Sakhi's Laghukatha

Archive for the ‘Kids’ Category

true-story4

Names and certain incidences are changed to protect privacy!

“Papaaaaaaaaaaa…” Shree ran to her father to give him a bear hug as she saw him on the airport almost after a fortnight. She loved her father a lot but these days he was too busy with expansion of his business and was not able to give her much time. He kissed her on her forehead and hugged her tight. Oh, how he missed her! Shree was his only child and apple of his eyes. Shree filled him up with all that she had done in the past few days at school, about her friends and her win at State skating championship.

“Where’s mom?” Mohit asked her. He did not like that Shree had come to pick him up alone with the driver. He never trusted anyone with his daughter.

“Oh, mom was busy with some meeting, so I came alone. I couldn’t wait to meet you, papa!” His heart swelled with love for his daughter.

In a day or two at home, Mohit noticed some changes in his adolescent daughter. She was more chirpy than usual. She had some shyness on her face which wasn’t there earlier. Mohit disregarded these changes thinking that they were due to the transition of his little girl to the womanhood. Still, he made a mental note to talk about this to his wife. Just to be sure that there was no silly boy in his daughter’s life. BOY, was he paranoid!

But before he could dwell more on the matter he was on tour again and the whole issue was forgotten. But it struck him as odd when Shree did not come to pick him up on the airport this time. And as he noticed, the changes that were subtle earlier were pronounced now. Shree was lost all the time, spent more time in her room. Most striking was, her grades were below average, for the first time in her life. Mohit tried to talk to her but she refused that there was any problem. The heated argument ensued with Mohit striking her hard across her face, again, for the first time in her life! Tears of anger, tears of shame, tears of humiliation, tears of revenge slid down young Shree’s cheeks. She resolved to teach her father a lesson!

Mohit felt bad at losing his temper. He knew how futile it would be to deal with adolescent kids in such upper hand manners. He resolved to make it up to her the next day.

Mohit prepared Shree’s favourite breakfast, rosti and orange juice, and took the tray to her room. He was shell shocked not to find her but a note on her pillow. He collapsed on the bed reading his daughter’s life sentence to herself!

Malti found him sitting at the edge of Shree’s bed staring at the life size picture of their daughter with tears running down his face. He looked so haggard and lost that she had to shake him out of his trance. When she read the note Shree had left behind, Malti almost collapsed. A look of “What and when did so much go wrong” passed between them. They sat there, holding hands and crying over each others shoulders for their daughter.

When did Shree grow up so much! She was all of sixteen and fallen in love. Fallen in love with a sweeper! And she ran away with him to teach her father a lesson!

“God, why her?” Mohit kept repeating this again and again in his prayers.

“She is just a kid. She doesn’t even know how to boil water or who polishes her shoes. How will she survive? What if…”  There were thousands of questions pricking Shree’s parents.

Mohit and Malti tried their level best, with all the contacts they had, to find their daughter to no vail. Even the boy’s parents were taken into custody but they too did not know where the duo was. It was almost two months now that Shree had gone.  Everybody had given up hope, but Mohit. In his heart he knew he would find his daughter no matter what!

One day as he was returning from his office, he saw a young girl selling vegetables on the roadside. She, just a little, resembled his Shree… though this girl was in shambles, in tattered clothes and looked like she hasn’t eaten or taken bath in months. Mohit shook his head at how almost all girls of Shree’s age reminded him of his beloved child. Tears stung his eyes yet again.

But as he went a few blocks ahead something struck him. No, this girl has to be Shree… the resemblance was too much to be a coincidence. He asked his driver to take a u-turn, he wanted to be sure! He approached the vendor with caution. If it was Shree, he did not want her to lose her again.

He could not believe his eyes when he looked at the girl from such close quarters. His daughter had lost substantial amount of weight, once shiny black hair looked like end of a broom with filth in them. Her once lacquered nails were brittle with dirt underneath, lips were chapped and skin was now dirty and listless! Mohit fought inner battle not to break down with pain in full public view.

“Shree…” he called her tentatively. Their eyes met. Something flickered in Shree’s eyes, hope may be! Without a word father-daughter climbed in the car. Mohit held his daughter’s hand tightly, never to let go again.

He saw shame, humiliation, fear and many such nameless emotions in his daughter’s eyes and gritted his teeth. He vowed to ruin the boy’s life. But that can wait… till his daughter is brought back to life!!!

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Posted on: June 20, 2009

fiction_stamp2Aarohi opened her purse to pay for her shopping and found her purse to be empty of cash. It was good that she was carrying credit card. She made a mental note to talk to Mahir about this. “At least he should have informed me if he took the money” she thought, fuming.

Later that evening after dinner she broached the subject up with Mahir.

“Have you taken money from my purse?”

“Nope. Why do you ask?”

“No? This is the third time in last two months that some money is missing from my purse. I thought you might have taken it for some reason. But when I found that $100 was missing again today, I wanted to confirm.”

“WHAT? Are you serious! But why didn’t you tell me this before?Anyway, how much have you lost till now?”

“About $200…”

There was shock on Mahir’s face. There were only three people in their home. They and their seven year old kid!

Now Aarohi was at lost. Who could be taking the money? She thought of baby sitter or the maid who came once a week for cleaning the apartment, but on thinking harder she concluded that they might not be the culprits.

They forgot about the incidence in a couple of days. “

Why are you crying?” Aarohi asked Bittoo when she went to pick him up from school one day. He didn’t reply. She could make out that he was trying to control but failed to stop tears smearing his cute little face. She didn’t probe more. She hugged him and they came home. But Bittoo sulked the rest of the day and refused to go to school the next day. He went finally to school after a lot of cajoling. But his tantrums increased day by day. Aarohi and Mahir noticed the behavioural changes but they attributed it to the new school, new environment and new friends.

As the days passed Bittoo became introvert and hardly talked to them or anybody. He no longer demanded to listen to a story before going to bed. In fact he no longer demanded for anything. Aarohi and Mahir started contemplating to visit his school and talk to his teachers.

Aarohi went to see Bittoo at night once he was fast asleep. Looking at his cherubic face her eyes welled up.

“What has happened to my little boy?” she started crying softly and bent to kiss her son. As she started going out she saw that Bittoo was holding something in his fist. She was shocked to find $50 note crumpled in his tiny hand. She just collapsed on the bed and sat there holding her head in her hands.

“Where had they gone wrong? Was it due to this foreign land and its culture? Was it something else?” She didn’t know how long she sat there holding her child’s hand.

Mom

Posted on: April 20, 2009

fiction_stamp2“Thud…” He was thrown on the bed so hard, he wailed, more from the shock than pain, which irritated his mother even more. And he got a tight slap again. Suddenly the bell rang and he was spared from getting strangulated. He was all of three months then.

 

Though he never had the memories of those incidents of younger years, he distinctly remembered when he wanted to sleep with his parents once. He was of four years. His father would have loved to have him with them but the look on his mother’s face told him otherwise. But a child that he was he tried to pursue her to allow him.

 

“You better sleep down there; else you know what I can do when your father isn’t there!”

 

Oh, he knew it very well. He urinated that night again in his bed. Of course one more punishment was waiting for him for spoiling the bed. He was stripped of his clothes and was made to stand in the balcony facing the road!

 

He never understood why his mother behaved the way she did. His father was always nice to him. And he had noticed that mother was a different woman around him. But he was scared to tell any of these atrocities to his father since he was threatened with more dire consequences if he ever dared to do so.

 

But for him the scenario became a bit more pleasant when his sister came to his world. He was overjoyed to have a little bundle of love. But he was horrified when the little baby was also thrashed the way he was! It was a pure miracle that the brother-sister duo survived.

 

Their love for each other was like a silver lining of the black cloud.

 

“Chinky, I have lost my sweater today at school. I went and tried to find it but I don’t know where I lost it!” He was almost in tears and was scared to go home to face his mother.

 

“Kuchh nahi hoga bhaiya, don’t worry!” Chinky tried to pacify her brother, who was shaking like a dry leaf.

 

Miraculously their mother didn’t say a word about the sweater and they both breathed sigh of relief. But it was indeed a short lived one. The next day when he was tying a knot to his pajama, his mother came and tied it so tight that it was difficult for him to even breathe. He was left that way the whole day and when he couldn’t hold back he peed in his pajama! Thrice, since he was not allowed to change his pajama!

 

He was 11 years then.

 

He always wished that some relative should come and stay with them since that was the only time his mother didn’t met out the “punishments” to the duo. He never understood what irked his mother. Everybody in his family and extended family praised him for his behaviour and he was in good in studies too. He always tried to please his mother. Somehow he never succeeded.

But recently his anger was brewing, especially when he saw his sister also getting the brunt without any fault of her. Yet, he was courteous in his behaviour lest something irked his mother!

 

But today when he came from school he saw his sister standing in balcony, facing the road… without clothes!!! Something snapped inside him.

 

He rushed up and covered his sister! His mother came menacingly. She had forgotten that her son was now no longer a young boy whom she can intimidate physically. But she did not stop and tried to remove the blanket from her daughter. He couldn’t hold himself any longer.

 

“Thud…..” with all the anger brewing for all these years he hit his mother.

 

“Try touching her once more and you can be sure that you will not live to see a new day in your life.” The thunder in his voice conveyed the message loud and clear.

 

He hugged his sister and took her away with tears running down his face. Tears of what, he couldn’t understand!

fiction_stamp2“Come on, yaar! I think when one is older the need of a spouse is even more. Be it a man or a woman.” Pankti remembered her own words when she had vehemently defended elderly remarriage among her group.

“What if, God forbid, your father was to do the same? What will be your reaction then? Pankti, it is one thing to talk about something and other when you actually have to follow it!” Krish had argued.

“No, I will always be at my dad’s side if he chooses to remarry after my mother!” She had replied strongly. The discussion went on and ended without a consensus. That was about two decades ago.

Pankti had never, ever thought that she would have to take such a decision in her life. The only difference was that the decision was to be taken for her mother instead of father. Why call it a decision? Her mother had given her a choice… a choice for her mother’s life!

Of course, Pankti was not averse to the idea. Or was she?

Why, then, since she has heard of it is she so upset?

Were her debates and the talks of (elderly) remarriage just empty talks? No. And, anyways, who was talking about marriage here? They just have decided to stay together, a few days at her mom’s place and a few days at “his” place.

“Then what’s your problem?” She asked herself.

Though she was still not comfortable with the whole idea, she had agreed to meet with “the man” whom her mother thought was a “very nice person” and “she would love to meet him”!

As the duo approached him, pankti was increasingly feeling nervous. She looked at her mother and could make out that she too was not in her usual chirpy mood. Pankti went into a kind of a shock when she met Mr. Shah.  He was not at all what she had conjured up in her mind. He was a slight man with a pleasant personality and slowly she became comfortable in his company.

“What did you expect, idiot!!” She reprimanded herself. “He is supposed to be 65 years old, about your mother’s age.”

But his grey cells were nowhere near 65 years… he was a jovial man and well versed too. Slowly Pankti relaxed and forgot how apprehensive she was before coming here. And she looked at her mother, her smile was worth anything.

Later that night when she was thinking about Mahadeve i.e. Mr. Shah, she realized that she never had any problem with her mother being friends or more with anybody. But she was afraid of how the other person might turn out to be. It was as if she was thinking about her child’s matrimony and not her mother’s!

Today when she endorsed their friendship with a smile she truly felt she had become her mother’s mother!! 🙂

fiction_stampDhruti had some time at hand as her daughter had gone to a neighbour’s place for a birthday party.  She just relaxed and was flipping through the “Good Housekeeping” when the bell rang. She looked at Harsh in a hope that he would open it but he looked more intently in his newspaper as if he was doing PhD in journalism!!

She got up and opened the door and saw her daughter’s best friend standing there.

Bittoo: Aunty, is Krina home?

She: Arey, she has gone to Seema’s birthday party. Why aren’t you there? She called you too, isn’t it?

He: The party got over long back and Krina isn’t there.

Dhruti’s heart skipped a beat. Overhearing the conversation Harsh leaped on his feet and was besides her in a fraction of second. Their eyes met and they could see the dread in each other’s eyes.

In a few seconds thousands thoughts ran through their minds.

Where has she gone? She never goes anywhere with out telling us!

Somebody might have kidnapped her! Will she be forced to beg?

She is just of 5 odd years! There are vultures out there.

And many more horrid thoughts passed through their worried minds.

In those few seconds, they imagined the worst.

They ran in the street bare feet shouting out their daughter’s name. And then they heard her.

“Mamma!!!”

A joyous call to tell them she was with her friend in one of the neighbours’ place.

The look Krina saw on her parents’ faces made her feel uneasy. Dhruti almost slapped her in frustration and pulled her towards her. Hugged her so tightly that Krina almost couldn’t breath. Harsh’s eyes were glisteneing with unshed tears.

Again a look passed between them. As if asking each other, “Aren’t we getting paranoid?”

Were they really paranoid or is it a need of the day to be extremely vigilant and in turn suffocate a childhood!!!!!

His eyes turned into saucers when he saw her for the first time. And when he saw what she was offering him, he was on cloud nine. He simply loved candy-floss! But the moment she kissed him on his cheek he wiped it clean.

Kush didn’t like girls kissing him, yet! In his entire life of nine years he had allowed only his mother to cuddle him and kiss him. He loved being held by her. Oh, how he loved it! But it was more than a year now since she did any such thing. He blamed himself for being naughty and requested God often to send his mother back. He promised him he would behave himself and never, ever upset his mother. But God never listened to him. Now it was only him and daddy. And daddy too had changed since mom went away. He rarely smiled and was keeping himself busy all the time. Though he played with him and also told him stories at night, Kush’s young brain analyzed that his father was also missing his mother the way he did!

But for the last couple of months, daddy had started smiling more often. Yesterday he even whistled while making him the breakfast. Kush felt good. He missed his mother but he wanted his daddy to be happy, very happy!

Daddy said that one of his friends was coming home for dinner tonight and so he had to complete his homework earlier. Kush loved guests. And the attention they showered on him.

And true to that this sweet aunty got him candy floss. He loved candy floss, but that I have already mentioned earlier.

She seemed to be sweet and talked and laughed a lot. And daddy, too, was laughing a lot. It’s been so long ago that daddy had laughed like this that Kush didn’t even remember.

He sat there with them eating his candy floss and sulking. Usually he would not sit with his daddy’s guests for long. But today he refused to budge. He didn’t know why he was suddenly feeling so low and why his eyes were brimming with tears.

“That Lady”‘s visits became more frequent and Kush started feeling alienated. His temper tantrums increased. Daddy was at lost. He didn’t realize what was wrong with Kush suddenly. He was getting worried. He tried to talk to Kush, he tried everything possible but it seemed as if Kush had shut doors. When Kush didn’t light up while watching “The power rangers”, daddy couldn’t take it any more.

“Kush, I want to have a talk with you, a man to man talk. Can I trust you?” daddy asked.

“Man to man?” Kush looked at his father, a bit confused, but intrigued. This was the first real response daddy got from Kush in weeks. He got strength to go on further.

“I am in a dilemma. And I need advice from you. I think you are the only person who can help me.”

Kush didn’t know what to say but he was all ears now and felt very important as his father thought him to be his confidante. He looked at daddy intently and urged him to go on.

“You know Jui, the friend of mine!”

Kush got tensed at the mention of “That lady”. Daddy felt the reaction and was now doubly sure about the problem. He had hit the bull’s eye.

“I am thinking whether I should continue my friendship with her. I do like her company but… you know, I am not really sure. She is a girl, you see!”

Kush’s face lit up. Daddy felt a tug at heart.

“I like her a lot and she seems to be the best friend I had in a long time. But I am not very sure. What do you say?”

Kush was in a dilemma now. He had not anticipated this.

“I think you are the only person whom I can talk to and can rely on the opinion. Do think and tell me.”

With that daddy bade good night with a peck on his forehead.

Kush’s little heart went into topsy-turvy. He sat there for a long time and thought “hard”, as hard as a nine year old could think.

But before he went for the sleep he had made the decision.

After a long time Kush slept with a big smile on his face.

Related post:

Remarriage and Indian Society

My wife called, ‘How long will you be with that newspaper? Will you come here and make your darling daughter eat her food?

 

I tossed the paper away and rushed to the scene. My only daughter, Sindu, looked frightened; tears were welling up in her eyes. In front of her was a bowl filled to its brim with curd rice. Sindu is a nice child, quite intelligent for her age.

 

I cleared my throat and picked up the bowl. ‘Sindu, darling, why don’t you take a few mouthful of this curd rice? Just for Dad’s sake, dear?’

 

Sindu softened a bit and wiped her tears with the back of her hands. ‘Ok, Dad. I will eat – not just a few mouthfuls, but the whole lot of this. But, you should…’ Sindu hesitated. ‘Dad, if I eat this entire curd Rice, will you give me whatever I ask for?’

 

‘Promise’. I covered the pink soft hand extended by my daughter with mine, and clinched the deal. Now I became a bit anxious. ‘Sindu, dear, you shouldn’t insist on getting a computer or any such expensive items. Dad does not have that kind of money right now. Ok?’

 

‘No, Dad. I do not want anything expensive’. Slowly and painfully, she finished eating the whole quantity. I was silently angry with my wife and my mother for forcing my child to eat something that she detested.

 

After the ordeal was through, Sindu came to me with her eyes wide with expectation.. All our attention was on her.

 

‘Dad, I want to have my head shaved off, this Sunday!’ was her demand.

 

‘Atrocious!’ shouted my wife, ‘A girl child having her head shaved off? Impossible!’

 

‘Never in our family!’ My mother rasped. ‘She has been watching too much of television. Our culture is getting totally spoiled with these TV programs!’

 

‘Sindu, darling, why don’t you ask for something else? We will be sad seeing you with a clean-shaven head.’

 

‘Please, Sindu, why don’t you try to understand our feelings?’ I tried to plead with her.

 

‘Dad, you saw how difficult it was for me to eat that Curd Rice’. Sindu was in tears.

 

‘And you promised to grant me whatever I ask for. Now, you are going back on your words. Was it not you who told me the story of King Harishchandra, and its moral that we should honor our promises no matter what?’

 

It was time for me to call the shots. ‘Our promise must be kept.’

 

‘Are you out of your mind?’ chorused my mother and wife.

 

‘No. If we go back on ourpromises, she will never learn to honour her own.. Sindu, your wish will be fulfilled.’

 

With her head clean-shaven, Sindu had a round-face, and her eyes looked big and beautiful.

 

On Monday morning, I dropped her at her school. It was a sight to watch my hairless Sindu walking towards her classroom. She turned around and waved. I waved back with a smile. Just then, a boy alighted from a car, and shouted, ‘Sinduja, please wait for me!’ What struck me was the hairless head of that boy.

 

‘May be, that is the in-stuff’, I thought.

 

‘Sir, your daughter Sinduja is great indeed!’ Without introducing herself, a lady got out of the car, and continued, ‘that boy who is walking along with your daughter is my son Harish. He is suffering from… leukemia’. She paused to muffle her sobs. ‘Harish could not attend the school for the whole of the last month. He lost all his hair due to the side effects of the chemotherapy. He refused to come back to school fearing the unintentional but cruel teasing of the schoolmates. Sinduja visited him last week, and promised him that she will take care of the teasing issue. But, I never imagined she would sacrifice her lovely hair for the sake of my son! Sir, you and your wife are blessed to have such a noble soul as your daughter.’

 

I stood transfixed and then, I wept. ‘My little Angel, you are teaching me how selfless real love is!’

P.S. This is not my creation. But sadly I don’t know who the author is, so am unable to give the credit. I loved the story and my eyes welled up while reading it! I wanted to share it with you guys, hope you like it too!


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