Building a model

“You must make a model of some historic significance,” the history teacher said.

I was twelve then and
I remember going through the text books
looking for something that I could build.
Without internet searches,
those were times
of fewer options,
less confusion
and more digging around.

I settled on a picture of the Yerawada jail in Pune.
Historic no doubt,
with Gandhi having been jailed there.
I would build an exhibit out of that one.
Converting a 2-D picture
into a 3-D model
is no small task,
and now I know it’s almost impossible
if you have just one photograph
to tell you everything there is about the damned thing.
But the twelve-year-old me did not think too much about geometry then.
Funny because I did love math.
That’s where imagination would jump in, I thought,
and fill in the details.
That’s where my father stepped in,
and built the model.
The walls were made of thermocol,
and he bent stiff copper wires
to form the window bars,
sketched and folded cardboard to make the roof.

I regret not having a single picture of the thing.
All finished
or when it was being built,
my father working away with his pens, a cutter and measuring scale.

When I took the model to school,
No one asked me if I had built it myself.
I felt smug that no one questioned it.
I know
no one did
because the answer was obvious.

I have never quite enjoyed working with my hands.

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