Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ten Paise

Do you remember the first time you realized that you wanted to be a writer? That, perhaps you were a writer? Do you remember the first actual piece you wrote? I do.

I was seven and in second grade and we were supposed to write our first essay. Such a grown-up assignment. We were supposed to write about a ten paisa coin. That was my favorite coin. Light in the hand, its edges wavy, there was something almost flower-like about it. It's sad that most young Indian kids have probably never seen that old ten paisa coin, what with the one, five, and ten, even the twenty-five coins pretty much out of circulation.

While most other kids described what the coin looked like and what they could buy with it (a virultently red popsicle that stained your mouth, tongue, and lips vampire-red) I wrote about being a ten paisa coin. I started out new, bright and shiny and was given to a little girl who took it to the circus. But the coin fell out from a hole in her pocket and went for an adventure around the country with the circus. Eventually somehow, the little girl--now a teenager-- got it back as change when she bought something.

For some reason while rummaging through some Swiss francs to pay for parking I remembered my little essay as I rubbed my thumb against the edge of a coin. The intervening years fell away into nothingness. And just for a moment I was seven again, discovering the joy of creating my own worlds and realities.


dipali said...

You're tagged!

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

Very nicely written...i am trying to remember my first experience in writing..but i can't. :(

came here via desipundit. :)

Anonymous said...

I remember mine.. it was a story for a newspaper kids section..

sra said...

Lovely piece, Jawahara! Came here through Desi Pundit. I don't remember the 1 paisa coins but I do remember the 10 and 20 paise ones. On and off, I come across some new-ish 25 paise ones too.

Kirori Mal said...

They made us write a lot of essays, mostly about Gandhi. It was a 'sarkari' school.

Jawahara Saidullah said...

Thanks all. And Kirori Mal, so did all those Gandhi essays at the sarkari school make you a Gandhian philosopher....or did too much information take you in the other direction?

asuph said...

hi jawahara,

you're the same jawahara from sulekha, right? i remember your "mirrors" piece. one of the finest pieces of writings i've come across in blog world.

enjoyed this one too. i'm bookmarking you! glad to have found your blog (again).


Jawahara said...

Yes, asuph, the same one who wrote Mirrors :-). Thanks for the compliment. I truly appreciate it. Welcome to my blog. Hope you like it. Will visit yours soon as well.