The Pencil Box — Part 1 of 3 : Year 1997

It was just like any other day at school until...

“Clunk… Clunk… Clunk…”

Until… a soft clunking sound coming from the corner of the class room distracted me from whatever I was doing. Anxiously, I started walking to the source of the noise and noticed some of my friends already surrounded and looking over something. In no time, I too joined them and found myself struggling hard with the crowd to get a glimpse of the little ‘exhibit’ that is causing the sound.

The four to five level deep crowd made it difficult for me in recognising the object. I gave many unsuccessful attempts by lifting my toes before I started battling with my elbows — Sly as a fox, I created spaces between the crowd and slowly moved near to that and finally saw it!

It was a pencil box. Not just a regular one, a special one. A very special one…

What’s so special about it? — It has buttons. Lots of them. On hitting a button, the box magically opened a compartment which has an eraser neatly embedded in it. Hitting on another, the box again did it’s thing and opened another compartment. Every other button press has its own feat to perform and it kept everyone in awe. Wow! It was pure magic! At least for me, a 3rd standard kid then, it was definitely magic.

Watching that pencil box do it’s job no way competes with a crane moving it’s hydraulic arm to tactically rip off earth or a ballerina dancing beautifully on a harlequin floor.

What’s even more special? — It belonged to her. She is the most beautiful girl I knew at that age. The shiny eyes that resembles tiny fish, the funk hair that she arranges every now and then, the sparkling tinkles from her pearly teeth, the tiny gap between her central incisors, and the curvy smile from the corner of her lips made her look like an absolute bliss. While everyone was enjoying the little show from the pencil box, I was busy looking at her.

I returned to my senses when she handed her pencil box to me and asked “Do you want to play?” She asked only me!

The next turn of events are not as vivid as the previous but we became best friends. We sat together during recess time and lunch breaks, did our homework together. She let me play with her pencil box whenever I asked for. She loved the happiness on my face when I see that thing. The days passed by so quickly that in no time we broke for school closure days after the annual examinations. With sad puppy faces we told good bye to each other on the last day of our third grade.

After the holidays…

Most kids are sad that they had to come to school while I was awaiting for this big day. Anyone can easily notice the feeling of pride and accomplishment on my face. (No, I didn’t climb the Mount Everest, I was just promoted to fourth grade)

The first thing I did on the day was to search for her. Every nook, every corner, every floor, every classroom! But she was not there! I did it for the next couple of days until I accepted the fact that she moved to a different school. In fact to a different city.

While the smell of new books was filling the classroom, I was missing the fragrance from her. While the school bell was ringing, I was missing the clunking sound from her pencil box. While everyone was enjoying the delicious food in the lunch time, I was missing sitting and sharing food with her…

Gradually I got used to her absence and shortly the memory of her was completely erased. Or at least I thought it was erased, until…

Until the year 2010…

(This is a work of fiction. Various little excerpts of my life are taken and weaved together to produce this.)