The Divide

on Sunday, 28 January 2007

Life is so easy…thought Shveta ,as she sipped on a glass of orange juice in bed ,early morning on the first day of her summer vacation. Kantha , the cook, walked into the room and announced, “dosas for breakfast! Hot and crisp, just the way you like it dear!”

“thank you”, shveta replied and asked again ,” where is mom?”

Before kantha could reply the bedside phone rang and Shveta picked it up


“good morning darling! I am sorry dear …I had to leave early, you know I am going on a vacation to Europe with my friends. I didn’t want to wake you up so early in the morning….Kantha will help you get ready for school ,be a good girl and go to school okay??”

“yes mom”

“bye darling”

Shveta put the phone down with a sigh- her mom forgot that her summer vacation had started and Shveta did not see any use of reminding her. Her dad was away on business as always. Looking at Shveta Kanta’s eyes filled up with tears and she left the room saying that she better get started with making lunch.

Shveta got out of bed and got dressed. She walked around her room and liked at her collection of toys and dolls. Her room was the largest of the 8 bedrooms that “sadat Manzil” boasted of. Her room looked like a toys’ store and had a home theatre system installed and Shveta hated it. She never played with any of the toys her dad bought back from his business trips abroad, the latest being a bicycle. She left the room to go play with her friends…..

Everyday was a battle in Lakshmi’s life. She woke up at 5 in the morning everyday and went for work with her mother. She came back home and took care of her three little brothers. Her mom came back in the evening and cooked dinner for the family, which they shared equally. Tataa was always in bed . He lost both his legs in the freedom struggle. He told brilliant stories and when he was in mood extremely funny ones. Lakshmi, her brothers and her friend loved to sit and listen to old Tataa’s ramblings. Her dad worked at the construction site and bought back cotton candy everyday for the kids to munch on.

The whole family slept on the floor in their shaky little hut. It was all right during most of the seasons, but the rainy season when the roof leaked.

Lakshmi just got back from work and ate had breakfast which usually consisted of left over food from the house where she worked and a lot of water. This too she had to share with her little bothers. The little kids were just getting ready to sit down and listen to Tataa’s stories when there was a knock on the door. Lakshmi’s face lit up with a smile, her friend was here. She opened the door and Shveta walked in.

The two girls and the kids sat down around tataa’s cot outside the hut and tataa started, “ I was a young man you know, when that idiot Ramaswamy tried to fool us…….”

The kid’s faces lit up with joy as tataa was going to tell them a funny story today and they prepared for another fun filled afternoon.