The Pot Maker by Temsula Ao Summary

 
 The Potmaker- Simple explanation.

   A story that leaves every  reader in pathos, The Pot Maker by Temsula So is  indeed a  melancholic story of a young girl named Sentila and her relentless efforts  to become a Potmaker, despite her mother's opposition.
Mother Arenla wants Sentila to turn into weaving, which was then considered a reputable profession which she believed would bring in fortune and prosperity to any girl .
But Sentila who was too much obsessed with Pot making ,  secretly aspired to become a Pot maker.

Inorder to learn the basics of potmaking She paid regular visits to village elder -women -potmakers.They tried to dissuade her from practicing it, but they failed, for Sentila was too determined to become one.They told her pottery was not an easy job as she thinks it to be , neither it brought profit.But nothing on earth  could prevent Sentila from learning the craft.

Sentilas regular visits to those old women became a topic of gossip among the villagers.
The village council, who came to know about her clandestine visits to the old women folk and her mother' s reluctance in teaching her their profession, finally summoned her father Mesoba and enquired him regarding Arenla's , reluctance in passing on the traditional craft to her daughter

Mesoba couldn't tell the truth, for telling the truth would put their life at stake. The council would only support Sentila's aspirations to become a potmaker, for it mainly stands for the collective good of the tribe.
So Mesoba decided to distort the story . He said that Sentila visited those potmakers because she was interested with a particular lady who sang lullabies and gave her sweet potatoes.Also Arenla never showed reluctance
Instead they were waiting for Sentila- to grow a little stronger after she contracted an illness
Even they ordered a dao for her to dig the clay

The village council however became satisfied with his explanation. But they told Mesoba that it was Arenlas duty, being one of the expert potmakers of the tribe, to pass on the traditional craft not only to Sentila- but to anyone who approached her. And if she continues to do the same she shall be treated as the enemy to the entire village

Next year Sentila was taken to lithu to dig the grey and red clayArenla taught her the basics of potmaking. But Sentilacouldn't make pots and she failed in every attempt. Also her mother coolly refused to guide her . The whole process became a contest of wills, where the mother was trying to thwart the efforts of Sentila to create the slightest semblance of a pot out of the recalcitrant clay.But the strong-willed Sentila couldn't easily surrender to defeat.
. She fell prey to her mother's wrath . Arenla chided her for not obeying her and reiterated that Sentila cannot become a Pot maker.
Sentila even felt that, it was her mother's presence that hindered her from making perfect pots. The sessions continued for almost a year , but Sentila could only produce misshapen parodies instead of her dream pots.

The next year, Sentila attained puberty.
She was admitted in a post puberty dormitory warded by Onula, an elderly widow of their tribe.It was Onula who helped sentila identify her flaws. One day a renowned singer along with his band was giving a performance in their village. While all the other girls of the dormitory rushed in to the performance, Sentila decided to stay back. She had been looking for a quiet opportunity to practice her art alone. After all the girls had left, Sentila took out the clay and tools that she had smuggled from home. Onula was watching her making pots in private . 
She noticed that Sentila lacked the rhythm and confidence that was required for pot making. Also she was  too tense. Onula who was watching her, taught her the basics of potmaking.She also gave sentila certain tips.She advised her to hold her thigh muscles taut, dip her hand in water before slipping it into the clay and tap the clay with a rhythm which was the most important thing.
With all these new lessons in mind sentila returned to her home, determined to become a perfect pot maker. The first thing she did was she observed her mother.
 
One day Arenla asked Sentila to make as many pots, that too as soon as possible, for they wont get enough sun once the monsoon comes. Sentila was amazed and at the same time happy to hear this from her mother . Sentila was very happy to obey her mother. She along with Arenla began to make pots.
After a while Arenla left for home complaining of a headache , asking sentila to complete the rest. Sentila was surprised at her mother's confidence and trust  in her expertise. 

After Arenla had left, Sentila had a strange experience.while she started making pots alone, She felt like another pair of hands had taken over the task entrusted with her.
She completed a full row of pots just one short of her mother's tally. Sentila waited for her mother's return to tell her this happy news. As there was no sign of her return, Sentila went inside her house in search of her. she ran into the house out of excitement. But she was shocked to see her mother's lifeless body lying on the floor.
Sentila ran to the Village Common for help. The Village elders summoned Mesoba, who was working in a nearby field and made all arrangements for the funeral. Sentila was found crouched in a corner, dry-eyed and speechless. She stayed the whole night refusing food or drink and when her mother's body was being carried out of the house for funeral, she was shouting out her apologies. None among the mourners could understand her except Onula. 
After  the funeral, on her way back home , Onula noticed the door of the workshed was slightly ajar. She saw two newly made neat rows of pots side by side..she examined them closely to spot any difference between the two.
But she couldn't find anything to tell one batch from the other .
But one thing was sure, it was not the handiwork of one person alone. At the same time, there was no possibility of Arenla complete this task , as she left very early complaining of headache. And Sentila was not an expert too, she was too young and inexperienced. So how could it be possible?
So it could only be possible if both the mother and daughter were involved in it. Perhaps her dead mother might have helped her daughter fulfill her aspirations to become a potmaker.

Onula unable to understand the new phenomenon stood there for a long time and came out dazed.Slowly she walked away from that place of wonder , unable to believe the new phenomenon.So what she witnessed there was the birth of a new Potmaker, birth of a new tradition.

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