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Art, Creative writing

An ancient story

Allow me to tell you a short story. It has to be short because it was inspired by a small set of squiggles on an ancient artifact, and my Holmes-ian attempt to deduce their origin. Here’s the piece.

Part of an Egyptian pot from the Naqada period.

A man sat outside his hut, fashioning pots out of the riverside clay. He might be using a potter’s wheel, if he’d had some contact with traveling merchants from Sumer.

His 4-year-old daughter was playing nearby and ran over to see what her father was creating. She was fascinated by the magical way the mud was moulded into these beautiful, sinuous shapes, then carved with these lovely designs by her father. She felt so proud of him. And she wanted (so much!) to do what he was doing!

So, she pestered him, begging him to let her make “one design” till with an indulgent laugh, he sat her in his lap, took her small hands in his and shaped a lump of clay into a pot. “Happy?”, he asked her with a laugh. “No” she laughingly replied. She wanted to carve it too. So the man took a stylus, etched a short wavy line, and handed her the stylus. She held it forcefully, and tried to copy her father’s design, her concentration and focus pushing the stylus in deep. Then maybe it was her insistence or a loving father’s desire to make a memory, but that pot was baked, glazed and put to use.

And somehow, over five millennia, that little picture of parental love managed to survive to reach us. See the zig-zag pattern on top and the smaller, rougher copy of it below. Note how deep the pattern was gouged, you can still see the ridges the displaced mud made: does it not look like a child’s attempt to learn how to draw?

Now, is this story true? Honestly, how could anyone say that? Does it fit the facts? I’d say so, but I leave you to draw your own conclusions. Was it a lovely thought? Again, I’d say so, and I hope you do too!


About hbhatnagar

I need to fill this up with much better content than I had populated it with earlier. Why I write a blog maybe? I started blogging in 2009 or thereabouts. I was a newly turned atheist and wanted to converse with others of the same persuasion. We're not exactly a big population group in India! It didn't go very well and I sort of lost interest, posting a few things now and then. I got a lot more regular over the last few months and have been posting almost daily since February '15. There were many reasons why I gradually became more regular in posting, but one way or the other, here I am! So this blog has taken shape, being at different points in time my showcase, my comedy club, my art gallery, my book club, my therapist, my close friend, my innermost self....but always my little corner of the world. You are all welcome to visit and I hope you stay awhile! A few points about me because I don't want to lead anyone on(and trust me this does become an issue more often than I'd care to admit). I'm Indian, the brown-skinned variety; if race, ethnicity or skin colour is an issue, you don't have to get to know me any more than what you see on my blog. I'm 40, so if age is an issue, please be informed accordingly. I was a doctor, an ophthalmic surgeon for 10 years before I quit practice.


23 thoughts on “An ancient story

  1. What a sweet interpretation. I’m going to say it’s true!

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by 10000hoursleft | 06/05/2019, 4:52 PM
    • Thank you! And welcome back; haven’t seen you in a while. I hope all is well?


      Posted by hbhatnagar | 07/05/2019, 6:01 AM
      • You’re welcome, and thanks! Nice to be back. I’m well, just needed a break and it turned out to be a long one! Still not sure how to fit reading other blogs into my schedule but I’ll def be reading and supporting my blogger friends as much as I can. How are you?


        Posted by 10000hoursleft | 07/05/2019, 8:51 AM
      • I’ve been very irregular as well, in posting. Work and life seem to keep getting in the way. Still, I try to maintain some link with people I’ve gotten to know here. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

        Posted by hbhatnagar | 13/05/2019, 5:10 AM
      • It’s so different now to when I was more engaged here, but nice to see familiar faces still blogging 😊


        Posted by 10000hoursleft | 13/05/2019, 5:36 AM
  2. Oh such a wonderful story .. thanks for sharing this πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Julie@frogpondfarm | 03/04/2019, 12:49 AM
  3. Happy to read you again, doc πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by HeavyCloud | 28/03/2019, 10:55 PM
  4. A very beautiful story. This story reminds the artwork you and your daughter worked together.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Amy | 27/03/2019, 9:23 PM
  5. That certainly might be how it happened!

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Mick Canning | 27/03/2019, 1:57 PM
  6. True or not, the story is beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Indira | 27/03/2019, 9:04 AM

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