New books have to be bought. The old ones have to be either given away or disposed off. New notebooks have to be covered with brown paper. There will be new pencils and pens. Erasers and sharpeners. Paints and crayons.
There is plenty of anticipation in the air. There is also some consternation. The untutored mind looks at the new syllabus and proclaims, "We can never do this, this looks too tough for eight year olds." Of course with time, the same syllabus becomes "So easy that even a six year old can do this."
The house is always a mess. Too many books. Way too many notebooks. Reams and reams of brown paper. Scissors that get lost at the most inappropriate moments. Bottles of gum that inadvertently topple over and create a mess on the table top. The screaming father. Someone always takes his pen to write on the labels but does not return it. Kids scream equally hard. It is just a pen after all. Grandma never screams. But her TV does. And the mother screams the most. She after all has to do most of the covering and labeling and writing part.
The mother also has another tough job to do. Her little one is an artist of sorts. She draws all over her books, notebooks and all the other unimportant papers that need to be thrown away. Which work of art is to be preserved? Which one is to be thrown away? It is a difficult decision. Some sketches are mere scribbles. Some are hurriedly drawn doodles on her text books. Most of them are in the class work notebooks. "Why did you draw in your class work books?" " Because I finished early. And because I wanted ma'am to know I really understood the lessons very well. And because I felt like drawing."
So anything connected to sunshine has a picture of a resplendent sun. The lesson on festivals has Ravana burning and Santa beaming. There are pictures of flowers, children flying kites, man feeding a cow. The budding artist never lets go of an opportunity. Or for that matter a lesson. But sadly, everything is on notebooks that have an expiry date.
Of course apart from these, there are those loose sheets of papers where she has drawn. One can of course preserve them. But the trouble is she has been drawing and painting since she was a three year old. And now there are too many such sheets.
So over the years the heartless mother has learned what to do. Keep the finished sketches. Throw the unfinished ones. And always throw the ones she has drawn in the notebooks. There is only so much storage space in the flat she calls home.
The story has begun again this year. Make place for the new. Throw away the old. Clean, arrange, stack, store. There is a slight difference however. The mother now has a blog. And she can now share some of these paintings with her friends.
Technology can sometimes be handy.
The heart need not ache so much this time.