T minus 14 hours: An apprehensive tension hangs in the air. The clouds of impending danger loom above. The family members gaze with amazed terror at the ping pong like reprimand battle between the mother and their oldest sibling.

MOTHER: The entire summer holidays have gone and one day before school you suddenly wake up and remember your holiday homework? And the sheer audacity to come to me at 7 o clock in the night! Shocking! Back in my day, we would always finish our work on time and never trouble our parents over them. 

CHILD (whimpering and defensively trying to save face): It’s not my fault schools give us so much homework. Plus, even Rahul and Sneha haven’t completed their project. 

The mother huffs up in annoyance and decides to deal with her useless offspring later because the SST project demands her immediate attention. 

The aforementioned SST project pitifully gazes above picture-less and cover-less. Its untidily scrawled incomplete information pains the mother. She resolves to give the project the most extreme makeover ever witnessed by humanity.

 

T-minus 12 hours in the neighbourhood stationery shop-

FATHER (grumblingly): At nine o clock, you incorrigible children are dragging me to a stationery shop. Can’t you learn to do your project on time? 

CHILD: Mom says the project needs glitter and stickers to look presentable. 

MOTHER: It wouldn’t need that glitter if you hadn’t spilt cold coffee all over the heading. How many times have I told you to do one thing at a time?

FATHER: Back in our days, we would never dependently cling to our parents for stuff like stationery. We would cycle down to the Ram’s “Stashionary” shop and buy our school supplies ourselves. 

The stationary shopkeeper keenly observes the family drama. He whips out ten different glitters and fancy, sparkly expensive stickers that the parents hurriedly purchase. Thank god for panicked parents for supporting my income, he wonders. 

 

T-minus 10 hours later-

CHILD: Didi, I forgot to buy ribbons to bind my project pages. Can’t I use your yellow sash from that dress you wore on my birthday?

SISTER: Are you out of your mind? I’m not giving you my sash for a holiday homework project.

MOTHER: Come on beta, let us use it. You don’t even wear that dress anymore and it doesn’t look that good anyway.

The sister unwillingly parts with her previously forgotten but suddenly favourite sash.

She scathingly jibes at her younger, irresponsible brother: Fine, you can take it for now but remember that I am doing you a huge favour. Back in my day, you would never lift a finger to help me even paste the pictures on my projects. 

 

T minus 11 hours-

BROTHER: Bhaiya, bhaiya how much more glitter should I put?

CHILD: Don’t ask me these silly questions. Put as much glitter as you can. 

The child then proceeds to daydream of a world where his life is brighter than his glittery, sparkly project. 

 

T-minus two hours-

The child wakes up to find that he had carelessly and inevitably slept over the project. A last-minute helter-skelter panic run ensues. Strange stray sketch pen marks require casual coverage. Just then, the superhero grandmother swoops in. She expertly takes out a right, gigantic bindi and covers up the untidy marks artily. 

GRANDMOTHER: There you go. It’s perfect now. Back in your mom’s day, I would always find such ways to complete her procrastinated projects. 

The child dumbfoundedly gasps like a fish at this information. 

 

T minus no time- 

An SST project, securely tied, neatly presented is submitted to the teacher. To the teacher and the world, it seems a measly little SST project but in actuality, it is a scrapbook of memories, rebukes and tiny treasures of bindis and sashes. 

 

-Anjanee Khosla

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