Every class has a student who makes teaching especially challenging, with relentless disruption to classroom activities.
Need I introduce myself better that this?
Sarita Miss, my class teacher, therefore planned an ingenious strategy to restrain me during an excursion to the National Arts Gallery. She separated me from my cronies and drafted me into an all-girls team comprising of Sonal, Sonali, Srivalli, Sreeparna, Seema and Sanchari.
The S-crew, as they were popularly called weren’t so cringeworthy after all. From the past lunchbox heists, I knew that Sonal’s tiffin would be a gourmet’s dream and Sreeparna usually brought biriyani, but she would eat only the rice and potatoes in it while I could scavenge on the meat. I planned to steal some new jokes from Sanchari, while the nerdy Seema could be coaxed to write my assignments. Sonali loved to be all over the place, doing basically nothing and Srivalli did everything to showcase her General Knowledge.
After waiting for an eternity in the queue, I wandered away listlessly to the big fountain facing the porch of the Art Gallery. Relishing the cold misty spray from the fountain, I tore a page from my notebook and made a paper boat. All too soon, I sensed a cartilage break as Sarita Miss dragged me back by my ear just before my boat’s voyage began.
Inside the exhibition hall, we were provided with Audio assist headsets that automatically narrated the description of the painting exhibit near us. The background sounds added a tinge of real-life feel to it.
We stopped at a painting called “The Island of the Dolls” by one Anuradha. The narrator described this as an artistic representation of “Illusionistic Realism”, and a form of painting that transported the viewer to the scenery by its sheer captivating depiction.
We were deep inside the woods of Xochimilco. Srivalli bragged that the nearest civilization was miles away in Mexico City. Landlocked among the dense flora were green ponds covered with water lilies. Yet something about the kiss of falling leaves and the knobby roots underfoot seemed uncanny.
Suddenly, we were greeted by the eerie sight of dolls hanging on several tree trunks. Most of the trees on which dolls were strung had a date and some alphabets carved in the native language. However, we found one mentioned “RIP” and knew what it implied. While the forest itself had a scary presence, the hanging dolls represented some form of death, and this jolted us. We hastily retreated and moved in the direction of our school bus.
It was then we heard Sonali shrieking and pointing at a doll, that had turned, grinned freakishly and dropped down from the tree trunk. The other dolls followed suit. We ran for our lives and in the process lost each other. I failed to notice the water lily covered pond in my flight to safety.
All I could hear was Sarita Miss yelling at me“Mithru, you nincompoop!” while the security guards hauled me out of the fountain.
- The Island of the Dolls, (La Isla de las Muñecas), is located in the channels of Xochimilco, south of the center of Mexico City
- The Island of the Dolls, originally owned by Don Julián Santana, is full of dolls hanging from trees and buildings covered with cobwebs and insects.
- According to legend, a young woman drowned entangled among the lilies of the canal and her body was found on the banks of the Santampa chinampas. Don Julián began to experience inexplicable situations so, terrified, he placed dolls that he found in the garbage or in the canals of Cuemanco with the idea that they would scare the soul of the young woman who would cry out “I want my doll”. He also found a doll floating nearby and, assuming it belonged to the deceased girl, hung it from a tree as a sign of respect
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This is an entry for Five00-9, #Vintage. Find all the entries here: https://writers.artoonsinn.com/category/five00/five00-9/
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