He saw the struggle beneath her strength. He knew when there was a war in her soul, but the world thought everything was great. He touched her hand the right way, even when she acted like she didn’t need it. Once she opened her mouth to ask for a rare hug, but he already had his arms around her.
Vijay loved to draw. The walls in his room were full of his paintings. There was one of a beautiful fairy, one of a cat, and many of his mother wearing beautiful dresses. Whenever his father entered the room, he would worry. “I wish that he had more interest in things that boys his age like,” he said to Vijay’s mother. She did not agree. “All boys don’t have to like the same things,” she replied with a smile. Even at school, the boys teased Vijay. They never saw him play football or basketball. When they tried to talk to him, he just smiled politely.
Vijay carried a drawing book with him. Whenever the teacher was late to class or he had finished his lunch, he filled the thick pad with colour. He used coloured pencils that were a gift from his favourite aunt.
One evening, Vijay’s mother joined him at the desk. “Who is that? What a beautiful dress,” she praised. Vijay blushed. “Mom, this is you wearing a dress that I have designed.” His mother hugged him and asked, “Is this what you want to do when you grow up?” Vijay nodded. She had an idea.
The next day was Saturday. Vijay’s mother asked him to get ready. He looked up from his drawing book and asked, “Where are we going?” His mother said it would be a surprise. “Bring your drawing book with you,” she only said. Vijay laughed. He never left home without it.
One hour later, after a short walk which had become longer because they had stopped to chat with so many neighbours, they stood in front of the tailor’s shop. Vijay was confused. He never came to the tailor for his clothes. Even mother and father liked buying their clothes at a store in the mall.
Mother held his hand and they walked in. The tailor was a friendly old man who looked happy to see him. He patted Vijay’s head and asked him to sit next to him behind the huge table that had piles of cloth and a sewing machine on it. Mother stood next to them. “What kind of dress do you want for me, Viju?” She did not have to wait long for an answer. “This one is my favourite,” he said, opening a page of his precious drawing book.
The tailor put on his glasses. It was a long blue dress with little roses along the sleeves and neck. “Mother, you will look so nice,” Vijay said shyly. So the tailor was given measurements for the dress. He promised to make it exactly like the drawing. Vijay said thank you and left with his mother. He couldn’t wait to see his first design!
The rest of the weekend was boring. Vijay was too excited to draw anything new. He could not sit still. Mother told him to read a book. He tried but couldn’t. Finally, it was Monday. Vijay would get to see the dress after school. The tailor had called to say it was ready.
The day passed by slowly. Vijay did not hear anything that the teachers said. He kept on looking at his watch. When the final bell rang at 3 o clock, he jumped up and ran to the gate. Mother was waiting.
When they reached the shop, the dress was on a hanger. Customers were staring at it. One of them asked the tailor, “Can you make me one like this, please?” The old man said yes and added, “Let me introduce you to the designer of this dress.” The women wondered if they had heard wrong. “Such a little designer!” They almost laughed.
The next day, Mother wore the dress to her friend’s house. Everybody wanted one! And the tailor had to hire another tailor to help him make so many of them. Vijay was famous.
First published in TeleKids (An ABP Group publication)