Monday, August 15, 2011

Blue Gandhi

Last year, a little after Gandhi Jayanti, I was at my sons class attending a routine Parents Teacher meeting. After the usual meeting and greeting, it was time to go back. And as is my wont, my eyes wandered around the class and I noticed that the teacher had pinned up various Mahatma Gandhi's coloured by the children. These were the outline of the face of Mahatma Gandhi that had been distributed to the children and they were presumably instructed to colour it. The faces were all coloured identically - orange and yellow in some combination. I looked around and it did seem like all the childrens drawings were there spread across the many boards in the class.

Not able to spot my sons drawing, and knowing that he would usually know where any of his stuff is pinned up, I asked the little one, "Where is your drawing?"
"The teacher did not put mine on the board." he said, quite indignantly
"Why?" I asked curious to know
"Because I coloured Mahatma Gandhis face with blue crayon when the teacher asked us to use yellow and orange."
"Why did you use blue?"
"I felt it would look nicer."

I smiled a little - imagining a blue Gandhi in my head. As I tried to figure out it could look, sure enough, he pulled it out from his bag, he showed me, very confidently - the Blue Mahatma Gandhi that was his prized creation. Yes, Mahatma Gandhi did look a little funny with a blue face to my eyes but who was I to judge his choice. The blue Gandhi was not like the others at all. It was quite different. But, I am sure, the great man himself would not have minded. He would have smiled and patted the childs head.

That set me thinking.

Very often, it is the notice board that is our goal - to be there with the others and that is not decided by us, but by someone else in charge - and getting through the gatekeeper means conforming to the requirements of the gatekeeper. And in that process, we often, compromise our own thinking and sometimes what we stand for as well.

The Blue Gandhi is now one of my prized possessions - something that reminds me to be myself when all the crowd aspires for something else.

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