When I was in 4th grade, I drew strange human figures with two hands spread out at odd right angles, bursting firecrackers or flying kites. I was praised by all and I felt proud. My father is an artist, thought my little brain skipping with happiness, and it is only natural for me to be a prodigy too. I accepted all the appreciations with a wide grin and a ready smile. Every time the relatives came to visit us, out came my drawing notebook and out poured my tiny renditions of the life I witnessed around me.
But as I grew up, the clones of crooked figures that stretched across white pages pleased me no more. I imagined fields of meadows, bees buzzing in the wind, white fleecy clouds floating across and children playing catching butterflies. But as I took the pen and brush, suddenly they had a whim of their own and lines jagged here and there, scrawling ants and scarecrows, laughing up at my miserable attempts.
Initially, I felt confused. Where did my skills suddenly disappear to? Why couldn’t I draw the way I saw the things? Why couldn’t they be as special as before? Then I felt frustrated and perhaps even a little angry at myself. Insecurity grew in my head, spreading slowly like pond scum. Was I ever really that good or did they just praise me because I was just a child, I wondered sometimes. What I saw in my mind’s eye, I never again could bring them on the paper in front of me. Dissatisfied with myself, I vowed to move on. Over the years, the pens gathered dust and the sketch board remained forgotten, lost under the desk. I ultimately told myself, I had grown up, this is what adulting feels like.
Then one day, during a lecture in college, bored and hungry, I scribbled absentmindedly in the margins of my copy. I forgot how funny the zigzag lines looked or how crooked my stick figures stood. I looked at the doodles, tiny misshaped pizzas and peculiarly tidy miniature cone ice-creams, thought of the food and smiled, remembering the taste. I scribbled some more, recalling every other thing that randomly popped into my mind. As the teacher droned on, my copy was suddenly full of my favourite things. I realised, I need not be a prodigy to enjoy doodling.
I didn’t have to be good at it, it was only meant to be fun!