What would I tell the ideal reader of my blog if I were given a chance and undivided attention? Well, given the love I have for story-telling, I’ll probably spin a story. Let’s get started then, shall we?
The Donald Duck
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who studied in the third grade. One day her teacher told the class, “The school is going to publish a magazine soon. It will contains stories, poems and pictures. So, your homework today is to create something on your own for the magazine.”
The children were very excited. They went to the teacher and asked her, “Miss, will our names be printed on the book?”
“Yes! Your names will appear on the magazine. But, remember, not everyone’s writing/painting will get selected. We’ll get a lot of submissions, and we can only publish the best. And your creations are to be submitted to Ira Das of the Fourth Grade. Is that clear?”
“Yes, miss!” The kids said in unison.
Now, our little girl – let’s call her Mercy – was very excited about seeing her name in print. On the way back home, she thought and thought and thought, wondering what to come up with for the school magazine. Later in the afternoon, while she was watching her favourite Donald Duck cartoon on TV, she had the idea.
Mercy rushed to her room, and went through her comic books. There was a big picture of the Duck wearing a blue cap and a blue sailor dress which she loved very much. I am going to draw this, she thought.
For the next two hours, Mercy sat with her painting copy, pencils and eraser, and the prized collection of sketch pens that her father had gifted her on her last birthday. When she was finished, Donald’s eyes looked more droopy than it was in the original picture, and his cap was too big for him. But Mercy thought it was perfect.
The next day, Ira came to her class. The third graders surrounded Ira, shouted and clapped as they showed each other their creations. Ira had a tough time organizing them and collecting the submissions.
Two months later, the teacher distributed copies of the magazine to the third graders. Mercy was giddy when she took her copy. Her picture had to be there, wasn’t it?
Mercy turned over the pages and scanned them quickly. The pictures were printed in colour, and the names of the contributors were written underneath them.
Twenty pages… twenty-five… thirty… but where was Mercy’s Donald Duck?
At last, on the thirty-seventh page, Mercy found it! Yes, it was just what she had submitted: Donald wearing his blue cap and blue sailor dress. Wow! Mercy jumped on her seat, and showed the picture to her friend Lily, who was sitting beside her.
“But this is not your picture,” Lily told Mercy. She pointed at the name below the picture, scribbled in a small font. It said: Ira Das, Fourth Grade.
“But this is my picture! I drew it.” The tears bristled in Mercy’s eyes. How could Ira give her own name to it?
Mercy walked to the teacher, holding the magazine to her chest. Choking between her tears, she told the teacher about her picture.
The teacher wiped the tears and said, “Don’t cry, dear. Tell me something, did your write your name in the picture that you submitted?”
“No, Miss.” Mercy had been so excited to have created something that beautiful that she had totally forgotten the teacher’s instruction to write her name and grade on her submission.
“It’s okay, dear. Ira had to take care of so many submissions that perhaps she had no idea who had given it to her. It doesn’t matter. Here, give me your magazine.”
Mercy handed her magazine to the teacher. The teacher took out her red pen and struck through Ira’s name. In her beautiful, slanted handwriting, she wrote Mercy’s name below it.
At last, Mercy smiled. Then the teacher made her stand before the class and said, “Class! I have an announcement. Please turn to page thirty-seven in your magazine. Do you see a picture of Mr. Donald?”
“Yes, miss!” The class chimed.
“Well, there has been a confusion. This sketch was made by your friend, Mercy. Somehow, they printed it wrongly under Ira’s name. So, I’ll ask Mercy to write her name on the blackboard now, and you all copy her name down under the picture, and scratch out Ira’s name, okay?”
The teacher handed Mercy a white chalk. She walked to the blackboard, and in big letters, wrote: Donald Duck by Mercy Mendoza.
In case you were wondering, the story is based on real incidents. Mercy is me in my third grade! However, there was no announcement for me in my class mentioning any confusion whatsoever, regarding the creator of the Donald Duck. I guess, I just wanted a better ending, and that’s why I wrote this story. It was my first-ever submission, after all.
I regret to say that I don’t have the copy of that magazine anymore. We moved to a different house, and somewhere along the way, the magazine got lost. I still draw sometimes. Here’s one of the pictures I drew back in 2011, under my pen name Mystic Mousumy. I have since dropped that name.
The Woman with the Sitar
© 2015 Arpita Pramanick