Manya felt useless. Why? Because she felt she had nothing. Whole adolescence had been spent awing at other girls who had it all, the best clothes, the best education, whatever that money could buy. She had been born into a lower middle class family and had remained so throughout her 35 yrs of life.
She had tried to get a seat in an engineering college, but couldn’t. Call it fate/karma whatever, but although she had tried hard she couldn’t get a seat in any college. A payment seat was out of the question, instead of doing B.Sc she thought it better to do Bcom. Attempted CA but after clearing Inter and failing Finals twice decided to chuck it and got married to Atul, a BCom graduate working for a Marwari business. A good man, good family. And she settled down to a life akin to the one she had grown up in.
When she had borne Amit, she had vowed that he would get the best. And so when he started school, she started taking tuitions. There were conservative families who didn’t allow their daughters outside for tuitions, and to these girls she tutored and was paid well.
She had insisted on putting Amit to one of the best schools of the city even though they could ill afford it. While the education was good, the calls for ‘fees’ were many. Sometimes craft, sometimes value education, sometimes dramatics apart from the regular fees.
Amit was a sweet child, ever understanding but she felt bad when she saw his classmates wearing smart uniforms arriving in BIG cars. She knew some ridiculed Amit for coming to school on a bicycle and his old school bag. But it was difficult as such to pay for his fees so that all other needs took back seat.
Recently she had been to pick up Amit from one of his classmates birthday party and my God what an extravagant affair that was.
And now it was his birthday, his 10th in fact and she wanted it to be special. She had been scrimping for it and had managed to save a bit. She was inviting just 10 of his classmates but they would have a good time. She was taking them to an amusement park and later for a special meal.
All these things were going in her mind when she was going to Juhi’s house. Juhi a Kutchi Gujju girl; loaded family, where she was treated like royalty, but what was this, the lift was not working; which meant she had to climb up four flight of stairs and she was already late.
And so she began the ascent. The staircase looked dark as she had come inside from blazing sunshine and so she didn’t notice that the tiled step had some liquid, stepped on it and fell.
Manya’s right leg had a fracture. And though the medical bills were covered by insurance, her savings had to be used for the time she was inactive.
Call it fate, luck or karma, Manya’s dream of having a gala time on her son’s 10th birthday was also unfulfilled.