Every day offers us a new beginning (Representational image) Image Credit: Gulf News

On a recent day, Little Princess wondered if she could live inside her laptop, like a pixel. I worried if this thought was healthy and turned to the husband for his thoughts. “She has taken after you,” he exclaimed. I like to believe that he was talking about my creativity and so didn’t prod further. Most days the noise that emanates from the corner that doubles as her classroom doesn’t bother me as it is better than the silence that keeps me guessing if she is on the road to discovering the virtual world or at class.

Those days when things refuse to go as planned, this noise adds to the irritation. As one such day waned on, I got a message from Mother — a picture of a note written on a paper torn off a book, signed by Rinku. She wished to know if it was to be kept or trashed.

The picture took me back to a school day when the new girl — Rinku, joined us. Rinku was special because she was differently abled. She was quick to make friends and soon became one of us. During PE lessons, she sat beside the field and watched us playing.

More by the writer

Zooming on to one particular day, when Ms. Hannah — our PE teacher — announced that we were going to play baseball. As far as I was concerned, all games were the same, because I was clumsy and terrible at all forms of them. I tried to feign a headache and join Rinku as a spectator but Ms. Hannah thought otherwise. I tried a quick prayer for the bell that will announce dispersal but that too went unheard.

Soon, my hands were tucked into oversized gloves and a baseball bat was thrust into my shaky hands. The striker pitched the ball and I smacked it. I didn’t drop the bat, but hurled it too. The bat went flying and hit Ms. Hannah on her knee. Ignorant of this, I excitedly zipped past one base to the next until I circuited to make my first home run.

My victory went unnoticed

At the finish, instead of applause, I got cold stares — even from my team mates. The only reason I had made that home run was because most of my classmates were tending to the hurt teacher. I was genuinely sorry for hurting her, but was also upset that my victory went unnoticed. The rest of the day was spent in detention and writing — ‘I will pay attention in PE.’

Rinku had been spectator to these events. By the end of that school year, everyone had learnt to keep a safe distance when my hands held anything bigger than a pencil and Rinku was moving to another school. On her last day, she gave us each her parting gift — a handwritten story that she had been spectator to. Mine had one that ended with a home run and a hurt teacher. The note ended with ‘Congratulations!’

That day I celebrated my one and only victory as far as any sport was concerned because a fifth grader had chosen to overlook her shortcomings and engage in what she was good at — weaving positivity from little stories from the world around her.

That bad hair day when Mother sent Rinku’s message suddenly took a U-turn and became brighter. Even the noise around me was bearable because I realised that it was not the situation itself but how we reacted to it that mattered.

Every day is an empty canvas and it is up to us to decide whether we will colour it bright or paint it in various shades of gloom. Even during these rather challenging times, our safety, our well-being, happiness and health is in our hands. Rinku’s message will not make me a better sportsman but it reminds me that life is still beautiful.

— Pranitha Menon is a freelance writer based in Dubai. Twitter: @MenonPranitha