Sunday, 3 May 2009


One old rechargeable battery. A seven-year-old movie ticket. A tie pin with a chimp on it. An old, chipped, marijuana-leaf locket. A pouch with Grandpa’s spectacle lenses, bottle thick and slightly scratched. A pink pocket comb, fading to white. A compass, rusted. A gift pen case.

Stories, all of them. Memories of an age long forgotten. Gingerly, he traced the edge of the tie pin. Picked up the pouch. Felt the weight of the lenses in his palm. Held them up to his face. Looking at the world through his grandfather’s eyes. Reverently, he returned them to their pouch, and his fingers came to rest on the pen case.

Carefully, he lifted it out of the box; for a while, just staring at it. Then slowly, he lifted the lid. Lying in repose on the grooves in the fabric inside, like the sculptures of kings on tombs, dormant, were four pieces of chalk. Only one of them was intact, retaining it’s perfectly cylindrical shape. With trembling fingers, he lifted the other three pieces, one by one, out of the case, setting them on the table. Two rooks, one pawn.

And it all came back to him. The days of sucking up to his teachers in school, just so they’d put him in charge of the class cupboard. Bringing them fresh boxes of chalk from the staff room. Filching them slyly to make rocketships, cars. And a full-blown, self-made chess set.

The days of sitting at the back of the class, scratching away at a piece of chalk with the compass, an old and disused pen cap, and the comb – his greatest discovery in the art of chalk-carving. A tool with ruthless efficiency at making straight-line cuts. The memories all came flooding back.

Absently, without even thinking about it, he picked up the compass and the last piece of chalk, starting the second pawn.

19 member protest rally:

Anonymous said...

You're back :D

I liked this... it sort of goes with my latest post. Plus I wasn't a chalk carver but I used to eat chalk till I was 8! :P

Jhayu said...

@ ki. (Or should I say ka =p)
It appears so, for now.

And yeah, loads of people chew on chalk. I know someone my age who still does... =p

Peru said...

Vannakkam back.
Is that you?

Jhayu said...

@ Peru.
So it would seem... =p

Trinaa said...

aaahh! welcome back hai ji.. :)

chalk reminds of the fine powder we used to collect from d dusters n spread on the teachers' seat. school was fun! :D

The Rat... said...

Was that u or a piece of fiction???

:-) memories re-visited.. hmmm

yash suchak said...

This is the reason why I keep coming here. And you know that :)

Anonymous said...

You do, you DO?

And why 'ka'? :P

Menaka said...

this reminds me of our walks from math class to JC building in FYJC :)

Preeti said...

Very well written...

transported me back in time to days when i did and felt similarly.

what are memories after all but lives in 'itselves'. lives that we have lived, that we live. lives that we will die with.

beautiful, jayant.

PS: good you're back!

Jhayu said...

@ Trinaaaaaaaa.
Thanking you hai, ji!
And that makes me a little glad I didn't go to your school... =p Did you do any of that stuff to each other?

@ Ratty.
= ) Perhaps a little bit of both...

@ Chusks.
And hearing that from you is why I write. And you know it, too.

@ ki.
Yeah... want an introduction?
And well, I do kinda sorta know your name now, na?

@ blipblip.
Did I carve chalks even then?

@ Preeti.
Was I really gone? Who knows?

Anonymous said...

Yes yes :)
And no intro, thanks. I may start off again and have to join Chalk Eaters Anoynmous :P

shesturningblue said...

Back with a good post. Nothing like reminiscing. And fitting like it once used too...perfect:)

Jhayu said...

@ ki.
Ooh! You have a club? I don't have Chalk Carvers Anonymous =(

@ fishy!!!
= ) Tanki!! And yeah, really nothing like it. I'm a little confused on the 'fitting' thing, though...

Trinaa said...

u? in my school? the Loreto sisters would have been scandalised..a guy in their sacred convent school! aaarrgh! ;)

Jhayu said...

@ Tinnniiiiiii.
You were in Loretto? Chembur?

Trinaa said...

lol! nope..i dont live in mumbai. :P

n my word verification is appropriate! ;)

Anonymous said...

OH noo!!! Form a club =P

Jhayu said...

@ Tiniiiiiiii.
Damn. For a second there, I was wondering if I knew you. =p
And yes, very fitting. =p

@ ki.
I know!!! Maybe I will, though I don't want to be a part of some defunct club on Facebook...

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