Fly Freely

Ananya opened the school gates excitedly. It looked like a wonder school. Small, colorful hut-shaped rooms were spread evenly on a velvety green lawn. There was a beautiful fountain pond in the center of the landscape.

“Fly Free Talent School,” she sighed as she entered.

This special school had a unique curriculum. Unlike the school's fixed schedules and monotony, this school had no fixed subjects or classes. The kids had a free choice of activities with no boundaries of time, so they could excel in their favourite activities. And that was exactly why Ananya had asked her open-minded parents for this school.

She saw two more kids entering. They seemed to be new too. She was quick in striking conversations. So, Maya and Sid were her friends in no time.

“The talent master Ms. Sullivan has asked us to find our one true talent.” Maya tried to recall the words of their talent headmaster from the previous day.

Ananya recalled the stout lady with a radiant face she met the other day in school telling her the same thing.

“…and that is the most important part of your journey,” she had told Ananya as she wondered what that meant.

“How would one find their one true talent with so much to do!” Ananya's eyes rolled around the campus.

“Well, then you can have more than one,” Sid chuckled.

Without giving much thought, she ran towards the first hut. “Come on,” she said, looking towards Maya and Sid. Ananya was certainly more excited than them. They joined her. Ananya saw multiple mud wheels being rotated surrounded by kids not much older than her. Her friends hesitated, but Ananya was too quick to wait. She saw a girl waiting for her turn and another girl in front of her was giving mud wonderful shapes.

“This is gross!” Maya made a sulky face.

“I think it is wonderful,” Ananya jumped to the girl skillfully patting her hands on the rotating muddy wheel.

“Let me try!” she said to the girl on the wheel.

“Wh-wait first learn the—” the guide tried to stop.

She tried to copy the girl excitedly but—-Spat— Mud fell all over her body. Oh, what a mess she had made.

Soon Ananya, Maya, and Sid were out of the hut. The kids now decided to explore independently.

Ananya walked through the velvet green lawn until another hut caught her attention – HAIR BRAIDING

“Looks interesting!” She said to herself. This time she would get a hang of this talent she told herself.

The guide gave her the steps – take the colored thread first-twirl it through strands of hair then…”

Ananya was too desperate to listen. As she took the strands in her hands soon the hair was in tangles she got confused as to what to intervene where, and she was soon fed up.

“No Ananya, we do it this way!” explained the guide.

But Ananya felt it was not her cup of tea and finally made up her mind to leave the hut.

She saw Ms. Sullivan looking at her from a distance.

“Are you enjoying here, Ananya?” she asked and gave a warm smile.

“Y-yes, miss.” She returned it with a nervous smile. There are many more talents left to explore she assured herself.

Days passed by. Song making, dancing, painting, perfumery art she had almost tried everything.

Though she was enjoying herself, none could capture her attention for more than one hour. What was her favorite talent? How was she going to find one?

One day, after a few months, Ms. Sullivan gathered everyone for a special announcement. “Every year we host a special event which is planned and organized by the students themselves,” she continued. “Based on observing your interests we have allotted you in different areas wherein you can put your learning into real-life application.”

Then, there appeared a sheet with the names of students leading the special tasks along with a list of helpers. Ananya was looking for her name in the list of special tasks. As she rolled her eyes down she saw her name finally in-

“Helpers? Why am I in helpers and not in a lead role?” she told herself. She looked around-

Sid soon had a group of kids seated around him. Ananya saw him guiding them on stage performance. She saw Sid and Maya both guiding their own groups. And she was asked to help wherever required.

Was she really not good at any one thing? She felt sad and disappointed and went and sat near the fountain pond.

Suddenly, she felt a warm hand on her shoulders. It was Ms. Sullivan.

“What happened?”

“Nothing, ma'am.”

But soon Ananya was in tears. She truly hadn’t learned a single thing in the past months, but she didn’t know why? She was excited to learn and explore, and that’s why she had chosen this school that indeed made her feel free—then why wasn’t she learning? Why hadn’t she chosen her talent yet?

As if reading her thoughts, the talent master spoke, “Ananya, we hold the power to learn any and everything we want. But for any talent to grow in us, we need to allow it to grow—with patience, perseverance & dedication. Then you will not choose the talent, the talent will choose you!” Saying so, Ms. Sullivan left.

So, with what Ms. Sullivan said, hadn’t she allowed any talent to enter her? How?

She saw Maya and Sid coming towards her. “Hey, Ananya, look we found our talents,” Sid told her proudly, “What’s yours?”

Ananya couldn’t meet their eyes. Surely, she wanted to explore her inside now.

“Listen,” Maya called her from behind, “I have made this lovely composition.”

“How did you learn Song making, Maya? I saw you were making so many mistakes when I entered.”

“Oh, mistakes helped me improve. When I could not do it correctly I asked the guide to help me.” Maya now looked into Ananya’s eyes, “Ananya, just to give up on a talent because we are making mistakes! We have to give time to learn anything and develop interest, things are not hard to learn but if you focus and be patient enough then definitely you will be able to try again and again and eventually master the talent. That’s the key.”

As if Ananya had found an answer- She realized how she got impatient and could not succeed for the first time in all talents. Being impatient made her disheartened to try again. She was running away from trying again. She was running away from failures. Then how would she excel in any one thing? The best way to invoke interest was to focus and keep trying.

She had made up her mind now. She had to select one talent and stick to it till the end. No matter what. She had gotten Ms. Sullivan’s indication now. Once she chose the talent, the talent would choose her.

From a distance, she saw the hut of dress making. And now she knew what she had to do.