The Pencil that wouldn’t grow
Lower Kindergarten was a wildly interesting year for me. I had met a bunch of other kids and found exciting opportunities to experiment and dabble in all the strange stuff around us together. Predictably much of this was baffling for my mother, who could never figure reasons behind strange phenomena, like a missing lunch box or sudden body rashes (from playing with Parthenium grass) . Though she was clever enough to figure that “I” was involved in some way or the other.
I remember this one particular time when my friend and I decided on a new experiment. We had noticed that each time a pencil was sharpened, its lead grew longer than before. My friend’s hunch was that if we kept sharpening, the lead will probably touch the classroom ceiling. I wasn’t so sure though, after all the lead seemed to be growing with the pencil was shrinking. So my take was that it would probably be as long as the pencil at the maximum. But this of course needed observation and some validation, even as kindergartners we were quite conscious about factual inference. So about five or six of us got together and decided to experiment.
Break time was spent in sharpening all our pencils continuously but none of the leads touched the ceiling or came anywhere close to a pencil’s length. The teacher would be quite bewildered that a whole bunch of us had no proper pencils to write after break. Each day I would return home with one inch pencils, and my mom would patiently lecture me on how I need to use them wisely and give me a new set. A couple of days passed with no success.
Finally my mom, who was growing sick of the “two new pencils a day” norm, threatened that she’d remove the sharpener from my pencil box. In my language this meant reducing it to cave man standards and losing my status as “the kid with the complete pencil box set” in lower kindergarten. She had successfully put me in a spot – I decided not to persist with our experiment of trying to make pencil leads grow. By the end of the year though I did figure how pencils worked.