|Amma always grumbled when I told her I wouldnt give away something Iwas not using. But she never realised that I might just need it some time later…|
I came home from school and saw krishna wearing my Superman t shirt!
Krishna, the watchman’s son, came running up to say hi to me as I walked in through the gate.
“Sarika!” my friend Rina hissed as we waited for the lift, “That boy was wearing your Superman T-shirt!”
“I know,” I said.
“But I thought you didn’t want to give it away because you loved it!” Rina said.
That had been my plan. I had loved my Superman T-shirt so much that I had continued wearing it even when it became tight. I had stopped wearing it, very reluctantly, only when it became really uncomfortable. But even then, giving it away had never occurred to me. And I had been upset with Amma, when I’d found her packing it into a bag, so she could give it away.
Give it away
“I am keeping this T-shirt,” I had told Amma, putting it away along with all the other things that I couldn’t bear to part with. Amma had grumbled, like she did every time, about why I couldn’t give it away, since I never used it. But nothing she said would make me give away my dolls, my pretty tea set or the skates I had outgrown. I hadn’t touched these things in years but who knew when I would want to play with them again?
“And then a few days later I came home from school and saw Krishna wearing my Superman T-shirt!” I told Rina. “I knew it was mine because it had that brown stain from the chocolate ice-cream I spilt on myself at your party. Remember?” “Yes,” Rina nodded, “So, your mother gave it away though you wanted to keep it?”
“That’s what I thought,” I admitted, “And I was so mad with Amma, I wanted to quarrel with her. Then I thought of how cute Krishna looked in it…”
“He did, didn’t he?” Rina smiled, “With that T-shirt hanging down to his knees!”
“Yes,” I nodded, “And it seemed so silly for me to keep that T-shirt…” I trailed away, not sure how I could explain things without sounding too noble.
“When someone else could be enjoying it?” Rina completed, “I know! Makes you feel mean, doesn’t it?”
“Yes,” I said, grateful that Rina had managed to put my feelings into words, “And that’s why I didn’t quarrel with Amma. I just told her that I had seen Krishna wearing the T-shirt and that I wanted to give away some more of my old stuff!”
“She must have been surprised!” Rina guessed and I laughed, “Yes,” I said, “She was! And now whenever I want to save something of mine all she has to say is –Remember that Superman T-shirt? – and I immediately agree to give things away!” I thought of all the things I had given away since then and even though it had caused me a pang to do so, I knew that it wouldn’t stop me from the good work I had started on by mistakenly giving away my Superman T-shirt.
True courage by Nandini Iyer
|Aparna and her friends were looking forward to the end-of-year-treat. But this time two unattractive prospects lay ahead of the gang.|
Courage, to Aparna had always meant something spectacular — like rescuing people from a river or braving a raging fire. But that was before the end of the year treat.
The end of the year treat was a tradition for Aparna’s group and this year they planned to watch a film before eating their favourite fast food. But the day before the treat Aparna heard two bits of upsetting news that took all the joy out of the outing.
The first was that her little sister Arpita wanted to join them. Aparna didn’t want to take her, but unable to resist the tears in Arpita’s pleading eyes, she had to agree. But any fears she had about Arpita joining the treat seemed tame when she heard the other news — that their classmate Uma was joining them. “Can you imagine?” Rina moaned. “Having Uma with us?”
It was a truly horrible idea, having Uma along on a day you were supposed to enjoy. Uma was the sort of girl who always found something nasty to say to others. She seemed to have the gift of saying things that hurt people. If you were in the wrong uniform it would always be Uma’s gleeful voice that called out, “Looks like someone is going to get into trouble!” It was always Uma who found something funny about people’s names. Uma who had started calling Amber, Amberger. Uma’s evil genius that had renamed Aparna Aprona, Shalini Shall-we and so on. And to think of spending a fun day with this same Uma!
By the time she was ready for the day Aparna had decided it was doomed to failure. Arpita, on the other hand, was bouncing around in joy at the thought of going out with her sister’s friends.
Her friends were waiting for her and when Rina said, “Uma isn’t here. Perhaps she’s not coming….?” Aparna allowed hope to surge for a minute. Uma walked up at that moment, eyes darting around, looking for things to poke fun at, details that would transform normal, happy people into embarrassed ones.
“Hi Aprona, Rin! Hi Shall-we!” she said cheerfully, just as she always did, blind to the fact that no one was laughing at the silly names. “And who,” she asked, noticing Arpita, “Is this?”
“My sister, Arpita!”
“Hi,” Uma said, “Harpic!” Aparna and her friends gasped. How could Uma pick on a little girl?
“Hi,” Arpita said and her matter-of-fact manner made Aparna feel suddenly proud of her sister, “What’s your name?”
“Uma,” Uma said, “So…”
“Upma?” Arpita asked with an innocent look. Everyone looked at Uma, wondering how she was going to react to being made the butt of her own joke. For a minute Uma stood frozen. Then she laughed loudly. “Nice,” she said, “Arpita. Don’t you agree Shalini? Rina?”
Aparna stared in amazement at her sister, who had opened her eyes to the different kinds of courage and helped her see that they didn’t all require leaping into burning buildings or raging rivers.
It was different holiday!
by THRIPURA KRISHNAN
It was the summer vacation. Anurag was sad because his father had suddenly cancelled their Singapore trip. Both his parents were doctors and they were to attend a conference in the U.S. instead.
Anurag’s father said, “You will not be bored. You will be with your grandfather.”
Anurag’s grandfather welcomed him with a happy smile. They discussed cricket and tennis, played chess and watched television together. But when his grandfather went to take his siesta, Anurag was bored and lonely.
He came out of the house and saw a thin dog in the yard next door. The dog wagged its tail at him. Anurag thought of his German Shepherd that would snarl and bark at everyone. Soon, a frail woman came out of the hut. She was as friendly as her dog.
“Would you like a tender coconut,” she asked.
She quickly climbed the tree and plucked some coconuts. Anuraj enjoyed the coconut water.
“What’s the dog’s name?”
“Chandu,” she said.
Anurag patted the dog. Just then he heard his grandfather’s driver calling out to him.
“Don’t go there little master, Janu suffers from a deadly disease.”
“What disease?” asked Anurag.
Being a doctor’s son, Anurag was well aware of AIDS. That evening, he asked his grandfather about Janu. His grandfather became sad.
“Did you meet her? She is a nice woman. Her parents got her married to a useless fellow. She got the disease from him. The villagers have isolated her. She is friendless.”
Anurag and Janu soon became good friends. She was a great story teller. She told him the story of Pazhassi Raja and other war heroes of North Malabar. Her stories were colourful and full of actions. They made Anurag’s holiday memorable.
Then one day it was time for him to go back. His mother had come to take him back.
“Did you have a good time?” she asked as she gave him a bag of chocolates. Anurag ran to Janu’s house with it.
“My mom has come. I am leaving. Please take these chocolates.”
Janu’s face became sad. She came forward to hug him and then withdrew. Anurag touched her hand and said, “My parents are doctors. They are doing research on AIDS. Please wait. Have hope. I am sure they will find some medicine to cure you.”
He turned and ran away. He didn’t want her to see the tears in his eyes.