Anusha was on a long vacation and had rented out this particular cottage facing the Vembanad Lake. She was writing the manuscript for her third book and wanted to be at peace. Nothing like the lake stretching into the vast sky with birds of various species flocking around and greenery all around. Peace this was.
One morning as Anusha was walking out of the resort gate for her customary morning walk, she saw Annakutty entering the resort with her son 11-year old son Samuel. Annakutty was responsible for the overall cleanliness of the resort, the laundry and the dish washing. Samuel used to accompany Annakutty almost on all days. Anusha didn’t know Malayalam and hence had always tried to communicate with him through gestures. And he responded back in a similar manner. But today was different. Anusha gestured to Samuel and he replied back. No. Not with gestures anymore, but with words. He said, “Anusha chechi, shall I come along?”
Anusha was taken aback. She had been staying there since past 11 days and she had somehow assumed that Samuel did not know any language other than Malayalam.
“Do you know English?”
“Yes. I do.”
“Then why haven’t you been talking to me since the first day.”
“I thought you had speech disorder and that’s why you were using actions to communicate till I saw you speaking to the resort manager yesterday.”
And then they laughed and laughed.
During the course of their walk Anusha learned that Samuel lost his father, the only earning hand in the family, two years ago. And that is when he had to leave schooling. He informed that their family consisted of him, his mother, his ailing grandparents and his younger brother and sister who have been admitted to a school for economically disadvantaged. His mother was now the sole bread-winner for the family.
This is when Anusha saw the wire roll and the mesh that he was carrying with him almost everyday. She asked him what was it meant for. Samuel said, “Wait for another 2-3 days and I’ll show you what it is meant for.”
A bit amused but she agreed.
After 3 days, Samuel knocked on the door of Anusha’s cottage.
“Chechi, this is for you.”
“Wow! Where did you get this from?”
“Here! This one too.”
Anusha was touched beyond words.
“You didn’t have to buy these for me, Samuel. Why did you spend all that hard earned money of your Mom?”
“Chechi, I didn’t buy these. I made these out of that wire roll and mesh.”
“What!! You did.”
She was awestruck. The miniature versions of a cycle-rickshaw and a designer bike were no less than a fine piece of artwork by any well-known artist.
That’s when Samuel informed her that after helping the resort people get vegetables and other necessary stuff from the market, he spends his entire day in the backyard of the resort preparing multiple such pieces and to get them ready for sale during the Vela or Pooram at the temple and church in their locality. That adds to the income of the family.
“How much do you sell these for?”
“Rs.40 to Rs.50 per piece. Some people bargain and take it for Rs.20 too.”
“How much time does it take to make one piece?”
“At least 3-4 days.”
“And how many pieces do you sell during the festival?”
“About 35-40 pieces.”
“In a year?”
Two months later…
“Chechi, here are the fifty pieces that you had asked me to get ready for you.”
“And Sam, here is your money.“, she said handing over Rs.10000 to Sam.
“Do not underestimate your own worth. Do charge for your time, effort and quality of work. I’ll send these out to the various art emporiums across the country and will get you repeated orders at a better pricing. You keep doing the good work.“
“Thank you so much, chechi!” Sam said as he hugged her tightly.
The room boy came back and informed that the vehicle was waiting for her.
As Anusha was getting into the car, she stopped and called Sam.
“Here, this is your fee receipt for the year. From tomorrow go back to the school. I’ve arranged with the resort manager to get you the books, uniform and other necessary stuff. Do not drop out of school for any reason. And call me any time for anything that you need.“
As the car went out of sight, Sam was still waving his hand with tears of gratitude in his eyes.
This post is part of the WordPress Daily Prompts : 365 Writing Prompts program where the aim is to post at least once a day based on the prompts that they have provided. Today’s prompt is, “Art appreciation: Do you need to agree with an artist’s lifestyle or politics to appreciate their art? To spend money on it?“