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It was the great Indian summer.

Bronzed sunlight, still heat, infinite afternoons and time on standstill.

There was no school. There was no homework. There were no parents at home.

Instead, there was boredom. Not an ordinary boredom, waiting and patient, but a restless one. 

And a box load of brushes and spray paints.

So I indulged my imagination. On our neighbour’s wall.

I brought alive gnomes in ruby red caps and emerald green jackets. They climbed ladders to reach a silver moon.

At least in my mind’s eye this was what my doodley-doo-delights were.

I made whoopee all the way.

Sia chittered. Friends giggled. 

Passersby gawked. The vegetable seller scorned.

Our neighbours said ‘trespass’, my parent’s called it 'disobedience’.

I say hashtag WHATEVER. 

I am on fire like the summer winds. Sober up? No way!!!

Graffiti is high art. You must have seen street art in many parts of your city.

It throws colour into dark spots, brings a sparkle into unclean ones and cheer to dulled hearts.

Except I chose the wrong place to be a graffiti artist.

A neighbour’s moon-white wall is not the best spot.

What made me try it again five years later?


   Oomna at 13


     Oomna at 8

Not peeve. My thoughts veered more towards what I should paint than where. And towards PAP (posting a picture, you know) of my artistry.

My memory was faint. My earlier punishment was an eternity ago, and a forgotten detail.

"Using our neighbour’s wall without their permission is a dangerous dare," my parents explained once more.

 "It is not correct to step on other people’s boundaries, public or personal," they droned. Blah blah blah.

No TV and no pocket money for a week. Artistry equaled anguish. It sucked.

So instead I cut holes in paper sheets.

Then I ran these onto the backs of skirts and shirts on unsuspecting friends to make tails.

They looked ridiculous. My sense of the absurd came alive. I went insane with the hilarity of their bobbing tails.

But it was an outburst of lonely jollity. My friends did not think this to be an ‘innocent’, ‘guilt-free’ sport.

Or take my sense of fun as funny.

They stopped talking to me. They did not sit with me in the canteen. They leaked my secrets openly on Facebook.

I refuse to diffuse hostilities with this snarky set.

Next time I intend to choose a better wall and more appealing friends to tail.

There must be wiggle room for those who have just stepped into their teens. Right?

My secret life as an artist

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A wrong kind of graffiti

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