‘Why can’t you write a full sentence without erasing it?’ .. Fifth grade class and it was her English teacher telling her off for using the eraser. She felt as though writing without erasing is what she should be able to do and that is the norm. She looked around, exchanged few glances with her friends and they smiled back. She got the point that none of them used the eraser as much as she did and so she consciously decided to write without having the need to erase.
Years went by. Pencils got replaced by pens. Erasers got replaced too. Erasers interestingly got replaced by ink erasers but they didn’t work that well. The easiest and tidier option was to strike things out that weren’t right or correct. Then again, she remembered her lesson from fifth grade; to write without erasing and she conveniently changed it to a skill to be able to write without striking off.
She trained her mind to such an extent that striking off or changing her sentences got reduced to a bare minimum and that made her ‘little miss perfect’; well precisely, ‘little miss worldly perfect’ is what she became. As time rolled by, her relationship with her inner soul grew exponentially. She, was no longer interested in expressing her thoughts and theories because she knew that thoughts float and she couldn’t strike them off each time, each minute, even hour after hour.
Unable to sustain her self, she indulged in a deep conversation within. She found it equally ‘hard to be right and say no’ vis-a-vis ‘hard to be wrong and say yes’. What she was reduced to, in all these years was a leaf that kept floating in perfect conditions, sticking to the ground in snow and rain, flying up again with the wind, and drying herself in the sun. Not to forget her ‘little perfect’ world was no longer perfect on the inside but she didn’t care.
One fine day, she fell into a dump. She didn’t see it coming and she walked straight into it, perhaps it was her destiny. The filth, the dirt choked her. She kept repeating to herself that she doesn’t belong there but there was nothing she could do. Her voice couldn’t move the garbage, her physical force couldn’t pull her out. After a while, she just stood still refusing to talk, refusing to walk, even refusing to breathe.
‘Am I doing the right thing?’, ‘Won’t I die like this?’, ‘Is this it?’ .. And a host of different questions made their way into her heart and her mind. Her unfinished battles, her unfinished sentences, her broken phrases and her ruined physical pieces, were all there. Intact. What she struggled to find were her finished degrees, her finished letters, her finished payments, her finished chores. The finished ones were no where near. They were all sealed and they had disappeared. Brokenness is what reminded her of her.
She, didn’t miss much apart from her eraser and her inability to strike off. Perhaps that is why she was broken, she thought. If she did strike off, if she did erase and change as and when she wanted to; if she didn’t listen to her teacher that day, and kept on writing and changing and writing and changing, she wouldn’t be broken today.
She thought to herself. The power of the eraser wasn’t to teach her to become ‘little miss perfect’ for the world; the power of the eraser and the power of striking off was in being able to be free from her own thoughts to deepen the perspectives.
She smiled and looked up, her world was still unharmed. She was still the same ‘little miss perfect’ who never used the erasers but she drove off to buy one.