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Game of Blogs — Midway through the heart 

September 14, 2014
A pensive Roohi going to school

Team: Qissa

 

Read the previous part of the story HERE

 

Innocent vulnerability

 

Roohi was waiting quietly at the bus stop for the school bus. It was quite unlike her to stand still anywhere without thinking of yet another mischief.

One of her seniors at school had noticed that and had tried to bring Roohi to her usual self by lovingly pulling her two ponytails and teasing her, ‘Why is my cat not purring today?’

This class 12th student was studying in the same school that Roohi went to and boarded the bus from the same stop. On their return she would help Roohi cross the road before going in a different direction to her home… and this was a routine these two loved.

A pensive Roohi going to school

A pensive Roohi going to school

At any other moment this senior’s remark would have received a sharp rebuttal from Roohi as nine year olds are prone to, and she would have replied, ‘I am not a cat!’ But today Roohi did not react at all. She kept quiet and boarded the bus when it came and sat away from where the other girls sat.

Peering through the dusty window by her seat she thought of what had happened in the morning. Her young mind was unable to conclude anything. It isn’t easy for nine year olds to read between the lines and see through the complex games that adults play all the time.

‘What wrong did I do?’ she was trying hard with all the analytical and logical powers that the brain of a student of primary school could have, to analyse the incident that had taken place in the morning.

‘Mummy was arguing in a loud voice with Papa for not having paid the bills. I am sure he must have spent the money for paying these bills to get me that new dress. I knew that in the morning mummy would forget to leave the money for the payment of the bills and there would be a fight again in the evening.’ Roohi’s agitated mind wasn’t letting her think of anything other than the morning fight at home.

‘So I took the money from mummy’s purse and gave it to papa. I am not a thief. I did not steal. I did not take money for myself. I did not want any fights and arguments in the house in the evening, so I just took out the money and gave to papa,’ Roohi was still thinking.

Quite obviously her child’s mind wasn’t yet aware that bills could be paid online and one did not necessarily need to have hard cash for this. Shekhar had just forgotten to pay the bills as he was busy completing one of his writings. Tara, as always, irritated with his passion for writing flared up when she got to know in the evening that bill was not paid and that penalty would have to be paid as the due date was now over. Though it was just a matter of paltry sum of fifty rupees, Tara had blown the matter out of proportions and had shouted at Shekhar and ruined the peaceful and playful atmosphere Roohi and Shekhar had at home before Tara returned from office.

How could Roohi understand the frustration of her mother, Tara, who wanted immediate visible financial gains from what Shekhar wrote. Roohi was upset on being considered to have stolen money and a thief in the making by her mummy, Tara.

‘Roohi, come on, we’ve reached school’, called one of her bus mates. Roohi had not realised that their bus had reached school.

Once in the class with her friends, she somewhat came over what had happened in the morning and got busy with her studies and other school activities… but the morning incident was not forgotten.

‘We are going on a holiday to London’, said another friend during lunch break. She was visibly excited about the trip and was keen to share all information with her close friends at school.

‘London? Wow! You will fly?’ asked yet another friend from their gang enthusiastically.

‘Yes, obviously,’ answered Roohi before anyone could answer.

‘We can’t go there by bus or train’, said the first friend.

‘Once you are back we’ll ask you, Pussy cat, Pussy cat where have you been?’ Roohi teased this friend laughingly. Roohi was sharp to be able to connect one thing with the other, just as she had connected her friend’s trip with an old nursery rhyme.

‘And she will reply – I have been to London to look at the queen,’ continued the friend who was planning to visit London with her family, singing in the rhythm of one of the nursery rhymes they had learnt together when they had started school.

‘Papa has booked the tickets and mummy has applied for leave from her office. Papa has also got a book on London. We will read that and see what to see in London…’ This friend was excited but didn’t know the sort of emotional tsunamis she had triggered inside Roohi.

She was obviously talking about some travel book on London.

‘London Bridge is falling down, falling down…’ this friend was singing another nursery rhyme by now that they all had learnt in their kindergarten together.

‘So all three of you are going?’ asked Roohi. But because this friend had mentioned her parents, Roohi’s mind was again thinking of arguments and fights that Tara used to have with Shekhar.

‘Yes, and will be fun to be together for seven days,’ said Roohi’s friend excitedly.

Just then, the school bell rang. The break was over. But Roohi’s thoughts were still ringing in her little mind.

‘Wish we too go for a holiday together. Maybe a surprise for mummy?’ thought Roohi.

‘I’ll talk to papa today about this idea once I get back home,’ decided Roohi. This decision brought some peace to her distressed mind. She was imagining some good outcomes from this idea.

‘If only Veer was here, I could have also discussed it with him. Don’t know if his parents ever went for holiday together. He might have given me some idea if this plan of holiday could work to bring my parents closer and happier’, Roohi was missing her childhood friend Veer badly. She was closer to him than any of even her closest friends.

Veer and Roohi were on the same wavelength. Though both were facing similar problems at the home front, they had not lost all their ebullience. The twosome was awful at playing pranks with their class mates. And anyway, small children have the ability to bounce back to normal faster than adults can even imagine… and they do it without even knowing what resilience means.

Thinking of Veer, Roohi could not resist smiling to herself. Her mind was no longer in the class by now. What the teacher was saying was as if coming from another world. She was physically in the class but her mind took her back to the playground of their school where they had a cave kind of structure. She remembered how the two of them had cooked up a story about a witch living there and eating children like in the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel if they go in there. Children were so convinced that they never went near that area and Veer and Roohi had that hideout for them to have their lunch together. Later on, two other friends were also taken in the group and then only the four of them knew the secret of the cave.

The pleasant memories of the times spent with Veer cheered Roohi up. And then she got back to her studies till the end of the school day.

On reaching home, she was surprised to see Tara and Shekhar having tea together at home. It was simply not usual for Tara to be at home at that time of the day as her office was till six in the evening and she could never reach home before half past seven. It was one of those exceptional days when Tara had a meeting in this part of the city and could finish her work early and did not have to go back to office.

‘How was your day at school, Roohi?’ asked Shekhar and Tara.

‘You know, Juhi and her parents are going on a holiday to London’, replied Roohi excitedly.

‘All of them, together. They will have fun there,’ emphasising on the word together and continued, ‘Can we too go for a holiday, together during holidays? Together.’ The last word was spoken with a firmness that is rare for nine year olds.

‘May be, we can’, replied Shekhar, ‘We can talk about it later, Roohi’, knowing fully well that this topic could have another explosion and got up to go his study, ‘I have a write-up to complete.’

Tara threw a stern look towards Shekhar and said to Roohi, ‘Go and change and concentrate on your studies first.’

Roohi left the room but could not understand why her small query changed the scene at home.

 

 

Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.

 

 

Read the next part of the story here

 

Sangita Passey
14 September 2014

 

 

Illustration by Arvind Passey

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5 Comments
  1. Children are sensitive. Elders would do well not to vent their frustration on their children.
    Lovely piece.Enjoyed it.

  2. Sangita, Roohi’s vulnerable emotions and innocent thoughts have been portrayed well…..All the very best to our team.

  3. Anukriti permalink

    Amazing piece. Isn’t there any other installment???

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