Saturday, January 10, 2015


Shravya alias "Shraavs", as her friends called her, was the life of 9th standard section A. She was intelligent, funny, good at sports and studies, dancing, public speaking, and was popular. She always smiled and sported a smart short haircut. She always wore a neatly washed and ironed uniform and carried an expensive school bag. She always had a group of girls around her at school. The teachers liked her a lot. She volunteered for everything and helped when she could. She was a part of the NSS and the interact club. It felt good be liked by everyone. Her juniors admired her. Her seniors acknowledged her. She was a very happy girl.

But not today. Today she was angry. She had not even changed out of her uniform. She sat and sulked in her room. For the first time she had been asked to go to the Principal's room, not to be congratulated but to be punished. And it was all because of that new girl, Vaishnavi. That quiet girl who did as well as she did in studies. The one who sat in the in the first row and competed to answer all the questions that the teachers asked in class. The one with her hand always raised up in class. The one who wore second hand faded uniforms and came with her long hair well oiled, plaited, folded and tied with white ribbons. The one who came walking to school with an old school bag and hand me down books. She was the one who ratted on her.

The thing about Shraavs, was that she loved competition. And challenges. There were two gangs in the class. One was hers, of course. The other was Anu's. They were the ones who always played the pranks and spent most of their time in school waiting outside the Principal's office. Sat in the last bench. And competed with her in the culturals. This was one occasion that Anu had challenged her to play a prank. If there was one thing Shraavs could not resist, it was a challenge. There was nothing she could not do. Or so she believed.

It was unfortunate that, though the prank was executed to perfection, the principal decided to enter the class precisely at that moment to speak to the teacher. The whole class had stood silent in fear. The only one who had spoken was Vaishnavi. Told her the complete story. And she, Shraavs, the darling of the class, had been punished.

Her mom came into the room. "What happened?" she asked.

After explaining Shravya said, "Not one person said a thing. She had to open her mouth!! If she had kept quiet I would not have been embarrassed in front of all my friends and got punished too!! I have never been punished in school!!"

Her mom put her hand on her shoulder and said, "But you did do something wrong. And she was just being truthful. It takes a lot of guts to speak the truth. Let it go."

This just made her more angry. Shravya shouted,"So you support her too!! I don't care if she was right....I hate her!!"

She went out of her way to make Vaishnavi miserable at every opportunity from that day on. She would make fun of the way she looked, her old books, her bag, the way she walked, talked and how she sat and studied at lunch and at any free time she got.

It was the half yearly exams. The students were busy discussing maths formulae before entering the examination hall. They settled in their seats numbered in their roll number order. An hour passed. All the girls were engrossed in their papers. The examiner who was walking up and down the hall suddenly stopped next to Shravya, bent down, and picked up a small folded piece of paper that was lying on the floor next to her foot.

"Shravya, what is this?" asked the examiner, as she opened the piece of paper that, much to her shock, contained a list of formulae.

"Ma'am! its not mine", exclaimed Shravya. "I would never do such a thing. I promise its not mine." She cried, tears streaming out of her eyes.

The whole hall stood in stunned silence. "Ma'am, I did not do this. I don't know how that paper came there. I promise. Its not mine." she cried, as she looked around for support. Not a soul budged. No one had believed her. All those friends who were around her all the time, the teachers who had adored her, her classmates who complimented her on every thing...were all quiet.

One calm voice spoke up, "It was not her. I saw who did it." The voice said. Vaishnavi walked towards the examiner and said, "Ma'am, it was not her. I sit two rows behind. I saw what happened. I'd rather not mention the name in front of everyone. May I please come with you to the Principal's office?" she asked.

The examiner nodded and they walked out of the hall. Another teacher took her place and asked them to continue to write the exam. Vaishnavi joined them ten minutes later. Shravya was shaking. She could not believe what had just happened. She turned around and looked at Vaishnavi over her shoulder. She was writing furiously and did not look up. Tears rolled down her eyes as she tried to get back to writing the exam. She waited outside the exam hall for Vaishnavi to finish. They had given her extra time to finish the paper to compensate for the time lost.

As Vaishnavi walked out...Shravya rushed to her. "Thank you. I mean it. I am sorry for all that I said and did to you in the last few weeks. I was being horrible. I was angry. But I am glad you spoke up today. I can't believe no one else even supported me. thanks thanks thanks....will you even consider being friends with me? I know I have been bad...", she continued rambling, "but please...i will make it up to you. I would love to have you as my friend." she looked into Vaishnavi's eyes as she spoke.

Vaishnavi smiled her quiet smile and said, "Of course, but you have to put up with all the truth I tell."

Both of them laughed. " could say I am a friendly foe...can you? By the way...that's an oxymoron. How have you prepared for tomorrow's English exam? You want to study together?" asked Vaishnavi.

Shraavs nodded. "Sure friendly foe" she said as they laughed and shook hands.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

This week’s WOW prompt is ‘A Foe Turned Friend’.

Saturday, January 3, 2015


The "Sarathy" tea stall always had customers. It was situated in the corner of the street. The street that led to the entrance of a huge IT park. The tea and coffee were certified excellent by several senior level officers who worked at the many IT companies in the IT park. They served hot vadas, samosas and pakodas. They made a variety of sandwiches and sold cut fruits too. And of course the usual snacks and titbits. The only thing different was that they did not sell cigarettes. The man behind the show..the owner was an unusually tall man, with a large mustache, who always wore a big smile on his face. His name was Sarathy. He looked as if he belonged somewhere else.

But he is not the one we need to talk about. It was Hari. His assistant. He joined the tea shop when he was 7. To help his mother with finances. He was now almost 20 and had learned all he could from Sarathy. He was adept at making tea, coffee and several varieties of snacks. He knew all the customers by name and how they liked their tea or coffee, what where their favorite snacks and when they came for a break. He was honest, hardworking and kind.

This January was an important month for him. One of the regular customers of the tea shop, a certain Mr. Ashok, had got him a job at a new restaurant which was looking for in house help, for hard working, honest boys like him. But it was a job where he had to stay at the restaurant, away from his mom and sister. And Sarathy of course. He had no intention of leaving the tea stall and Sarathy. But it was a good offer. It was Sarathy that convinced him to go.

As he sat and ate dinner with his family the night he had to leave, he looked around his house. A small two room house with asbestos roofing, had one room that had all their belongings neatly put away on an open shelf and a small wooden cupboard that had survived for several years, the other doubled as a kitchen and puja room. They had to share the common toilets and baths in the small colony of houses they stayed in. His sister attended the local corporation school. His mom was house help. In three houses to be precise. He had packed the one pair of faded jeans he owned along with 3 shirts, and all of his few worldly possessions in a bag that was gifted by Sarathy.

His drunken father sat at the door step, yelling words of abuse at his mom and him. This was not new. They ate as he continued to yell, words getting worse. And then he spoke badly of his mom's character! As Hari got up in anger, his mom held him back, and gave him a look which said 'its not worth it'.

He resolved to get his mom and sister the life they deserved. This new job was his first step. His mother smeared holy ash on his forehead and his little sister gave him a hug. He left, asking his mom to take care of her health and promising to send her money regularly.

He stepped out into the night. on a journey. A journey built on the past. A journey a brighter future.

Several years later...Hari dragged Sarathy into the IT park. His mom and sister followed. Sarathy had put up quite a fight to be blindfolded. Its tough to make a man of his build to do your bidding. He did finally comply at the request of Hari's mom.

They walked into the food court in one of the huge buildings. Hari came to a halt in front of one of the stalls. He put Sarathy in front of it and opened his blind fold. This is ours, Hari said. Sarathy's eyes filled with tears as he lifted Hari off his feet to give him a bear hug. Hari's sister laughed and his mother smiled.

The sign board read "SARATHY TEA STALL'.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

This week you have to write on ‘January, Jeans and Journey’.
January is a month that spells freshness and the chance to do something in a new way. No wonder that we are infused with a new energy throughout the month. We are teaming January with ‘Jeans’, which are so commonplace that we take their presence and comfort for granted. We’re hoping that you take these words and set off on a ‘Journey’ of blogging that people will love to be a part of!