'Everyone has a hidden talent. Some are just so well hidden that you can never find them.'
But I was the best hide-and-seek player! I knew how, where and when anyone or anything would hide. I also knew how to find things in the most well-hidden places. Sometimes, the most obvious places are the best ones. So I decided to start with them.
First, I checked in my school bag - nope. Then I went to my shelf. I pulled out all the books - to check between all the pages. Since I had never seen talent, I didn't know its shape or size. So in my eyes, it could be hiding just anywhere! But no worries, the best player is searching!
But no, it wasn't in the books. Hmm...where could it be? Any suggestions? Hey, YOU seem very talented! Where did you find your talent? Tell me, oh please tell me! My teacher said that I too have some talent - I just need to find it, and that's just what I'm doing. Will you please help?
No, you won’t. You’re too busy reading this! Never mind, I’m capable enough to find it myself – I’m a big girl now!
Hey! It could be in the wardrobe! I ran there and pulled out all my clothes and sat to search. I searched every pocket of every dress. And what do you suppose I found...nothing! Pah! This Talent has turned out to be a better player than me. But no, Diya doesn’t give up so easily!
How about....my study table? So I checked that place completely too. But luck didn’t favour me. I put on my detective hat and sat down to think…Rina had hidden in the bathroom last game - Talent could be there too! Elementary, my dear Watson.
I flung open the bathroom door. I checked everywhere - under the bucket, in the toilet seat, between the towels and…oops! How could I be so forgetful! I squeezed out all the toothpaste, shampoo, creams, everything!
I ran down to the kitchen checked all the cupboards and shelves. I even opened all the jars! Just as I was choking on the masalas, Ma popped in.
"Diyaaaaa! What have you done to the kitchen ?!"
"Sorry Ma, I'm searching for talent."
Ma raised her eyebrows. I thought I saw a faint smile appear on her lips, which changed into anger too fast for me to wonder about her reason for smiling.
"I want you to clean up all this mess, RIGHT NOW!"
So I had to spend the whole evening cleaning up the kitchen and putting everything back in its place. It wasn't long before Daddy noticed the mess in the bathroom. Maybe it was quite obvious that I was behind it, so I was the first one to be questioned.
"A whole tube of toothpaste! All this shampoo...and cream! Can you explain this ?!"
"I'm searching for talent."
"In the bathroom?! How did you expect to find it in the bathroom?! You will not get a new dress this Diwali! Now clean it up!"
So...I began to clean up the bathroom too. And then, as I had already begun to expect...Pia didi made me clean up the room. My, what a tiring day!
The next morning, with determination blazing through my eyes, I began to search for talent at the bus-stop. Would you believe it: it wasn't even there! I turned the whole bus upside down with my search but all I found was a stinky old piece of cucumber. Eww!
I decided to search in the school. Every moment of free time was used up in searching. I didn't find talent, but I got the whole school happy with me! Because I found loads of lost items, including my teacher’s lucky pen! I thought will never forget those delicious chocolates! Talent, however, forced me to. Such an attention seeker!
I soon realised that I had missed the swimming pool and playground. I dived into the swimming pool (forgetting in my excitement that I couldn’t swim!), getting Pia didi mad at me because she had to jump in to save me. I checked the playground too - behind all the trees, in all the bushes and under all the stones (even the tiniest ones). The dogs didn’t seem to like that.
I was about to start digging when the watchman saw me...
"What are you doing, little girl?"
"Searching for talent."
I don't see how it was puzzling, but my answer DID puzzle him a lot, and he just walked away. I started digging.
It was hardly a few minutes since I started when my important mission was interrupted by my sister’s friends.
"Hey Pia, isn't that your little sister? What's up with her?"
Pia didi told them about my hunt for talent. I felt real proud.
But then, one of them giggled and said, "It's pretty useless Diya. You're on a wild goose chase!" Pia didi gave me a know-it-all look, and all of them walked away. Well, whatever. It’s a big word – interruption – and it seemed to love to cross my path.
A group of older boys approached me.
" Hey Diya!" one of them said, "Leave your sandcastle making, this is a football ground."
I didn't know what to say. I wondered why I hadn’t thought of it before - 'Talent can't hide here, the football would injure it.' It made perfect sense. I thanked them and went off.
My search continued for a whole week.
I had messed up Mum's make up kit. I had fidgeted with Daddy's wallet. I had emptied Pia didi's art box. I had tangled Granny's stitching wool. And I had broken Grandpa's rocking chair. But that was all. That isn't much, is it?
THEY didn’t think so.
I was forced to accept defeat. I admit now, Talent is really good at hide-and-seek. I'm not the best player.
"Diya it’s enough now! Stop your wild goose chase!!"
No wonder I lost. Geese live in lakes and ponds, right?