This morning, having trudged all the way to the library to carry on with my preparation for the university exams next week, I was pretty groggy and quite plainly stressed. I've always (like millions of other students) had a habit of highlighting my lecture notes. And there I was studying and highlighting my astronomy notes in yellow when a particular incident from my childhood came back to me like a flash and I stopped.
I was 6. Having submitted an article (more like a bunch of incoherent sentences about something stupid) for a little competition at school, I was told the previous week that it had won a place in my school magazine. I must've been thrilled. I don't remember. At a following event, our principal had read out the names of the winners in his speech, a copy of which was given to all present, which included my mother. That evening at home, she carefully laid out the speech on my desk and asked if she could borrow my yellow crayon. I nodded and handed it over. She then began looking through the 5-page speech. After a couple of moments I heard her go "ahhh!" as she made a thick yellow line over a particular stretch on the page using the yellow crayon. I had no idea what she was doing, but I was curious. So I leaned in and saw the line she had drawn over. It was the part of the principal's speech where he had announced my name. I still didn't get it. I looked up and asked her what the yellow color meant and she said "well it's a way of highlighting something important that you might wanna see again, only you won't have to search for it a second time!" I was swept off by this simple idea. To me, she was a genius.
Back in the library, still holding that yellow highlighter mid-air, I couldn't believe I had such a fresh account of that memory locked up in my mind somewhere. But having looked back 15 years into the past, I couldn't help but feel humbled and grateful for having all these right forces in my life. I mean I was like a handful of freshly kneaded dough, and thankfully I was shaped in the best ways possible by people who cared and still do. I put the highlighter back, grabbed my phone and got up.
"Where are you going?" my friend asked.
"Just need to call someone who taught me how to highlight."