Saturday, August 25, 2012

Anamika: An anecdote of a fragrant candle which is being blown out

Feeling helpless was not something new for her. It became a practice so that she stopped worrying about being alone or solving things on her own. Nobody cared how she was feeling when they were commanding. Nobody noticed how much efforts she took in coordinating the messiest people in the world. She became so habituated to the attitude of the people around her and the whole business of making her responsible for every problem that happened. Hence it did not bring a surprise at all when she found herself to be the person who was responsible for the dirty classroom. How much tension should an eight year old lady should go through! She being the class leader of the prestigious government LP School and being a member of the eldest class of the school the trouble was doubling.
“Anu, didn’t I tell you to keep the classroom clean?” the teacher asked and she was wondering if she was ever being appointed instead of Lina chechi who used to do the cleaning. She was thinking if Lina chechi got dismissed for any sort of misconduct. Well, the class teacher was really angry and despite Anu’s all attempts to explain the situation the teacher went on scolding her and the other girls for not meeting her expectations even after becoming the eldest girls in the school who must be role models to the younger ones. All the girls stood up and with their heads facing their feet they were cursing the first person whose face they casted their eyes upon in the morning. Anu suddenly dared to stop the teacher exposing the true villain who was responsible for the scraps and mess in the classroom. She daringly said, “Teacher we cleaned the classroom in the morning. During the interval it was Rajiv who was playing with the papers making planes and something else. It was he who jumped over your table and chair. We cleaned the class in the morning. God promise!”. She being very clear and sensible, the teacher noticed the fading smile on Rajiv’s face and she commanded him to come to her ready to receive the ceremonial lashes with the new bamboo stick the tip of which Anu had ornamented with a few rubber bands to add up to the misery it could produce. She asked him to show his hand and he received a few lashes for the misbehavior. Anu was happy that she could save the womenfolk from disgrace. There had been rift and tensions between the ladies and gentlemen of that class. They could not get along well at all. Only in one thing the class could agree; they all hated Anu’s class leadership!
That afternoon while Anu was busy with her playmates Rajiv came to her. He stood right in front of her stopping her from going away from him. She could not believe how arrogant he was to do that. He called her “kuthe ki bachi” and he was yelling it out as if it was some motto. She did not understand what he was saying and with a puzzled face she stared at him and this gentleman was kind enough to explain that it means “daughter of a bitch” in Hindi. Her eyes were filled with tears. What an insult it was! How could she possibly take it! She could not reciprocate and after a few seconds’ shock she said “ I will not tell this to teacher. But you see, God is hearing everything. He will certainly punish you. you just wait and see”. The bell rang and she was not quite herself after that. She waited eagerly for the bell to go off so that she could run towards the exciting weekend which was just a few hours away.
At night when she was praying, she thought of Rajiv and pleaded God to teach him a lesson which he would not forget in his life. He should not swear at anyone hereafter.
Her plans for Saturday and Sunday were drenched in the rain and she was confined in to the house and she managed to write letter to her mother who was working in the capital city of Kerala. She wrote about everything except the insult Rajiv showered upon her. She did not want to make her mother sad by saying the filthy words he made.
Monday was as uninteresting as possible. The start of another week was like the start of a set of terrible headaches. She was fed up with the enormous responsibilities she had to fulfil. She went in uniform which was not ironed because of the usual power failure preceding the rain. She went and called her friend to come out and then her dad who was reading the newspaper called Anu and said that school would have a holiday. Jumping with glee Anu asked for the reason and he said that a student had passed away the evening before and Anu was shocked. He read out the news to her. As she was listening to him she understood what the word guilt really meant and how that feeling could inject pain into one’s mind. “Rajiv Rajappan was playing with a whistle which he swallowed unwittingly and… was a student of standard 4B of Government LP School”. She did not listen carefully to the things he read out because she knew that God had executed His plan as per the requests she made a few evenings before. But she wanted to tell someone that she did not want him to be dead, she did not want him to be so far away like this.
Her classmates lined up in a mourning rally to his home. She could hear the cries and wails of his parents from distance itself. As she saw his body covered in white clothes she felt that she was responsible for this divine crime. And nobody came to arrest her. Nobody punished her. She wished to run away from there and she for the first time understood that his face was that of an angel. While walking back alone home she wondered how he could veil this cherubic face beneath his demonic appearance! It started to rain and the heavy drops washed her tears off and went on doing it…

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