The sun shines brilliantly, almost blinding the shaded eyes as it transforms the colourful scenery into a silhouette painting. The car runs on the burning tarmac, the haze shimmering on the horizon. Mirgrating geese fly in the sky, their cackles resonating with the staccato honking of the vehicles.
People pass by, some carrying kids in their arms, others their baggage. Some crossing the road, others standing on the curb, waiting for a lull in the incessant traffic.
It is indeed a rosy world.
I wonder why rose is, well rosy. The sentence formation is a bit strange, and I know you must be scratching the hell out of your skull in trying to figure out as to what I am saying. The word “rose” conjures up an aura of beauty, grace and affluent luxury—an aura that can be detected by even a person who doesn’t know the meaning of the word it self. I have this feeling that it is not just the meaning that the words portray that give them the aura—the very acoustics of the word play a huge role too. For instance, the word “petulant” conjures up an image of a pout, akin to the expression of a kid denied a chocolate or icecream. Similarly, the word “horrible” kind of sends a shiver down the spine.
What I mean is, the words have the power to express themselves to some extent. Like how a powerfully worded article can shake the very existence of corruption, how an expressive romantic novel can make a reader squeal out in delight. And I think that is the very reason many of us find the school/college textbooks boring—there are no such words, no such hidden messages. Unlike what we think of ourselves, our brains love stimulating challenges.
“A treatise?” said Palak, shaking the stapled sheets in front of me.
“Hmm…mmm…” I muttered dreamily, adjusting my elbow to a more comfortable position.
It was break, and the class was empty barring a few people who were using the twenty minutes to catch up on sleep. Like me.
“Itisha!” she yelled angrily, shaking my shoulder.
Palak was my childhood friend—we were together since kindergarten. Even in class eleven, she had taken up science, being my lab partner. She was as energetic as a bunny, and I was as lazy as a sloth. I couldn’t say for certain whether she was disappointed in me being her partner for mostly all the project work. But then again, she had the free rein to do whatever she wanted—I just showed up to sign my name. Unlike the other duos who fought tooth-and-nail over it.
Guess she must be happy.
I remember her being pudgy when in elementary, though now she had blossomed out into a teen on the cusp of womanhood. Long straight black hair, clear slightly wheatish skin, large almond shaped topaz eyes, with a dainty nose and chin. She was not very tall and was neither plump. She had an envious figure and a posture to match.
Like a rose at the threshold of a full bloom.
I, on the other hand, was tall and athletic with short, inky black hair which was mostly tied into a ponytail at the nape of the neck, tanned complexion with onyx eyes, a straight nose and a hawk-like face. I was technically long-limbed and hence was a favourite for the basketball team. We looked polar opposites, but you could term us as good friends.
“You are going to submit this? Seriously?” Palak repeated yet again, slamming the papers on the desk, close to my head.
“Hmm…” I muttered again. I was awake till three in the morning, trying to plough down the monsters in a Dungeon Event in an online multiplayer game. Thus, I was certainly not in the mood to talk.
“The prof told us to write a treatise on any topic under the sun, I agree. But what you have written is basically a list of excuses as to why we hate studying. It’s like telling the profs that they suck!”
I finally raised my head, using the sleeve of my sweater to rub away the drool from my mouth.
“Come on Palak, it’s okay. Besides, I am tired of writing the same old stuff—like terrorism, global warming and stuff…”
She rolled her eyes at the ceiling before replying.
“Your grade won’t be rosy after this, you know. I agree it’s an individual assignment—but that doesn’t mean you go off your rocker.”
Rose is a very symbolic word, object. A red rose means passion, a yellow rose signifies friendship. A pink rose brings about innocence, a black rose…well, you can imagine. A bouquet of roses is a symphony of heavenly smell, an ethereal perfume that transports you momentarily into the gardens of Elysium. People prefer rose plants in their gardens, feel delighted when they receive a bouquet of roses. A single rose when presented to anyone is enough to bring a smile on their faces.
A rose-tinted world.
That’s what it feels when I see through the rose-tinted glasses. Even the dreary seems exotic, the unhappy seem blissful, the harsh sun bearable, the dying seem vigorous. And it is not that the world seems this way when we see it through physical filters. We even put up a series of mental filters which enable us to see what we want to see, not what the actual scenary is.
“Itisha…is it necessary for you to submit stuff like this everytime I give an independent assignment?” the teacher sighed. It was in the middle of the physics lesson that message came that I was called into the staff-room. Palak gave me a look, that said you deserved it.
I gave her a nonchalant shrug.
Anything was better than an hour wasted in listening to the Coulomb’s law.
The homeroom teacher was in her cabin. She was severe looking lady bordering on fifty. Always clad in crisp saree pleated and pinned neatly, she was tall and slim with her grey-streaked dark brown hair always held up in a bun at the nape of her neck. I have never seen her with her hair down on any occasion. I sometimes wonder whether she looks this way even in her son’s birthday party.
Shaking my head to clear it, I knocked the slightly ajar door of her cabin.
I sidled in, straightening the sweater as much as I could. Our school uniform consisted of bottle-green skirt and tie, light green shirt with grey socks having dark green stripes and black sports shoes. Since it was January and the chill was still in the air, I still wore the green sweater.
The teacher motioned me to sit. I could see my assignment file lying open in front of her.
She raised a skeptical eyebrow.
I gave a tiny shrug.
“You do realize that you will be graded for this, right?” she said, closing the file. My file.
“Yes,” I said tonelessly. What does she want to talk about?
“I am, practically speechless. If I were to forget that I have to grade your article, then I will say that it is indeed a brilliant piece. The writing, the ideas…I can say they are almost revolutionary. Like a breath of fresh air. But,”
The teacher rested her chin on her interlocked fingers, looking at me through her rectangular spectacles.
“But not all teachers will follow what I feel about your writing…you know it better than me. I appreciate and encourage the fact that you think out of the box, but sadly there aren’t people here who can accept that. I am sorry Itisha, as much as I like it, I have to reject it.”
I nodded slowly…there wasn’t anything I could do, though.
“Write something ordinary and drop it into my cabin by lunch tomorrow.”
How much ever we cry or pray, life is never just a bed of roses..we get the entire package, thorns included. There are rosy times, there are thorny moments, but the big thing is to make the best out of every thing we have got.
As the car comes to halt, I jerk out of my reverie. It is funny, how journeys tend to send the human mind in the path of self-introspection and lofty thoughts. I think the swiftly passing scenery plays a huge role in it, becoming the fodder for the imagination.
Father tells me that we have reached the destination. The beach was here. Rather, we were at the beach.
The power of words—even the arrangement matters.
I step out, pocketing my shades. The sun is now hovering at the horizon, all set to turn in and call it a day. A cool breeze is blowing, gently clearing away the cobwebs and leaving a salty freshness in its wake.
The sky is in its full blaze, the last splurge of colour before the darkness begins to it.
Days like these, it didn’t matter whether the rose was rosy or not. It just felt good to be alive.
At the corner of my mind, the independent assignment nags at me.
I could write about the rose.
After all, it is a topic worth writing on. I just wonder who in my school would read it.
As I ponder, I see a little girl clown-dancing on the sand, not caring as to who was watching her antics.
I guess it doesn’t always matter about the audience…the very fact you write matters. As there would always be people to read your work and share your thoughts.