Monday, July 30, 2012

The Dark Night.

            Copying had never been my forte. Even now it is not. Back in school, it always had to be the hard-work doing all the favours to me.But then, when I saw copy-cats flourish, I always felt that I should try a hand in it. If not for immediate gain , at least in future I could tell that I was a “cool” kid in school who sat on last bench and copied in tests too. Infact other than excelling at the academics, these were the two weird goals I had in school

            Sitting on last bench was not a problem at all. After gaining enormous reputation of being a “good boy” in school, I was one of the trusted members who could sit in last bench and still escape from being labelled as one of the mischief makers.And for this reason alone, I was one of the lords of last bench in my 9th and 10th std.

Mission 1 was accomplished. But then a bigger task awaited.Copying !!!

            As I said before , I could never make up my mind to copy in tests or exams but then the pressure was building, I had to do it.Why? Because, I was in tenth standard. If not now, the dream would be a dream forever. It was now or never.

           It was at this precise moment a heavenly announcement came out. There would be a drawing competition in our school the next week. I felt as if I was born again. Not because I loved drawing or was an artist. Because this would be one the rarest opportunities for me to try my hand at copying .I felt like that ice-age scrat getting that acorn !!

“Itni shiddat se maine tumhe paane ki koshish ki hai ki har zarre ne mujhe tumse milane ki saazish ki hai....kehte hai agar kisi cheez ko dil se chaaho toh poori kaynath tumhein usse milane ki koshish mein lag jaati hai"- This was indeed written for such situations.

Copying for the sake of it was very weird thing to wish at that stage but yes the universe had planned it for me.

         So the D-Day came. For the first time in my life , I had entered a competition without any preparation and I was loving it. Also there was no fear of failure coz as the teachers said, “Winning is not important, participating is !!” and I always did only  important things ;) I was fully prepared. Armed with water colours, sketch pens, coloured pencils and crayons , the soldier was ready. Why all of them you would ask? C’mon when you do not have talent and are a parasite , you never know who will support you and what you will need. So carrying everything was the obvious choice. Yes, I was damn intelligent even then.

         Next step was to find the host from which I could benefit from. My close friends would be the worst choice for obvious reasons. They did not even have the T from talent. Also I had researched that the first rule of copying is that no one should have an inkling that it is going to happen. So I had to choose the most low profile candidate.My search began.

        And then I saw her. Champion of drawing competitions from 3 consecutive years, the probable ((great,great)^4) grand daughter of Raja Ravi Varma ,the magician of colors Miss Madhuri. ( Name not changed, any my schoolmates who read this can tell this story to her as she does not know this and is not in my contact either J ). I decided I am going to copy her drawing.
Reason :  When you are hunting for the first time and come face to face with a deer and a tiger, it’s better to shoot the tiger for 2 reasons:
1.      It's a matter of pride !! Bada haath maara.Make it large I say !!
2.      If you don't shoot it, it will kill you .  Yes, I had awesome common sense even then.

Wait a min .Phone call
(tring tring…
Poor  Me :Hello, Praveen here..
Voice : $^%$#^$&*%$@$&_(*$&(
Poor  Me :Oh Menaka Gandhi, Great pleasure to hear from you
Voice : #@#@$#$##%^&%$^@%#@^
Poor  Me : Oh no no, I did not mean killing tiger is good. It was just an example.
Voice : #@#@$#$##%^&%$^@%#@^
Poor Me: I did not mean that too .. really, not even killing deers. No, Salman is not my favourite hero. I understand that there are only 1411 tigers in India , excluding tiger balms and biscuits..
Voice : #@#@$#$##%^&%$^@%#@^
Poor Me: Ok Ok , I will do that.

Ok Guys, Sorry for that .I am back. She wants me to put an ad about preventing tiger poaching and change the example ..

Changing the example :
As they say "Reach for the moon. If you miss, at least you'll be among the stars..."
(Ok , Mr. NASA, I know that stars are actually lightyears away from moon and the line literally is stupid but it was not me who came up with it.I took it coz it matches with my story)

So I thought it was better to copy from the best artist and settled in a comfortable place near her where I got unobstructed view of the painting she was about to draw.

The theme was  : Nature - Day /Night.

 Beginners luck was working.Easy I thought, Nature was the most common drawings on earth.
Draw 2 mountains , one sun in between, 2 birds, one river , a boat, a field and a house . That's it !! And it was obvious she would draw that …until…..

She took out her brush dipped into black paint and started to colour the sheet black.

           Amused at first ,I  slowly realized that it was Nature at night !!
Copying was getting fun. Else I would have always drawn that boring nature.Atleast this was something new. My prayers were being answered !!

          I confidently took out my brush , dipped into black water colour and started painting the sheet black. For the next 5 minutes , I did not feel the need to  look at her sheet .And when I completed converting the Kora kaagaz to kaala, I raised my head to see the next step only to realize that I had goofed up a tiny bit. It was obvious that she was drawing the night, but then her night had a moon too.She had carefully put a circle on the sheet before painting it black and when she removed the circle later , one could see an awesome full moon in the dark sky !!
Genius !!
And me?? Well , I was learning the side-effects of copying-Double work.
I took out the brush, dipped in white color and drew the moon, it looked something like a white patch but I was sure I could convince anyone that it was a moon.(If at all anyone cared to ask what it was).

Next came the trees , grass and house, which were in white/yellow colour. For the first time I was drawing nature in totally different colours !!.

And with this excitement and the need to catch up with her speed , I started drawing them without realizing that I had not waited enough to let the black colour dry. Now the white was spreading everywhere.Thinking quickly, I added more white and was successful in converting my trees to rivers !!

Before taking the next step I waited for everything to dry and started keenly observing the next step.
The paint dried, and so did my tongue –on seeing what came next.
Just when I thought the worst copying nightmare was over, I saw her bring out a tooth brush and some small stones

Oh my God, what were the tooth brush  and stones doing in the drawing competition , I thought.

And my  next few minutes were  spent in awe.
She covered the moon with the same white circle she used earlier, put one small stone on it. Covered the other  trees , grass and house with another sheet and secured using the stone . All that was left was pitch black sky.She dipped her toothbrush into white paint and started sprinking it with her fingers on the black portions and abracadabra… the stars started appearing from nowhere .
It was the colour magician at her work again.

After five minutes , all I could see was an awesome painting of a beautiful dark night complete with trees, house , grass , moon and of course the star lit sky.
Man…she was good .
She had reached for the moon and the stars too !!

After lifting my surprised lower jaw off the ground, I regained my composure and started wondering how to copy that !!
Without any other option, I took my poor old brush, dipped in white paint and made the tip as sharp as possible and drew the individual stars carefully.
My beginners luck had faded completely in the terror of darkness.

No, I cannot mention how it came out finally.
All I can say is she gave the title to her picture as “The Dark Night” and I named my picture as 
“The crow pooped on my umbrella !!”

She won the first prize , yet again. Good for her. But then the copy was not left far behind.I got special mention in my class and a box of crayons as an award for my out-of-the-box  drawing with the most unusual theme !!!

(No, this is not the one I drew )
Mission 2 accomplished…. With a thunderous applause !!

---------------------------------THE END----------------------

Dedications :
Thanks Christopher Nolan for the catchy title and amazing movie.
Thanks to all who pinged me to ask about my new blog over the months and literally forced me to write one. Hope the next one does not take so long.

Disclaimers:  Copying worked that time,but does not work always. Strive for originality – atleast it gives the satisfaction of doing something new.
I was really serious on the save-our-tigers link. Please do act.


  1. I remember you telling this to me. But reading it again was really entertaining. Hey search in FB for maduri you may find. BTW Manju was Virus of your class, same way Maduri was kind a virus in our class :)

  2. ಹೂವಿನ ಜೊತೆ ನಾರು ಸ್ವರ್ಗ ಸೇರ್ತು ಅಂದ್ರೆ ಇದೇನೇ ...

  3. At first when I saw your Blog thought u have rattled for so long and it will take me really long :-P but I must tell myself the next time hey this Praveen's blog and it ought to be good...

    Superbly Narrated like as usual... I loved Menaka Gandhi's part :-) Looking forward to ur next one :-)