Paper boats

Do you remember paper boats, those little squares of paper you’d fold neatly to float in puddles during the rain? For anyone who has watched, ‘It’ I understand why paper boats have been ruined for you. I for one was never good at making paper boats. My lines were always a bit off, my boats never floated.

Also, I never understand why we built boats out of paper, paper can’t hold out against water. Thanks to all these questions, I was never much of a fan of paper boats. In fact, I never really played in the rain, I wasn’t allowed to. I was always susceptible to illness so my mother never thought it was a great idea for me. If I ever was allowed, I’d have to wear a raincoat over a sweater and a jacket and hold an umbrella, which meant I couldn’t really run or jump in puddles.

I suppose I never truly wanted to play in the rain, but like all kids, anything I wasn’t allowed to do immediately caught my fancy. Now I’ll do anything to avoid it. But the paper boats were always a regular feature of everyone’s agenda for playing in the rain. I tried many times to make beautiful paper boats that other children made like they were born knowing how to. I could never fold along the lines accurately, or I’d jumble up a step. Since I wasn’t good it, I decided paper boats were boring and didn’t deserve my effort.

Secretly, I was jealous that I couldn’t make them, even today I resent origami. You must be wondering why I am talking about paper boats, such an odd topic for a conversation. Bear with me. I never understood why boats have to be made of paper, and that’s the important question. I always wondered how those boats floated, and somewhere it may have been because the kid who made it believed that it would.

This simple thing called ‘belief’ holds true for anything I did. I avoided doing things I couldn’t believe in. My life has been oddly a quest for faith. My boats never floated because I didn’t believe they would. I know origami has its rules, but more than that it’s those little white paper boats that race along the street as kids follow them making them go as far as they can with their faith.

Maybe it was a futile exercise, but it still gives kids joy. Whenever I did something I had belief in, I never saw a bad outcome. That was the case for Mathematics, Science, all of it could never inspire faith in me. That is the simple reason why I gave up Tennis for Badminton and why I made every important decision in my life. I had to believe in it.

Of course, I know it requires talent, anything we do, we need to have a flair for it. In my case, I knew I could do anything if I put my mind to it, I could make a nice paper boat if I stuck with it long enough. But getting me to stick with it was impossible because I just didn’t believe in it. And that’s where belief comes in because it makes you open to trying. Belief prevents us from giving up.

Today, I felt like my theory was proved. I don’t get to say that a lot. Sometimes belief alone is enough I guess. Paulo Coelho tried telling us that, I brushed it off like an advice from somebody from another generation. I know I am saying nothing new. But I’ve been short on belief lately. I feel like the seven-year-old defeated by a square piece of paper that refused to turn into a boat. Inside she still wonders why it never looked like a boat when she makes it, why hers would fall lopsided into the water not able to keep itself up. Was it the boat or her?

I am shielded by the fact that now I know what I believe in, and that is enough for me. It’s not necessary that kids make boats out of paper, I suppose they’d love something more durable but that’s the challenge right? You don’t always get what you want and if the paper can turn into a boat or a plane, there is really no limit to what we can be and what we can make.

It really depends on what potential we see in that square piece of paper. Some kids saw boats, planes, swans, dogs, and what not. On that same piece of paper, I saw limitless space to fill it words until I ran out of words or paper. And that’s why I am here writing this, having graduated from that piece of paper step by step to a keyboard.

I may have given up making paper boats, but I’ve been trying to build a ship so far. A ship that can brave any weather, made of hard work, fortified by memories, an anchor as heavy as my past and a mast of belief that keeps this ship afloat in the ocean of life. That’s what this has been, this whole time.

I feel like I need to mention that ‘It’ really ruined paper boats for me, and clowns. Now, whenever I see a kid near a drain my instinct is to pull them away. This kind of ruins the profound thoughts I articulated above. Sigh, it feels like I have come full circle from hating paper boats to seeing them as something more. Paper boats -1, Sahitya – 0.


3 thoughts on “Paper boats

  1. Poonacha PG says:

    Very interesting thoughts and opinions. Keep writing more. Do use paper to write more as well as make good paper boats and make them float! Is belief in our ability and hard work are the only options to help us enjoy life and face all its challenges?


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