Sunday, October 05, 2008

Memoirs of a suppressed artist

Warning: Ah well you all know what it is by now!

I suck at lying. Now...I am no angel, just Untruth Challenged. "Face the music girl" said my dad when I was 5 years old and knee deep in trouble. I had gone and written all over my second brother’s untidy home work book with my crayons. I am talking Camlin crayons that is next to impossible to rub off. Now 8 year old boys are not exactly the big brotherly types. They are wont to regard anyone younger to them by a second as pests. They don’t go "ooh look she has drawn a Butterfly in my Maths Class Work book. Cho chweeeet" They are more likely to go "THWACK" followed by grounding for one week for hitting "poor little defenseless baby sister and I don’t want to hear what she did grrr"

My brother didn't need to hire the Scotland Yard to investigate the butterfly in his notebook. All he needed was Scotland yards best ladder as I was very good in climbing trees when I had drawn butterflies and houses in his books. Though I did not know why he was so mad, I knew that my drawing angered him for some reason. I had no clue about home work books and how mad teachers became when it had crayon scribbles all over it. Amongst the list of "Most Corny Excuses for not doing Homework” compiled by the teachers in my brother’s school, the most prominent were:

My sister tore my home work.
My sister wrote on the homework and I found out only this morning.
My sister took my home work book and she doesn't remember where she kept it.
I have a younger sister.

His teachers tut tutted when they saw me and patted my head gently muttering "Such an angel and that M makes out to be a devil tch tch!!"

When I was born, the writing was on the wall for my parents that the house walls were for writing and not for holding their home together and segregating rooms. And it took nine long years for them to finally retrieve the walls from my firm grip and scrape off the ten inch thick coating of crayon wax and restore its dignity and rightful duties. There was not an inch of space on our walls that didn’t have my drawings. When in the night, my parents lay exhausted in their bed, they would look up and thank god that I couldn't reach the ceiling. And then I guess they felt bad and counted their blessings because I never got punished for the same I remember.

Punishment is a big no no with my Dad. He is an engineer and like most engineers he tends to use his professional qualifications a tad too seriously. I mean he believes in STRATEGY!! Every problem in life had to be dealt with a pre approved strategy.

His first strategy was to buy me a blackboard. A very effective strategy it turned out to be too…for some time. I scribbled on the blackboard to my hearts content and when I couldn't scribble anymore as the thick layer of crayon wax prevented anymore writing, I wandered to the walls.

Strategy Number I was quickly reassessed and Strategy Number I Version 2 was released. Strategy Number I Version 2 was combing the house with a fine tooth comb for crayons and then throwing them all out and buying me chalk and a new blackboard. This strategy was also very effective...for sometime. I drew to my hearts content on the black board and then when the black board was full of avant garde art, I continued to the walls. My parents looked at each other and realized with a sinking feeling that buying a black board without a duster was not exactly the thing that got you a Nobel Prize for Foresightedness.

Strategy Number I Version 2 was rehashed and Strategy Number I Version 3 was released soon after. According to the specifications of this strategy a duster had to be bought post haste and it was done! This strategy worked fine for some time too and then my parents found a bug in this strategy too. A rather annoying bug that necessitated either one of them to come to my room and clean the blackboard about 567 times a day. You don’t expect a 5 year old, running on 6 to clean a giant black board do you duh! On retrospect that should have held onto Strategy Number I Version 3, because nothing is more effective in curbing a child than asking her to clean up after her. He /she soon learns that throwing mud on the floor is not fun and throwing water on the bed is also not fun nor writing on the wall. But my parents were not yet the hardened parents they are now, and we should excuse their inexperience and subsequent failures at the hands of a very experienced child.

We are err I am digressing peoples and if any of you are not snoring by now, let me tell you of Strategy Number I Version 4 that was rolled out by my parents soon after. My father as usual was the Project Manager and my mother, the Team Lead. It was decided by unanimous consent that they would ‘hire’ two techies to do their lowly jobs as part of Strategy Number I Version 4. Soon two techies were "hired" to do the code (“Clean her blackboard or else!!!”). Pleased with the success of Strategy Number I Version 4, my parents resumed their role as homemaker and breadwinner. All was well in the house after that for day. The lowly techies like most techies got fed of the constant coding err dusting and one of them whose name starts with the alphabet M, devised a novel plan to get rid of the job. He – you wont believe this- introduced a bug in the code!! He secretly bought a box of crayons and gave it to me. Soon the techies were back to their life of doing what they usually do and Project Manager and Team Lead faced another failure.

And pssst they never found how I got the crayons and blamed the school for the free crayons we got in art class.

Blackboard was thrown off and my parents sat and scratched their head for a new strategy! My mother felt that next strategy should have a healthy amount of spanking for better implementation! My Dad was horrified and vehemently turned it down for Strategy Number I Version 5! Strategy Number I Version 5 involved painting about 5 feet of the wall from the ground in oil paint. Strategy Number I Version 5 was a huge success. Fed up of the wall refusing to accept crayon, pencil or water color markings, I retired to other activities. But then the artist in me was not satiated. The urge to scribble soon overcame me and one day my mother gasped and nearly fainted when she beheld her expensive sofa with multicolor balloons carefully drawn with red, green and blue crayons. The dining table too was decorated by art nouvelle and so were the cupboard doors and doors.

My mother had enough and read the riot act to her daughter and her daughter’s father. Henceforth, she declared, every scribbling on the wall and elsewhere had to be cleaned up by the artist and her father. Failing which she would take her sons and go to “her” fathers home! Faced with the possibility of scraping acres of walls, furniture, dogs, neighbors, relations, dhobi etc off wax crayons, the father formulated Strategy Number I Version 6. According to this strategy, the two lowly techies were re-recruited by the scruff of their collars and drafted to remove every piece of writing material in the house on a daily basis and keep it in the shoe box on the cupboard. Strategy Number I Version 6 was a resounding success.

By the time I was eight, the artist in me was deader than a dodo. The family heaved a sigh of relief till the tailor in me raised its head. But that is another story I will tell another day. But for one long year, people in the house had to endure their shorts, shirts and sarees being cut into shreds. Nothing very unusual you might think. But this happened when they were “wearing those pieces of clothing” you see. :p

Have a nice weeks folks!

Happy Dassera!!


Nitin Sisupalan said...

never thought you were a "am an artist but never got the chance to make it big becuase life laughed at me everytime I did so, and finally I turned to writing" type of person... hehehe...
just kiddin...

oh! I bow down before you and your enlightened utter astonishment and whatever it is that makes me comment now..

Now that was art!

Anonymous said...

You were the female version of Calvin! :-)
Good tell me what you grew up to, do you still do all that? Cause I always wonder what Calvin might have grown up to!

mathew said... are one lucky fella...And your dad deserves a a Nobel Prize for Patience!!

I had the habit of drawing everywhere..But at home..hahhaha...I knew very well my Dad back then!! I couldnt afford the nuclear risk!!

So I ventured to do those things in my school notebooks...And "surprisingly" my 200 page notebooks became 20 page notebooks in a few days..I was intelligent to tear away the drawings and immensely proud at how I managed to trick my parents...And oblivious of whats happenning in the real world of parent teacher interactions and unnatural thinning of notebooks..i continued my passion...

And then one fine day..the Central Government(Dad) and State Government(Mom) decided enough is enough...and the punishment?

I was made to write a poem for the school magazine about why i kept drawing in my notebooks and kept tearing papers..that 5 liner was my first poem..hehhe..

later on i was made to sit every evening at the art teachers class room for 30 min..where I could draw my heart out!!:-D

actually this post brings back a lot of memories..

skar said...

Looks like you had a colourful childhood :p

You seem to have taken up the Bohemian lifestyle of writers and artists before ever knowing about it :)

ROFL@"My mother had enough and read the riot act to her daughter and her daughter’s father."

There's this joke, I believe, about how if god were a woman, the world would've looked more colourful. I think you might've been the Jesus of that world :)

Mind Curry said...

what a beautiful mind :)

Praveen said...

hehhehee...If your parents had devised such strategies and started their own company, they could've beat google by now...3 cheers to their patience...and 2 thumbs up to your perseverance:D
gr8 post

Anonymous said...

Sweetheart! This post just made my day! God bless you!


Ajith said...

I have a similar "problem" when i was small. I used to make things with paper. Once dad saw one of the paper boats I made, and gave me a nick name - "vallom chellappan" . :)

Girish said...


Would have loved to have a little sis like u :)

നിലാവ് said...

that was a lovely post ..a nice read on a gloomy monday morning...and it's going to keep me smiling today...
thanks Silverine..

Unknown said...

They may not have got a nobel for the black board idea, but they definitely deserved one for patience...:D

Arun Meethale Chirakkal said...

Vow! Man you've washed away my monday morning blues. Once agin you've proved 'what matters is not what you say, but how'...great read. Thanks & Kudos!!!Ooom I gotta graffiti artists @ home as well. Think I need to be a bit more patient with them and adopt some new strategy.

S said...

LOL!! :D reminded me of the time when i drew a large three petal flower on my parent's room's was red and had a green stem and a single purple leaf! i still draw that flower (reduced in size now) on every page of my office notes copy! its become a signature. ;)

Anonymous said...

awesome post ....ur entire family deserves a nobel for putting up wid you...can imagine wat the guys had to undergo wearing shredded clothing....

Toon Indian said...

wat happens when the writer in u awakens(awakened)..luv to hear that too :P!!!!

Anonymous said...

so that's how a budding talent is nipped in the bud...

i wish they had done when you were writing too... (that would have definitely saved me a few comments that i type out here)

Unknown said...

My sister had invented new ideas to keep her artist alive and away from parents.
She would draw on notebooks and later threw the paper behind the bed. It was only during Diwali "safai" that mom would realize why were her notebooks appearing to be thinner and thinner... :P

Philip said...

I'm guessing your parents didn't even bother to paint the house, knowing that it would be back to square one on the second day. That must have saved them a lot of money :) No wonder they put up with you.

Pramod Abraham said...

I had always wondered how fast a 4/5 year old can do things.They seem to have a voraciousness appetite like of a caterpillar to get on things and when on a roll nothing can stop them..

Reminds cousin sis when abt 4 yrs wanted only my math note book. None of the other books fascinated her(thank God). I thought, at least someone in the family likes math!! That is good news..

So went and bought another book thinking if there was any sudden gene mutation in the family to take a sudden liking for math. But by the time I came back home she had completed drawing all the 197 pages and was looking forward to the new book!!

DD said...

Super post!
The energy (and "creativity") kids have till the age of 6-7 is really unbelievable! And look at us now - responsibility, laziness, work, peer pressure, blah blah...sigh!

silverine said...

nitin: Thank you! :)

ms cris: I went thru other phases too before I grew up like pinching out TV remote buttons, matchbox mania etc. Now I confine myself to helping the kids in the family with their projects.

mathew: My Dad's patience is legendary.

"Unnatural thinning of notebooks" LOL!!! I sincerely hope you write a post on that
since you are an artist unlike me! Hope you do! :)

Karthik: Wow! The possibilities that offers...:p

Praveen: Awesome observation! I guess they put their energies on the wrong investment! :p

Anon: Thank you! :)

Ajith: Fortunately I never caught onto any paper hobbies, because I could never remember the folds. I still need to be shown how to make a paper boat! :)

Girish: Thank you! :)

Nilav: Thank you, hope you had a nice Monday! :)

Abraham: I agree!! :)

Arun: Thank you and be a lil more patient with people, especially if they are little people! :)

S: I guess some figures get stuck in your mind. Mine was to draw the eyes. Lost that habit very recently when I left college and migrated from pen to keyboard.

Kumar: lol! Once my mother was grinding masala, when she finished and turned around, her saree pallu was in pieces :p The tailoring year had the full family watching their backs and each others too lol!!

Rahul: That was so mean! grrr :p

Iyer: That is my tragic story sirji! And perhaps that's why you have to type comments here! :p

Chirpy Paro: Your sister is a much diluted version of me lol! Your people were very lucky compared to mine. :)

Philip: Au contraire they spent a lot of money when repainting the house for Xmas as the crayons had to be scraped off before painting. :) I think they put up with me because abandoning me would invite the wrath of the grandparents!

Pramod: lol! Another Math book lover I see! I think people like me liked the math book as it has so much space in between sums and beside it, unlike books in which people write lengthy notes that leaves us no space! :)

DD: Very true! The determination we had and the zeal...all gone now..sigh!

Anonymous said...

Sooper post!!!!

This is my best friend everyone! You are awesome gal!

thomas said...

I can so relate to this as I've 2 younger sisters. What's the problem with you people? Drawing all over the walls!! Well, the habit has faded away, but I still blame them for everything! There's noone else for me to blame! Sigh!

Anonymous said...

Oh cruel world... An artist nipped at the bud. My dad's job was relatively simpler in my toddler years. I had the attention span of a comatose gnat.

My dad wasn't an ardent proponent of punishments either, and he still gets flak for it from my other relatives.

If I caught on to a new fad, like doodling on walls or ripping magazines or trimming rupee notes, dad always calmed himself knowing that he'd only need to wait it out for a short while before I lose interest and pick up on something new and hopefully less worrisome.

So yes, my dad's job WAS simpler at the time... Sure he had to deal with immaturity, thoughtlessness, carelessness, absent mindedness, and a total lackadaisical approach to life, but which dad hasn't had to deal with that?

His complaint is that he STILL has to deal with immaturity, thoughtlessness, carelessness, absent mindedness, and a total lackadaisical approach to life.

I wouldn't trade places with him.

Amey said...

If your brother's teachers found his excuses about homework corny during your "artist" period, I shudder to think what he had to go through during your "tailor" period.

Princess Stefania said...

I never got to draw on my walls. A childhood devoid of childish pleasures.
(Walls are paintable. My baby sister went through a 'gardening phase' where she clipped off my dogs whiskers with a pair of pruning shears. They never grew back.)

Anonymous said...

looking fwd for the "Memoirs of a suppresse artist part II:Tailor tales" post

Salil said...

Hi suppressed artist,

When viewing a sunset, did you used to think in terms of cadmium yellow (light hue), salmon and gold, a tinted teal mixed with gold for the water....?

'the writing was on the wall for my parents that the house walls were for writing' - lol


Anonymous said...

You have a totally amazing blog here! Keep writing!

Arunima said...

My niece Ankita is doing all that. I was angry with my parents, her loving grandparents for letting her do all that. She even scribbled on the car. Bah! The house was repainted when I got married. I don't know how it is now.

Sriram said...

Well I didn't take to the wall... it was the floor. My parents' strategy was replacing the red-oxide floor with ceramic tiles :)
Well your when-i-was-small-posts remind me of Calvin!
ROFL @ the description of brothers!

Abhi said...

Awesome description of childhood. I used to thrash my sister when once she took to drawing on my notebook. My dad'd given me a free hand when it came to implement discipline in my sister's life :). So no drawings n no cuttings :). Btw i really wish i'd seen th look on ur bros' face when they read this post :d

Anonymous said...

Your parents never thought of giving you notebook?

Anonymous said...

you suck at lying... and your parents never found out about the crayons...

some people are born lucky

silverine said...

Happy Dassera everyone!!

Nats: I guess you were drunk or on pot when you made that comment! ;)

Thomas: That my dear that is because we are a very creative people and need an outlet for our creative juices to flow! :| If only people would understand this...sigh!

hammy: LOL!! I remember relatives telling my dad that a good spanking will cure my 'hobbies' and my Dad telling them that he hadn't them for advice! :p Shut them up good and proper forever! :)

Amey: My dad preempted that by making sure they had enough uniforms to replace any which met their end with my creativity. ;)

Kumar: :) Let me gather enough info from the victims then I will tell all! :p

Salil: Horrors! That is sacrilege!!! :-O ONLY Camlin shades came my mind when I saw a sunset. Please do not doubt my loyalties X-(

Joby: Thank you! :)

Arunima: lol!! The walls are back in her custody let me assure you! :p

Sriram: Your parents sound like mine! I never took to writing on the floor somehow. And my bro's were mere cogs in the complex machinations of my dads strategies! :p

Abhi: Actually it was them who filled in a lot of details in my memory gap! :)

Anon: Well if they asked they would have found out dumbo! When every single piece of crayon is removed from the house you assume it comes from school or friends duh!!!! Attempt at sarcasm noted. Condolences on the resounding failure :p

p.s I doubt if you are the real "innocent bystander" who comments here sometimes.

Anonymous said...

@silverine: A good spanking? It's that kind of thoughts that puts unfair boundaries on creative thinking. I'm glad your dad took the high road.

Spare the rod and spoil the relatives' mood, or something like that. Spare the rod for stuff like these. After all, walls are just walls.

If anyone deserved three resounding thwaks, it's the resident smuggler at the Philip house.

After the infamous crayon ban, your M managed to smuggle in the illegal substance with great gusto. Sure it might be hard to resist pampering little sisters, but that put your dad's strategies... how do I put this... out of whack.

Anonymous said...

As mother of a couple of monkeys errr... I mean sons. I have always pined for a daughter of my own. Not any more. you have cured me!! :-)))))

silverine said...

Binny V A: You mean they make books with never ending pages? :)

Hammy: M was not pampering me, he cleverly manipulated the situation to his advantage! :)

Shail chechi: Thanks for all the kind words and the trouble you have taken to leave comments! :)

nitin said...

In whole story i am just thinking what might be strategy no 2 .

nb.. said...

heheee :) amazing post...

N!$#@N^# said...

oh my.... did Inida loose a MF Husaineee ???

Cynic in Wonderland said...

Had the same at my grandmas house. after a dozen odd cousins, all off different ages, they just gave up and the walls bore the handiwork of all of us for years until the youngest turned 15 or so.

Now the cousins kids are at it.

Anonymous said...

Well, his selfish motivations are certainly not going to look good in his rap sheet. I was looking at the best case scenario there.

The notorious smuggler may be given three of the best. Nice surprise from dad when he comes home next.

That's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

silverine said...

Nitin: :) I dont think there was a strategy No 2 as I soon outgrew all those god given talents! :p

Nikita: Thanks gal! :)

Nishan: Yes!!!! :(

cynic: Same in my grandparents house! :)

Hammy: M had a lot of aces up his sleeve and he used it when necessary and Dad never found out! :)

Divs said...

Everytime i read your posts i land up laughing so much that my stomach hurts! :P

You have a flair for writing.. :)

Zahid said...

Zahid the commentor is back after a long time....

Silverine, there must have been one more flaw in the strategy nmber 1 version 3. The dust after being cleaned from the black board would fall on the ground and with such a high frequency throughout the day that a layer of duster dust 80 sm in height would have formed. This when mixed with the kitchen and bathroom water would turn into a semi solid liquid mixture and would start flowing in the house and slowly in the neighbouring areas. Even police had to come to your house to complain on a mechanically made dust yatch that could be rowed into your house. Yay !! yawn !!!

And silverine, i can even estimate the trouble of your family with your sewing skills. Because of you your mother would have had to throw away all the knives and blades even in the kitchen too lest you substitute them for the scissors which were already thrown out. And a time came when you started sewing by growing long nails. At that time your father would have devised his new strategy of gifting you a brand new boxing gloves on the newest and earliest ocassion tht he can create.

confucius said...

This one is too good...:)...eagerly waiting to read 'Memoirs of a suppressed tailor'.
A suggestion...why dont you include this on your blowing section - The trumpet blowing section

laxmi said...

this is MINDBLOWING!! even from you :) pls put this on the favorites list...