The Oyster

The little boy was rubbing the crayons on his paper for sometime now. Finally, disgusted, he threw them at a distance. Frowning he went up and outside and sat there in the porch. The sound of the waves could be heard from there. He sat there looking towards the direction of the sea though it was not visible from there. His father went up to him and sat beside him.

“What is the matter?” he asked.

The boy didnt reply.

“Tell me,” the father pursued, “if you have a problem, I’ll solve it.”

“Its the crayons” the boy replied, “they have become old and hard. They do not give good colour.”

“Is it so?” he asked.

“Yes” the boy replied, “most of the boys in my class have nice sketch pens, brushes and colours. They make so nice pictures. But I can never make it.”

The father understood. He knew that the cheap crayons got hard very early and it was difficult drawing with them. But he didnt know how to explain to his kid that their poor condition didnt allow them the luxury to buy the expensive colours and brushes and all those stuff for just a few drawing classes. Buying his books and copies, plus his school fee used to take a huge chunk of his little earning. And they had other family expenses too. Only a very little amount of money could be saved and that had to be kept for emergencies. But it was too hard for the little kid to understand the situation.

“Lets go to the beach” he said standing up, finding no way.

In a few minutes the father and the son were among the little waves. Playing with the waves the kid had forgotten about his problems with the crayons for sometime. After playing the two of them started walking on the shore. After a few paces, the father picked up an oyster shell.

“Do you know what this is?” he asked his son.

“Yes” the son replied, “its an oyster shell.”

“Do you know what this does?” he asked.

“Yes” the son replied triumphantly, “our madam said pearls come from oyster shells.”

“Do you know how?” was the next question.

“No” the boy said, “madam didn’t tell thet yet.”

“Ok, let me tell you” the father said, “You see the sand. Sometimes a sand grain gets inside the oyster shells. Sometimes some other very small things, even some sort of dirt gets inside them. Then the oyster works with it. For a long time it works very hard with it patiently mixing with it all its nacre layer after layer, which then gradually forms into the pearl. So you see just from a grain of sand or a speck of dirt, it makes a pearl.”

The boy was hearing with amazement. He couldn’t believe that anything so insignificant can turn into something so magnificient.

“So what do we learn from the oyster?” the father asked. The son looked at him quizzically.

“We learn” the father explained, “that life may give us things that are not special. But it is upon us to work with them hard giving our best to bring out something that is extra-ordinary. The secret of success doesnt lie in the tools but in the minds that use them. Understand?”

The boy nodded looking down. He understood. May be not everything but he got what his father ultimately meant. And just then his father took him up in his arms and said, “But I promise, I am going to work harder and when I have more money, you’ll get all the colours you want. Okay?”

The boy smiled and kissed his father’s cheeks.

© Arindam Dey

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