Suma glanced through her resume one last time and a smile curved her at the edge of her lips. She had always carried a copy in her bag –a near perfect one she thought …
Masters in Psychology – LSR, Delhi
National level squash player
and now an admission into the doctoral programme at Harvard
It had worked out just as planned. Come August and she will be on her way to Boston. Suma glanced at her watch-it was 10:00 am and the waiting room outside the Head of Dept became hotter. Harvard must be more pleasant!!! -She couldn't help wondering.
A voice interrupted her thoughts “Mam,saab’s calling you “.
The HoD 's room was sparsely furnished. Suma had met him only twice before, but today was pleasantly different. Mr. Xavier had wanted to meet the Harvard bound girl from his department and she loved all the attention she was getting over the last few days!
"Good Morning Suma, Take a seat. Coffee, Cool drinks??”
“No thank you, Mr. Xavier “
“So Suma, what are your plans for the next two months"
How nice!!! No word of appreciation, no congratulations, just wants to know my schedule, (skedule).
"Nothing much sir, I have really worked hard for the last 4 years, I think I deserve a vacation "
"Yes, yes very much you do. Life in Harvard isn't going to be easy. These days would be the very few you would get in the next few years to come. But if you do have some time to spare just drop in at my wife's school for the visually impaired – You must have heard of St Anthony's right? She is running a summer hobby class there; you could lend her a helping hand!
"Sure Sir, can I have the address?"
On her way back home, she glanced at the card and thought, why was Mr. Xavier so interested on her going there? Does he think this will help in getting some kind of tuition assistantship? Her own thought process appalled her. She kicked herself to get out of her thoughts. The car screeched to a halt. The address was shoved into the bag. The Taxi bill came to Rs 50 - $1 thought Suma.
The next few weeks were spent in shopping, learning to cook, treating friends and dreaming about life in another 2 months.
It was a Sunday and her bag appeared to be bit too big.
" Suma you better learn to clean that more often " – Mom was always at it!
She emptied her bag onto the bed. The first to fall was a yellow piece of paper. She looked at it for long, cleaning can wait she thought as she lifted the receiver. " Hello, St Anthony’s...."
The school was housed in a conservative bungalow on a busy highway. St Anthony’s was written across the second floor balcony in black. A part of the building, under renovation, was covered with poles and guilders. She unlatched the gate, when two dogs charged on towards her. She quickly retraced her steps, and shut the gate.
As she stood there debating whether to leave or call out for someone, a voice echoed through the hall "Hello, thats being punctual the American way, Suma. Oh! Wait a minute. Thomas, get the dogs out!” A short stout lady with a pretty face broke into the scene with an extended hand."I am Ms.Anna Xavier, Dave was talking about you even yesterday come on in "
The place was extremely quite and Suma wondered if there were any children at all!!! As her eyes got used to the light inside the room, a small boy strode in confidently. His hands were painted a cheery yellow, his face-brighter.
Pavan, say hello to Suma didi
Namaste Suma didi .How are you doing?
I am fine.
Pavan is in the seventh grade, recently got a double promotion. A very smart kid I must say. He joined us four years back. His parents stay in Noida and he visits them once in 15 days.
For a moment the three stood motionless not knowing how to carry the conversation furthur. Pavan broke the ice by saying,"didi, I am doing a painting would like to see?"
"Sure I would love to ", said Suma displaying an obvious relief in her voice.
He led her into a room - a sharp contrast to the painted sheets of art paper strewed on the floor.
What do you do didi?
I am studying; I will be going to America next month to study furthur.
Didi, you will go in aeroplane?
Yeah, smiled suma
This way didi, and he led her across the room to the table where he had been sitting.
What have you been painting pavan? asked Suma, unable to comprehend the riot of colors. Was it modern art by any chance?
This is the morning sky didi, see birds are flying north; I read somewhere that they fly north in the mornings. The weather is cool aur fresh you can hear the chirping of birds. Look the sun is also rising .He was pointing to a paper which was filled in shades of yellow and black.
Pavan, sky is blue in color, But you have painted it bright yellow. Do you want me to bring blue, we will repaint it together, I will help you.
Pavan looked at her questingly or so she thought
What is blue didi? What does it look like?
Suddenly the Barons she had breathed in for 4 years, evaporated from her memory.
Blue is color of sky, water, and ...
No didi, when you see blue what do you feel? Cool and Fresh? Thats what I felt when I did this painting .So what if it appears yellow to you, I painted thinking it is blue, so it is blue...
Suma looked at the art paper once again, everything seemed to fall in place .She could even see a small Harvard flag fluttering in the background, a smile curved her lips as she dug deep into yellow color, or was it blue?