Shelly works wonders
The school seminar was just a month away. With the quarterly exams just over the craft teacher took up the class. She was chiding everyone that as yet there were no contributions from the seventh class for the forthcoming school seminar. Children of the other classes had already submitted many entries and their projects were in the lab. Only the children of class seven it appeared were just too uninterested in the seminar or were just too lazy. The seminar hosted broadly three segments Arts, Science and English. Not a single student volunteered to participate even though the teacher was exhorting the students to take part in the seminar. Frustrated the teacher said that she wanted at least ten entries from the Art segment on Monday. They would have two days of holidays – Saturday and Sunday. So they had plenty of time for creating something interesting to submit. If she did not get any entries by Monday she warned the class to be prepared for a punishment.
Next the science teacher came into the class and sought a few submissions or projects towards the science segment of the seminar. Here the children were more forthcoming to participate in a project or two. Anusha had promised to build a working model of a camera. Sairam had volunteered to make a project of the hydro-electric power project. When the teacher asked Shelly what she would make she said that she would consult her father before closing in on any option. The teacher simply said that she wanted to see some submission from Shelly or else she would not be allowed to enter the class.
Shelly came home and informed her parents about the seminar. Her father was too busy with his office work but assured her that he would definitely think of something. He was working on the computer. When her father was busy working Shelly knew that she could not disturb him further. So she went to her mother and told her that all the children of her class were all bringing up such exciting projects towards the science segment. Even in the Arts segment Shivani of her class was making a beautiful glass painting. Shivani had said that she would submit three entries towards the Art segment while she had none – rued Shelly. Shelly’s mother promised her that she would think up of something towards her contribution. Next day was a Saturday and Mom after finishing her house-hold chores took a coconut shell and asked Shelly to scrape it clean. She told her that they could make a tortoise out of the shell. Shelly was excited. She helped in cleaning the shell with emery paper and then she painted the shell with a pearly brown colour. Now her mother bought the powder of white cement with which was to be made the body parts of the tortoise. Together they shaped the head, legs and the tail of the tortoise. Now they set the piece together on a hard piece of card-board. Shelly then set it out in the sun to dry. Later she checked it out. It was dried all right. She painted the head, legs and the tail a pearly green colour. But it was not so appealing – she had grumbled. “Shivani will certainly win the prize”, mumbled Shelly. Mom then brought some shells of pistachio and carefully stuck them onto the shell of the tortoise made of coconut shell. Then she instructed Shelly to paint them with a gold colour. Shelly did so and also stuck two white beads for the eyes on the head. Now her tortoise looked really lovely and she was also satisfied.
Now she wondered about her entry for the science project. She told her mother about Anusha’s and Sairam’s projects. Her mother was not very scientifically inclined. She had only studied up to High school and so she could give no suggestion in this regard. But she really wanted to see her daughter happy and said that they would come up with something for the science project too with father’s help. But her father suddenly declared that he would have to go to China for an Expo in Shanghai and he was busy with its preparation. Now Mom could only think of a kaleidoscope which she had made with her friends during her child-hood. So she made one for Shelly. But the teacher was not impressed with the submission and said that she needed something better. As Sairam was making a hydro-electric power project model she had asked Shelly to make the Wind turbine model. She was not confident of being able to get one done as her father had already left for China and her mother could not help her with this – she thought. Distressed Shelly told her mother about the project that she was assigned. Mother consoled her and said that she should give it her best shot. Together they went through her science book and read up the piece about electricity generated by wind energy. She took a piece of hard board and set before themselves all the materials required to prepare the model for the project. With the white cement they made two small mountains painted them brown and then used a small wind turbine toy that Shelly had got with few pepper-mint and planted it on the mountain carefully. Next she made the pylons and then she made central power grid model with big match-boxes and the smaller ones for the local transformers. She also made a small house and also ran a thread right from the wind-turbine to the power grid to the pylons to the local transformers then which also ran into the house. Now she painted the thread with a copper colour to make it appear like a copper wire. She next decorated the house and pasted silver paper on the match-boxes.
Meanwhile at home the maintenance electrician had come asking if there were any electric complaints as a matter of routine maintenance duty in their flat and Shelly had an idea. She showed him the project and asked him if he could devise a way to light a small bulb in the house. The electrician used a small bulb of small torch-light of a pencil-battery and then also gave a circuit so that the light could be switched on only when necessary. When Shelly came home and saw the new discovery she was very happy. The seminar was just two days away now and all the children were required to submit their projects the next day. Shelly proudly took her project and arranged it the hall where all the projects were neatly arranged side by side. She had two entries in the Science segment one the wind-turbine project and the other the kaleidoscope. In the Art segment she placed her tortoise besides Shivani’s glass painting. Anusha who was to create a model of the camera simply bought a shoe box with two holes on either side. For all her boasting that was a model of the camera. She did not have the courage to even show it to the science teacher while Sairam had not turned in any project. He ducked under the benches when the teacher entered the class.
Finally the day of the seminar dawned and Shelly had prepared her part of what she had to speak towards the wind-turbine project and she made a good job of it by impressing the judges and their principal. They patted her and asked her to keep up the good performance. She won the second prize in the science segment. The first was won by a student of class ten who had a model of solar-powered street-light. In the Art section Shelly won the first prize for her tortoise. It was much appreciated for being the most creative art work created out of waste.
So Shelly returned home beaming with certificates, medals and prizes for her entries in the seminar. She hugged her mother and her mother was just as happy to see her daughter’s beaming eyes. She kissed her and they together had dinner over which Shelly narrated to her mother about the happenings in the seminar.