In the hall where I teach at Sanskriti Cultural Centre, there’s one Special Green Tile.
It’s different from the other tiles.
For me, all it does is mark the centre of the hall, which makes helps children orient themselves when we have performances. For the children, not so very long ago, the tile was special.
In 2010, there was one little girl who used to come nearly half an hour early for class. She loved to dance there, in the centre, and it was her tile. There was no dispute about it.
Then, she left class, and there were two girls who wanted to stand there, on that special green tile. Whoever came first got to stand there, so both of them started coming earlier and earlier. One fine day, naturally, a quarrel sprang up.
“It makes a different sound!” moaned one child. “It’s not fair that only one person stands there!”
“I also want to stand on that tile,” piped up a third child, who had not been part of the quarrel at all. “It’s a special tile! In the centre!”
I did not want to interfere, and they eventually sorted it out, taking it in turns. I refused to remember whose turn it was, but things continued pretty smoothly for a long time.
Then one of the children left; then another. The third child did not find the tile special any more. No one did, as a matter of fact.
Now, I wonder, could I mischievously begin the story again with a new set of girls? I could just gently hint that one child should stand there one day, and then casually comment on the ‘different sound’ it makes. Will the tile become special again?