Thursday, 5 June 2014

Stumbling on Happiness.

The alarm goes off. She lazes around in her warm blanket and slowly opens her eyes as the sun peeks through the orange curtain. She casts a casual glance at the clock and her lips curl into a smile. She does her daily giant morning stretch accompanied by stupid noises. It cracks her up. She bounces out of bed and catches faint fumes of her mom cooking some delectable food. She smiles and gets ready for the day.

“Are you sure you don’t want a break from studies?” her mother asks, care and concern well depicted in her face.

“I do, Mumma. I want a break from studies but, not from school” she replies with a sage smile.

She scrambles through her scrambled eggs, and with a cold-coffee moustache and a quick smile to her mom, she’s out of the house. A dull autowallah stands outside her gate. 20 minutes later, she’s where she wants to be. She enters school and looks through the cabin window of her favorite teacher. The teacher’s absence gives her an idea. She hides a small note inside her keyboard shelf, saying, ‘Good Morning! I know you’re smiling seeing this, so please keep that smile on.’ She enters the room, now her workplace for the next three weeks. She feels a bit more mature, more responsible, more I-am-like-an-adult. She looks at her watch and she’s happy she’s before time for the first day of her first internship. Ideas cross-pollinate across the room. There is a certain buzz in the room, right from talking about school infrastructure audits to a student blog.

“I’ll take charge of the student blog” she said. She loved words and getting an opportunity to be surrounded with them infused a sense of invigoration in her. “I’ll come in too” her best friend said. Her best friend was as equally passionate about the language as her. She loved the idea of working with her on the student blog.
They munched on a big bag of imported Cheetos and experienced a giant, neuron-splattering dopamine rush. She felt amazing about working for the school in her holidays rather than clicking selfies or hanging around at Starbucks. It was wonderful how she was at the brainstorming and ideating end rather than the receiving end, they would say to herself. She would speak to the staff about current problems and get a Oh-my-god-you-are-such-a-good-student look in return. She loved that deal. She would pen down problems and come up with effective solutions for them.

She would return home and feel like a 25 year old back from work. She’d pour out a glass of juice for herself. The crackling sound of ice in the tall condensation covered glass always fascinated her. She would jump right in front of the computer and start to work again. She felt like the marketing head of a food giant or the chief manager of a big MNC, a feeling she loved. She felt a shoe size bigger. As she rested her head behind a Comic-Mumbai print cushion, she thought how lucky she was to get this opportunity.

“The internship turned out to be so magical only because I felt the ownership and responsibility shifting to me. I felt like a part of the school in a very different non-student way. My involvement with the school increased at an exponential rate with this internship. It was a beautiful way to get us to real life problem solving. I possibly cannot explain how much I loved this internship and how much I learnt. The only thing I can say is that I really love my school. Really” she said to the camera lens as it recorded the experience of all interns on the last day.

Before she knew it, daily school life beckoned. She loved her school life but she felt bad her first internship was over. She would miss drawing a work plan with deep purple, olive green and electric blue markers. She would miss her daily bite of samosapav with extra green chutney. She would miss playing Mastermind and Taboo in her break. It all seemed like a distant dream. But she came away knowing that she can always look back, and find nothing to fault in those precious few days.
“And that feeling is priceless” she said.

- Arshita Malhotra

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