On a lazy afternoon, sitting on her study table Ira pushed herself back along with the chair, as she was done with the third chapter of her maths. She trudged out of the room and headed towards the washroom for quick refreshment. Ira unlocked her hair which was locked up into a bun since morning. While doing so, Ira noticed her face to be healthier than the normal days when she used to go school. No pimples, no bumps, no blackheads. “Staying indoor during the lockdown is quite beneficial for skin,” Ira exclaimed. But as soon as she put off her spectacles, she observed slight dark circles around her eyes that put her off. Ira wished to get rid of them at once, she wished to brighten her skin tone with some face creams or home-made face packs, but this contemplation didn’t seem to satisfy Ira. After washing her face. she took a notice of her features – starting from the shape of her eyebrows to the overall contour of her face. Faces always attract her as she is fond of sketching portraits with different expressions.
While brooding over her face and contemplating her skin tone, she dismissed her beauty conscious thoughts and confided to herself, ‘Have my dark circles and dusky skin complexion got to do anything with my studies, career or skills? No, a big NO! Then why should I be worried about them? Is it merely to impress others? I should eat healthy and maintain myself in a healthy manner and I think that’s enough to have a good countenance, I don’t have to run after a fair skin complexion.”
She then stepped out of washroom, her face completely drenched and fragranced with her face wash. She patted her face with her polka dotted towel, grabbed her phone and lolled over one of the dining chairs. While she was going through her whatsapp messages, her eyes stuck over a message received in her class whatsapp group, which was created for the online classes and other important works related to assignments. “On the eve of Gandhi Jayanti, our school is organizing a painting competition on the topic, ‘THE CHANGE YOU WANT.’ Interested students can whatsapp their entries to the drawing teacher latest by 3rd of October,” said the message.
‘Should I go for this?’ Ira questioned herself. Ira’s eyes sparkled at the thought of putting her point across regarding the ill conception of beauty. Ira seemed to be quite clear about what she wanted to paint.
Ira was happy to express her thought on painting, a thought that she always nurtured regarding the beauty and its erred conception. The lockdown had given her ample amount of time to think and do things beyond her studies.
In the morning after finishing her online classes, Ira took out her drawing file and painting materials. While looking at the previous paintings in her file, she realized that because of studies and running after marks, she had lost her passion somewhere. Ira now decided to make the most of her lockdown time and to paint her thoughts. She took her file and drawing materials in her arms and placed them over her study table.
She divided the page into two equals and drew two different faces. On the right hand side of the painting she drew a half face of ‘Kali Maa,’ a revered goddess of power and liberty. The background of this scene was painted with bright appealing yellow colour. The right side of the painting was captioned with statements like Maa Kali ki jay, she is the preserver of mother nature. On the other side of the painting, Ira drew the half face of a dusky girl along with a few hands offering fairness creams and bleaches to the girl. The background of this side was painted with dull blue color and was captioned with statements like – Get some treatment done, you would have been prettier if you were fair, how will you get married? The top of the painting had a caption saying – On the ground where Maa Kali is being worshipped , ironically being dark is looked down upon.
Once Ira was done with the finishing work of her painting, she clicked a clear picture of her painting and whatsapped it to her drawing teacher. Ira was eagerly waiting for the results of the painting competition. Apart from painting something worthwhile after so long, Ira was also happy for the fact that lockdown has given her something good, the time to follow her passion for painting.
One night while scrolling her whatsapp feed, Ira’s eyes rolled over the message that announced the results of the painting competition. Ira was on cloud nine to see that she had bagged the first position. Ira hastened to her father’s room to tell him about her achievement. Ira was happy to put across her idea of change and to paint it down after so long. Ira was extremely thankful to the quality time that the lockdown has granted her.
The story won the first prize in our recently held Story Writing Competition (Theme: Lockdown Tales). The story is a work of fiction. It is written by class 10th student Mayal Arshad of D.A.V Public School, Jasola Vihar, New Delhi.