Days Like These

Days Like These - Little Authors -

Days Like These

In the afternoons when I sit in my sage green study chair, my objective is to study. Naturally, that doesn’t happen today. I lose focus on my books. So I resolve to stare out of the open window. The light curtains flutter with the frequent breeze that sweeps in. The monotonous rising and falling of the bright white curtains lull my mind, and sure enough, I find it wandering like it so often does on days like these.

There is a different world outside the window. The part that immediately catches my attention is the wild fig trees directly in my line of sight. Our building was built 18 years ago, and these trees have been there for 60. They are the sole survivors of the lush forest that used to thrive around them. Countless squirrel families have called these trees their home, and their fruit has been food for innumerable bats. Pigeons, sparrows, and nightingales perch here every day, and ants form their anthills at their roots. The two trees used to be saplings, and they grew, and grew, and grew, in the same position while the world around them constantly changed with a flurry of movement. Not once do the residents of the neighbouring building, the residents that see these trees every day, stop and wonder about two apparently random trees that have always seemed to be there. They simply go about their lives, never really caring about the fig trees that have had a lifetime of stellar experiences. But of course, life itself is an experience, and I doubt anyone would want to miss it, to stare out a window and wonder about trees.

The fig trees remind me of my grandfather. He too, has seen progress uproot the world and turn it on its axis. I do not know much about him, nor do I know what he has experienced, but I know it has made him who he is. He told me that he drove Mother Teresa to some village in his car. I couldn’t tell if he was joking or not. Even his car has such a history, it’s amazing. I look around my room, trying to find something that doesn’t have a history. I fail. Even the new shirt I bought has had the exciting adventure of sitting in a paper bag and travelling from the mall to my home, where it got introduced to other shirts. Do shirts make friends? They should, they spend most of their time in a closet with their fellow clothing. What are they to do if not socialise?

Socialising comes so easily to some people. They’re naturally friendly and emit an aura that compels others to talk to them. That doesn’t work for me, does it? I have one long-term friend, so of course, it doesn’t. My friend is a social person who doesn’t know she’s social. Whenever she interacts with someone, it’s a sight to behold.

The ignorance reminds me of that one girl in my class who said she would fail our maths exam, and then she ended up getting the highest grade in our year like she always does. We don’t believe her when she says things like that anymore.

My former classmates are hysterical. Last year, in the eighth standard, everyone despised our class, but inside it, we all had a blast. There was drama, sorrow, laughing, inside jokes, and extremely crazy incidents (one boy fainted and fell to the floor), topped off with an interesting cast of characters, the teachers.

When the year ended, it felt like the end of an era. The school doesn’t feel the same since we have been separated into different classes. I’m sure that when I grow older, I’m going to look back at the post-pandemic class with fondness and longing.

My mother calls out from the kitchen, “I’m leaving!” I yell back, “Bye Mother!” I call her ‘mother’ for fun. It sounds hilarious in a casual conversation.It’s past 4:00 pm already, I should study. But the very idea of studying is unappealing. The idea of studying geography even more so. Geography is one of the most boring subjects out there. Why can’t they teach us something like psychology? That’s so much more interesting than geography.

A few months ago, I was sitting on the floor in my room, a few feet from where I am currently, and I was attempting to study for my geography exam. But, I didn’t want to study, I had a pencil in my hand, and my textbook was already filled with doodles. So really, there was no option other than to draw on the floor. This is exactly what I told everybody who walked into my room and asked me why there was a portrait of a fictional person that I named ‘Rosa’ on the floor. My family was nice enough to avoid walking across the drawing. But alas, Rosa was wiped away with a cruel weapon called ‘mop’ by my innocently unobservant grandmother a week later. I will never forget Rosa. She lived a short
but meaningful life on the white tiles of my family’s current abode.

Really, it’s much easier to doodle mindlessly rather than draw something and put my whole concentration into it. I’ve come to notice that unplanned things sometimes have better outcomes than planned ones. All my favourite drawings were unplanned.

Just like the rain that is now pouring down on the earth. Suddenly the world outside the window is soaked with water. When did it start raining? I didn’t notice. It’s summer, so it shouldn’t really rain. Oh, the mango flowers have probably gotten spoilt, and the farmers must be crying. The anthills might be flooded, and the squirrels won’t be able to leave their fig tree homes.

Then again, my favourite drawings were never permanent. Most of them were drawn within the pages of my eighth-standard textbooks. I had to give away those textbooks and replace them with my ninth-standard ones. I enjoyed the memories my study books held.

Everything got washed away with the droplets of change.

After the rain, the sky will hold a rainbow amongst its clouds and the air will be filled with sweet petrichor. The farmers will still be crying. Unplanned things are bitter. They seem sweet. Everything will keep changing, and changing, and changing until global warming makes sure that this season won’t even be called summer.

I realise now that the world outside the window does have one thing in common with the world inside. That thing is change.

Somebody rang the doorbell. I get up, walk to the door, and open it. My sister has returned from her meet-up with her friends.

Ten minutes later, I come back to my room. My sister sits down on the study chair, bathed and refreshed.

“What did you study?” she asks.

“Geography,” I say.

“Ok, I bought pasta. We can eat it in the evening.”

With that, she pulls out her laptop and starts doing whatever it is that she does. I sit down on the bed and think to myself, “Sarah, if everybody refrained from interrupting you, would you ever stop?”

I’ve spent one too many afternoons questioning inconsequential things. Very rarely do I find answers.

By Sarah Mascarenhas

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Days Like These

7 thoughts on “Days Like These

  1. Hiii, this is such a beautiful read, I loved every bit of it. Sarah, you’re so talented, wow. 😭💝

  2. I was hooked from start to finish .
    Atta girl , Sarah!
    Keep writing and enthralling.

    All my love ,

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