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Pakhi learns some facts

It was Monday evening and Pakhi was waiting for the singing class to begin when a chauffeur driven car stopped and a girl stepped out. Oh it’s Sheetal thought Pakhi. Sheetal was her classmate at school. Wearing a hep dress she stepped into the room and said “ Hi everybody I am Sheetal”. Pakhi tried to hide amongst the group of 6 but Sheetal had already seen her. “Hi Pakhi .You too come here. I met Aysha Dang the popstar the other day you know, and she advised my parents to send me to some singing class because I have a good voice, so here I am”. “Oh is it, so nice”, murmured Pakhi . Just then their teacher arrived and the classes began. Normally she enjoyed singing classes but today she just couldn’t concentrate, her whole focus was on Sheetals dress.

Mummy found Pakhi in a solemn mood, she tried to probe but the only answer she got was that Sheetal had joined the singing classes. But she couldn’t understand what the problem was, she knew Sheetal Dasgupta was the local industrialist’s daughter but what happened if she joined the classes, she wondered.

In the coming days Pakhi got disinterested in the classes to the point that mummy had to literally push her out of the house. One day she found her daughter in front of the mirror modeling. She had pulled her skirt high up so that it reached just above her knees and the T-shirt off her shoulder so that it looked like an off shoulder top. “Hmmm, my daughter is growing up” thought Aanchal, “it won’t be long before we will be discussing clothes and…boys”, she thought gaily.

But the next day found she found Pakhi in tears, “what happened Darling.” She said. “its Sheetal, ma”. “What did she do”, asked her mother. “Nothing but she always wears such fab clothes and me the same 5-6 outfits. You know her dresses are so good, all bought from INFINITY.” Infinity was a designer store for young ladies. “And she always brags about the dinners she has in different restaurants, I feel so inferior, Mummy”. So this is the problem thought Aanchal. My daughter is growing up and is discovering the world and the worldly pursuits she thought. How do I make her understand that we are middle class and can’t afford such luxuries?

That evening she said to her husband, “Hey Rahul why don’t we go to the Bistro on Saturday” “Bistro, Aanchal do you know how much a single bowl of soup costs there”, her husband enquired. “Yes I do but…” “But what”, Asked Rahul. And out poured Pakhis woes. “Oh so you want to please Pakhi. But I don’t think its right Aanchal. We might placate her a little by taking her to some fancy restaurant but she has to understand that we can’t afford it. Not now at least when she is confused. Let her understand the class differences in her own way then maybe one day we will take her to the Bistro but not now.” “Alright but let us get at least an outfit from INFINITY, just to make her happy”, Aanchal pleaded. “No. If we fulfill this wish she will feel that we can fulfill all her expectations which in reality we can’t. Aanchal she has to know the difference between wishes and reality.” “OK” murmured Mummy; she didn’t agree with her husband’s logic but decided to keep mum for peace’s sake.

But she did speak to Rohini, Abhishek’s mother. She and Rohini too had been classmates and she told her about Pakhis troubles. “Oh Aanchal its just clothes and restaurants. My son is imitating the boxing styles of our cinema heroes and also the way they smoke. How do I make him understand that smoking is indeed injurious to health”, wailed Rohini. Oh growing up pains thought Aanchal.

Some days later Aanchal had packed Pakhis favorite Aloo parathas in her Tiffin box. Caught between her husbands ideologies and her daughters wishes, she was trying in her own ways to please Pakhi. During the interval Sheetal came and sat next to Pakhi and said “may I sit here” and proceeded to ask her,” what have u brought. Oh aloo parathas, yummy I just love aloo parathas. Can I have some”. “Sure” Said Pakhi. “Hey your cook cooks real nice” said she. “Cook? But these are made by my mummy” Said Pakhi. “Your mummy cooks?” Asked Sheetal. “Yes”, replied Pakhi,”your mom doesn’t”. “No” said Sheetal and proceeded to tell that her mom was busy doing charity work, attending parties to raise funds for some or the other social cause, how her cook cooked and her maid helped her with dressing up etc and her tuition teacher who helped with her studies. How she met her father rarely and her mother on weekends when they went out for lunches and shopping. And in turn Pakhi told her about her family how they did all chores together, how they did gardening and played scrabble and in the end Sheetal remarked, “You are one lucky girl Pakhi” which made her very happy.

Evening mummy found Pakhi joyfully playing with her friends as soon as she saw her she came sprinting and hugged her and immediately proceeded to tell her what had happened at school. Then Aanchal gave her a surprise; a pretty denim skirt and pink off shoulders top, “not Infinity dear but..” “But this is just fab mummy just wonderful. I LOVE YOU” and off she ran to try the new dress.

So this hurdle is crossed, thought Rahul, what is up next?

Pakhi has a new classmate

It was the first day of Standard 6 and Section B, Pakhi’s section was buzzing. Pakhi sat content and smiling happy to be with her classmates again when there was a sudden hush and the Principal arrived along with their class teacher, Mrs Fernandes and a boy- a lanky boy with a lopsided grin.

“Good morning,class”, she said.

“Good morning Madam”, they chorused.

“Well we have with us Aditya a new entrant to our school. He is a special child of God so be nice and kind to him. Wish you the very best for this school term” she said and was gone

Special child, aren’t we all special to God wondered Pakhi.

“Abhishek will you please move to the next bench and Aditya will sit with Pakhi”, said Mrs Fernandes. Ugh thought Pakhi, she hated changes. Abhishek and she gelled well and now he was being moved.
When school got over, Mrs. Fernandes gave Pakhi a letter to be given to her parents. She thought it must be something to do with her grades and hopped off.
Evening as usual as soon as her mother arrived Pakhi started her banter about what happened, what all she did etc. “Mummy you know there is a new boy in our class,Aditya. he looks bigger than us, must be a failure. He writes when he feels like and not when the teacher dictates” giggled Pakhi, An do you know Principal said he is a special child, but mummy aren’t we all special.” and on and on she went, but her mummy had stopped listening after the term special. “And yes mummy, MUMMY” yelled Pakhi.

“Yes beta.”

“Madam gave a letter for you and Dada, see” she said and scampered off.

Mr. And Mrs.Sharma it began

We have a new child Aditya , a child with special needs. We have decided to place him next to Pakhi. We know you may have objections to this but Pakhi has an understanding and patience which very few of her age possess. But she lacks assertiveness and is also shy. We believe that this liason will be beneficial to both.

In expectation of your cooperation
Regards
Mrs Fernandes
On behalf of the staff -Vidya Niketan

Late in the night Mr and Mrs Sharma whispered amongst themselves, “Rahul I don’t think this decision is right”, Mummy said
“Aanchal, Have to trust their judgement, Don’t you remember that when most of the staff were against Pakhis admission because she couldn’t yet recite ABC in her Pre primary, Principal agreed to take her saying that she had gifts which other kids didn’t have. Wasn’t she right, Pakhi made us proud with her writing abilities. Lets wait and watch,” Dada said

Days passed. While Aditya wrote when he felt like and listened also when he felt like. He was good at basketball and also painting. He was teased a lot by the other students because he failed miserably in all the subjects and he spoke very less. But to all teasing he just gave a grin.

Sometimes when the teacher dictated he threw away his pen. then Pakhi would pick it up and cajole him to write and he used to listen to her. All her free time was spent in teaching the same things to Aditya again and again. Though all the teachers were taking extra classes for him it was Pakhi whom he responded to.

But in the process Pakhi lost her grades too. She usually came in the first three ranks but in her First Unit Test she came 6th.

Mummy was furious. She made her sit down to study. “But Mummy I have finished this in the afternoon”. “No you have to do it again in front of me”, screamed Mummy.”I won’t “yelled Pakhi and left the room.

“I am telling you Rahul this Aditya will be the bane of our daughter”, she said to her husband.

“Aanchal, why are you hankering after grades. Its education that matters. And remember she is growing up and learning to be assertive’, quipped Dada.

That Saturday they had a get together. And as everyone knew that Pakhi was going for singing classes, everyone forced her to sing and pushed her forward. Oh she is going to embarrass us, thought Dada. Being shy she always hid behind her mummy and barely spoke to anyone.
‘Thumakki chalat Ramachandra’ began Pakhi but when she raised her head she got scared and stopped. After sometime she closed her eyes and started again. Her crystal clear voice reached a chord in every ones heart and they sat mesmerised. When she finished she received a deafening applause.

“Pakhi what happened when you started to sing”, asked Dada on their return home.

“I started to sing but when I raised my head I saw Bansal aunty’s grin and got scared”.

Dada smiled to himself. Mrs Bansals toothy grin scared many -adults included.”And then” he probed.

“And then I remembered Aditya”, she continued.

Oh Aditya again thought Mummy.

“You know everyone will tease Aditya but he will concentrate only on the ball and the basket and scores basket after basket. I did the same, closed my eyes and concentrated on the lyrics and sang”, she said and went off to sleep.

And we say kids are immature thought Dada
And mummy was thinking, Mrs Fernandes was right this liaison is indeed beneficial to both.

Pakhi and her worries

Pakhi was playing with some pebbles, some make believe game. Humming a tune to herself, she was happy. Her Standard 5th exams were over and she had a break of 15days. Her nani had come down from Lucknow to be with her. Nani was fun. She allowed her to be herself not like her mummy and dada, who were always after her; do this, do that. She could sing, dance, play with pebbles, mud whatever she wished for, with her nani around.

It was good that her nani arrived, her mummy having started going to work recently. Because it had become very expensive for a single person to run a family-her father had said. She had not understood what he meant. But nowadays they did go out for dinners and were planning a vacation in the May Holidays which was fantastic. They had never been on a real vacation before, just the routine holidays to visit family.

It was good of nani to come over-she thought otherwise I would have been bundled off to Mamaji’s house or to some camp she shuddered at the thought. She hated crowded places.

‘Pakhi, Pakhiiiiiiiii’ her nani called. ‘Yes nani’, she replied and ran towards their home.

‘Phone for you, beta, your Principal’, her nani said.

O my God, Have I flunked, have I flunked for the first time, she thought.

“H..h.hello”, she said.

“Good Morning, Pakhi, do you know why I have called”, Madam said.

“No, Have I failed the exam”.

“Oh No no”, and Madam laughed a hearty laugh. “You remember the essay competition on My Dream for which you had sent an entry in February”.

“Yes” she mumbled

“Well you have won Second prize and the prize distribution is on April 5th in New Delhi. Pakhi are you there”

“yesss MMadam” she said.

Well I have to discuss it out with your parents, can you ask them to meet me tomorrow at 10.30 am at the school. And yes Congratulations , my dear.” and disconnected the line.

Pakhi sat quietly in shocked silence. “What happened, beta”, her nani said anticipating some bad news.

“Nani” she said,” I won an essay contest and the prize distribution is in Delhi”.

“That’s wonderful news, Pakhi, but why are you so confused”.

“dada wont like it nani”.

“Why?” Nani said.

“Because it will be expensive to go to Delhi”.

“Ha ha”, nani laughed,” but they will be so proud of you dear. Come lets call them up and inform”.

“No no let them come home and then I ‘ll tell them”. But she was not sure if her nani could keep a secret. So she said” say God promise I wont tell”

“Ok, God promise” her nani said,”I wont tell” but she was thoughtful.

The rest of the day Pakhi was worried, how their budget will be affected, will her father be upset, will mummy get leave. When she had been sick last month, Mummy’s boss had not given her leave. Will Boss Uncle give leave now, she thought and so on.

Evening her mummy arrived, and asked “how was the day, beta”. Good she muttered and went back to her painting. Father arrived”how is my sona”, he said. Fine she said.

Dinner time they all sat down to eat. “Why ma does she have a fever, why is she so quiet,” Mummy asked Nani

“Pakhi, that’s it. Are you telling them or should I”. Oh my God has she flunked, mummy thought. Oh my God she has broken something, her dada thought.

“Dada, Mummy I won an essay competition-second prize and the prize distribution is in New Delhi” she uttered and felt as if a burden had been lifted from her shoulders.

“Oh my God, My god” both screamed in unison. “Such an honour and you are telling us now”.

“Well she was bothered that it will be expensive going to Delhi so was hesitant to tell you”, her nani explained.

“What” Her Dada said. “No darling, Nothing is expensive for you. Whatever we earn, whatever we save is for your future. Your happiness, your success is of the utmost importance, baccha, no thing else matters. And he came and hugged her tightly. Mummy came too and enveloped both of them

And everything was fine in Pakhis world again.