. And yet I dare not laugh at any of them. For her, these are very serious matters. So I have just listened to her. For I want her to know that I do understand her excitement and apprehensions. That just because we are grown ups now we cant ridicule them for their small world and small worries. I had read somewhere that, ‘its not for the children to understand their grown ups but vice versa, because we have already been where they are now, but they haven’t.’(am not quoting verbatim but just the gist of what I could remember) .
And somewhere I think we as grown ups also under go the same trepidations in our grown up world but just learn not to express them so openly.
My bosom buddy and I grew up in the same residential complex and that way we both spent a lot of time together. When we were younger we were seen around the complex playing different kind of games. And as we grew older our mothers started sending us out together to run errands like shopping for grocery and vegetables. We combined this with our evening jaunts in the neighborhood and soon all shop keepers got used to seeing the pair of us coming in to shop. There were days when they enquired about the absence of one of us if the other went in alone.
This continued even through our universities days and almost bordered on a daily ritual. It came to a stop only when I got married and moved away. A couple of years later so did she and so came to an end a routine of almost a decade.
Recently I was in a departmental store and saw an elderly man who looked familiar. Every few minutes I glanced at him, trying to place where I had seen him. Suddenly it came to me that he was the man who had assisted in the grocery store which I used to frequent during my growing years. But as I was so used to seeing him behind a grocery store counter, it had taken me a while to recognize him without his familiar props.
When our gaze met I could see he had too was trying to place me. He came up to me and hesitantly asked if it was me. He then said that he hadn’t been sure it was me as I was alone. And then peered around me and asked, ”Where is your friend?” For a second I was taken aback but told him her whereabouts.
As I walked away I realized that I wasn’t the only one who hadn’t recognized him without his familiar prop of the store, but that even he hadn’t recognized me as I was without the prop he was used to seeing me with..my buddy.
My fascination with jigsaw puzzles goes back to my childhood. And while not an avid collector of jigsaw puzzles, I have always enjoyed solving one. And as I grew older I realised that all of our lives were like a giant jigsaw puzzle. Each of us a squiggly odd shaped individual…strangely amoeba-like in our solitary existence, but when put together, coming alive in a beautiful picture. Here we all stand, comfortably snuggling into each other’s lives, complementing each other.
I have rarely looked at my near and dear ones as competitors in some race in being the best. I look at them as the pieces in the jigsaw puzzle of my life who help me complete the entire puzzle by complementing my yeses with their noes and my negatives with their positives.
And while the bigger portfolios in our life viz a good education, a home, a marriage, children, cars, dogs etcetera etcetera dominate the picture which defines us in the society….I have realised that its those smaller isolated moments which bind this all. Today as I sat chatting with a total stranger in a dentist’s waiting room, it struck me that there are some stray incidences which leave a lasting impression and these are the ones which I hope to capture and share on this blog.