Friday, October 18, 2013

Varnajalam of Suryan FM

This Trichy is a place full of activity. Something or the other seems to be constantly  happening here. And given my official position, I get keep getting invited to inaugurate this event or preside over that one... I find this place full of schools, colleges and higher educational institutions. Quite the academic centre of the State. And know what? The number of girl students in schools/colleges is mind boggling. I remember the first time when I went to one of the colleges to preside over something, I was stunned to see the auditorium full of girls, young women. I discretely counted the number in each row and number of rows and easily the numbers exceeded a thousand. And there were many, many more standing. And this was only in the auditorium; we could see some leaving the campus having finished classes for the day. The principal told me the college had three thousand girl students. Three thousand!! And there are many such colleges in Trichy! The city, due to its strategic position being quite in the heart of the state caters to the other districts for higher education. The headmasters/mistresses, the principals, corresspondents, all of them seem so passionate about their jobs....

But wait, I digress..yeah, realised it after several hundred words had been written, now I drag myself back to the topic I wanted to write about, namely the Painting competition that was organized by Suryan FM for school students starting from kindergarten to class XII. Yes, kindergarten no less, three and four year olds!! The topic given to them was something like 'what I like'. The drawing and the coloring some of the kids did was unbelievable!! No, they weren't given outlines to colour in with crayons. The kids drew the stuff they liked and filled in the colours. The clean lines, and colours inside the drawing, the neat execution. I couldn't just, at first, take in the fact that this was a tiny tot's work. What do these mothers feed their kids?

The inauguration was something novel for me. Yes, the usual welcome speeches were made, the bouquets given as also the 'token' of affection i.e., a momento as well as the traditional shawl. I had been told I would inaugurate the event by lighting the kuthuvilakku, the traditional lamp. As I entered the auditorium, and climbed the stage, I looked discretly for the kuthuvilakku but found none. Oh, well... I thought. There was an easel that was set to one side, with a chart paper pinned to it. One half of the chart paper was blank and the other had a lead pencil drawing of a kuthuvillakku on it. It looked somewhat incomplete to me, but I thought, hey, this is a charcoal drawing sort of thing, this must be the fashion or whatever. Never for a second did it cross my dumb head that that was the kutthuvilakku to be lit by me. Not for one small second. All of a sudden the welcome speeches were over the felicitations were done, and I heard the compere inviting me, the chief guest, to inaugurate the event by lighting the kuthuvilakku... I was invited to draw the flame. I cannot begin to explain in words the utter fascination I felt at the idea. And of course my joy knew no bounds. Maybe this sort of thing happened all the time in this amazing city. But it had never happened to me. I could barely control my excitement. And of course I was nervous. I am not a painter, can barely draw a straight line and here I was in front of what seemed a mass of humanity being asked to paint. Never say die, being my motto I went to the easel. More delight was in store, as a young woman approached with a tray bearing water colors and brushes. She asked me to pick any colour that I wished. I used red to draw the first flame. Choice of colour was instinctive. I never thought of yellow. Then the other guests followed, these being the heads/representatives of the sponsors of the event, and soon, the kuthuvilakku was all 'lit' up in a rainbow of colours!! How pretty it looked with those colorful dancing flames!!

I thought this was it, we were done now, there was going to be a vote of thanks and we would all be off. But no. The cup of joy was nearing brim, but not overflowing and how could that be allowed to happen, not overflow? The mystery of the blank side of the easel was solved, no marks to me, when I was asked to draw something.. anything as a mark of setting the competition ball rolling. Believe you me, at that point in time, I must have been a two year old just given a toffee!! I made a rangoli, I think. Its all hazy, except the happiness, which was pure.
After that of course, we went to the section where the babies made the drawings. And I've already told you how awesome that was!

S I M P L E Pleasures of Life,  all the more wonderful for being unexpected.
What a day that was!

No comments: