Sunday, April 21, 2013

Hard

Thoughts in words now,
hard to achieve; will my heart
bleed ink easy again?

Written for Haiku Heights

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Sharing the goodness around me...

Yet another horrendous crime. Yet another girl suffering a fate she did nothing to deserve. Yet another monster unveiled and unstopped. Yet another incident crying for justice.

I sometimes wonder what kind of country we live in. I sometimes wonder what should we do to make men respect women. I sometimes wonder if that is even possible.

Let me not go into the terrible terrible stuff that is happening nationally. Let me give you an example of what I experienced personally. I felt so disgusted by the incident that my skin crawls even to mention it here, but I couldnt pent up my anger anymore.

I along with my friend were walking to our college with huge library books in our hands we had got under the book bank scheme to return them before the semester ends. Two seniors came up behind us and we clearly got to hear what they were saying "Haha. Nautanki to dekho. Ab ye laundiyan log bhi padhne lagi hain. Kya karengi in sab kitabon ka. Ghum phir ke to ghar par hi baithna hai".

I made it sound less derogatory than it was; I really cant use the language they did here on my blog.

I felt like slapping those two guys. But I did nothing but walk away silently. Why? You know the reason pretty well. 

I feel ashamed to say that the place I study in has such scoundrels who STILL think that girls dont need to be educated, they still are entities that need to be shut in houses. I wonder what gave birth to such cheap and class-less thinking. 

I feel angered and humiliated when I think of the kind of people I am surrounded by, the kind of people every Indian girl is surrounded by. But when I got a mail from Blogadda today, calling us to write about the few good men in our life, the ‘Soldiers’ who have strived for us, I took a moment to think if I have someone like that in my life. And since I do, I thought I would share the goodness.

I had a safe and happy childhood, and I have to thank my family and friends for it. I have never been thrown into extreme situations so it is a very small incident that I narrate here, but it is big enough for me to make me feel proud of having such a wonderful presence in my life.

I was in class 8 and we were in Delhi for the Youth Parliament. I was having a gala time, being the youngest in a crowd of class 10, 11 and 12 didi’s and bhaiya’s. The canteen of the school that we were staying in became my favourite haunt because someone or the other would take me there and treat me with incessant chips, chocolates and cold drink.

As a result of this extreme junk food and reckless cold drink/ice-cream consumption, I landed with a throat infection just the day before the final show. My part in the program wasn’t too big or too important but it did feel for me that way; it was my first time as a part of something so grand and so special, my first time away from home without parental supervision.

So I freaked out pretty bad because I lost my voice and could hardly speak anything. And no one had any meds because a cough syrup isn’t something you would carry in the middle of August. People didn’t pay much attention also, there was a lot of work to be done and too little time.

But I pined. I pined for the fuss my mother would have made over me had she been present. I wasn’t silly enough to pine over a small thing like a sore throat in public and make a fool of myself but I did feel pretty wretched.

Then there was this brave soldier of mine who went in the middle of night in that unknown place to a drug store, fighting all sorts of demons and ogres as I liked to imagine and brought a cough syrup for me.

It was very sudden; I was in the room allotted to us moping over the sorry state of my throat after dinner when my soldier walked in and said ‘Catch’ and I caught the medicine bottle in reflex. He didn’t even say anything in explanation, being a man of few words but God, nothing I can say now can express what I had felt back then.

The whole action, of quietly noticing me in pain and searching the right remedy for it from an unknown place touched me so deeply, that I still smile when I think about it and thank my lucky stars for such a Superhero in my life :D

This superhero I talk about is none other than my brother, that guy who expresses his love for me through his actions than through words.

I have never come across anyone who is so caring, who can love so unconditionally, who is so responsible and strong. When my mother had to go to Mumbai for about 3 months for her operation, he was the one who took care of me. I was in class 11th then, caught up in a hectic storm of school and studies and being a girl who was dependent on her mother to even get her hair tied, I was worried to death at the idea of surviving for such a long period without her.

But I had no reason to worry, my brother was there to take care of it all. He used to help my grandmother with the lunch and prepare the entire dinner himself since my father is as hopeless as me when it comes to cooking. He used to wake up early every morning (it was his board exam/competitive exam vacation then) just to pack my lunch box for school and each day, it used to be a delicious surprise.

So my brother is this AMAZING cook. Ask any of my friends, they liked his cooking to the point where they said that he cooks better than even my mother and my mother’s tiffin used to be like devoured within seconds of opening the lunch box. So you can imagine the level.

And when I used to come back home, he used to have my lunch thali ready with all the items mixed neatly with rice and ghee so that I don’t kick up a fuss eating like I generally do. He used to sit with me, listen to me rant about what happened at school, and patiently wait till I was done eating everything. And it wasn’t just my diet that he took care of. My clothes were seen to as well; I never had to bother about freshly laundered and ironed clothes.

As I write this I realize how LUCKY I am to have such a sibling. He is the reason I was brought up this way, he is the reason I have even a small part of my brain sane and healthy. 

Then there was that was the time when I was undergoing a 3 year long painful orthodontic treatment and when my father left as well to bring my mother back, I had a dentist appointment to get two of my permanent premolars out.

So, I am like this pro when it comes to the dentist chair, it became a sort of second home to me :P I feel a certain fondness when I see it now, I smile at it like it were my lost brother :P And ahaaa!! Teeth extraction? That’s like my favourite part. I had 10 of my teeth extracted during my treatment and numerous others as a kid :P

But having your permanent teeth extracted, that too two strong premolars was something worrisome. And it was painful. Very painful. More painful that a ruthless dentist taking a pair of pliers like tool and tugging on the wire real hard. It felt sickening when the anesthetic wore out and the pain kicked in, and my brother tried but couldn’t feed me.

Then he made this Khichdi for me. I don’t know how he managed to make it so soft and even in that oh-I-cant-even-open-my-mouth-screwed-up-state I found the thing damn yummy. It was so tasty, I surpassed my appetite and wolfed down the tasty paste-like khichdi.

And believe me, no other Khichdi has ever tasted to good after that. It was made sweeter and more magical by my brother’s love I guess.

That is my Soldier’s story. The person who took care of me when I really needed someone. The person I can share all my silliest worries, the person who will go to any extent just to see a smile on my face.I am lucky to have such a person in my life; lucky enough to have him as my sibling and I when I think of people like him, I get a little more strength to walk in a world that is filled with never ending crime and disrespect towards women.

This post is a part of #Soldierforwomen in association with BlogAdda.com

From bookish to boorish...


After much thought and speculation, I and Arpita came to a very depressing realization. Facebook had ruined our life. 

Well not Facebook entirely, spending too much time on the internet in general might have resulted in the 'degrading quality of our live'. I mean seriously. If I think back to the time when I was in class 9 or 10 when I had no internet access, my life used to be GOOD. I used to go outside, play, have fun at school, attend the one tuition I had and have fun doing Math, fight with my brother over pens and books, have healthy discussions about various stuff with Arpita, Sushmita and yes, read books till I almost got blinded.

I dont even want to think about the time when I was even younger; I used to devour books back then. 5-6 books on my library card, 5-6 on my brother's and finish them off in a week or two at most. I am ignoring that time because you could say I used to read thrillers and mystery novels which do get over fast.

But even in class 11th and 12th when I barely had time to breathe with school and tuitions, the thing I used to do when I got little time was catch up with a novel I was reading or blog or write something. NOT rush and check who has liked and commented some photo I had shared.

The more I think about this, the more wretched I feel. It feels like after I have joined college, I have thrown away all the interests and good stuff of my life and enveloped myself in a cocoon of bullshit. I shudder to think how I wasted the first sem and how my current life is going the same way as well.

A change of air did put some sense into me. A fortnight trip to Vishakapatnam did unhinge my rusted and dead brain cells and the serene, beautiful beach air did blow some life back but past few months (one month to be specific) had my good intentions gone with the wind again. I actually took a resolution that I would write my thoughts and views about every single book I read from then and I even employed a beautiful new diary for the task.

But that hardly lasted for a month.

But I did read. My college library has a pretty well stacked fiction section and I made it a habit of issuing new authors and had a quality time out of it. But recent times have taken even that away from me and I have no one but myself to blame.

I won’t lie, I won’t write something pretentious and try to deceive myself but that one incident in college DID rattle me up bad. I am a person who over thinks stuff, there is simply no denying that fact. But it did help in some good ways too I will admit because the saner part of my brain finally got a word to put in :P

Being misunderstood by a bunch of people I don’t even know was bad but what’s even more terrible is this realization of how hard I have been trying to pretend being someone I am nowhere close to.

I CANT socialize with guys. Even if they are guys reading in the same class as me. Thanks to a very helpful ‘friend’ who had me under her pretentious cloak of ‘friendship’ for whole 4 years at school, my self esteem was thrown to the rocks time and again and no matter what anyone says, I haven’t quite been able to overcome that.

So I don’t understand why I even attempt doing that. This socializing part I mean. And not just with guys, I mean it in general. It doesn’t help that every conversation seems so FAKE. So bloody superficial. And I pretend it doesn’t bother me, but it does. I hate myself for forcing small talk despite being bored to the point of dozing off.

And this whole thing about being on my guard with people as a result of that ______ is simply BULLSHIT. I CANT be on my guard with people I like talking to. So I hate pretending that I can. I hate it when I remind myself that “Oh no. This isn’t something this person should know. Shut up Kirti, seal your lips”. 
I hate it when one of my friends whom I confide in would slip up in public and I would glare making her shut up in a highly mysterious demeanor known only to the two of us the whole wide world. I hate it because it’s me pretending to have the secret of Hitler’s assassination up my sleeve when it is nothing but a regular thing like me crazing over some guy. I hate it because it’s me pretending to be someone I am not. I never cared in my life who knows what ‘going on’ with me, I don’t understand why it bothers me so much now.

I know I am ranting again, but I need to let this steam off; this self frustration was pent up since such a long time. I know I even diverted from the topic I started with (like I ALWAYS do :P) but the moot point remains the same- I wasn’t like this before and this fear of having changed in unacceptable ways is freaking the hell out of me.

I was ruffling through the pages of my old notebook again and I nearly teared up as I read the stories I wrote back then. It was like reading a completely alien thing altogether; I couldn’t believe I had written something like that when I was in like, class 11?

Look at what I write now- no poems in ages, not a single good story. Only aimless, purposeless rants (which I love writing though :P) that are only a proof of the unexpressed whirlpool of emotions going in my mind. 

Harper Collins happened when I was in the thick of worthless things and that story came out so forced. It’s so forced that I couldn’t bear reading it a second time. And I feel so GUTTED about it because I LOVE reading my own stories. Not because they are extraordinary or something but because… just knowing the fact that I could think of something so WHOLE and was even able to successfully put in words is such a warm feeling. I mean, I have read that Abhimanyu- Krittika short story a thousand times and still I haven’t tired of it. But this one… :(

I had this one chance of seeing my story in print and I literally threw it away.

And the worst part? I again have no one to blame but myself.

So a bit of retrospection fuelled by the wonder of exercise (I refer to the newly joined swimming classes here :D) made me reach to the conclusion that the quality of my life has degraded and the amount of time spent online and indulging in pointless talks/thoughts was a very good reason behind it.

I mean seriously, I do absolutely NOTHING on Facebook. Its not like before when i used to be addicted with Tetris battle. Its not even like I chat with people and have a go at socializing. I just scroll down the homepage, check meme pages, share them and waste my time in general. And more the time I spend there, the more I get depressed.

And so I decided (with a very determined Arpita) that I would fall back in my old habits. You know, change-positions-on-the-bed-with-a-great-book-and-become-oblivious-to-the-world  habits :D

And I did that last night. And it felt so wonderful, this event of falling back into the sheer familiarity of doing a thing you absolutely LOVE.
And that feeling of déjà vu when your mother shouts and shouts for you to come for dinner but somehow your ears register nothing but a blissful void :D

And the book I picked to read last night. The fault in our stars, John Green. MY GOD. MY FRIGGIN FRICKIN GOD.  I simply don’t have words to express what I felt while reading it or after it ended. It was so…RAW. Every single emotion, every single feeling was so brutally honest; it jangled every cell of my heart.

I could hardly wait for the swimming class to end this morning so that I could go back and finish the damn beautiful thing. 

The trainer nearly drowned me today though. He was standing OUTSIDE and shouting instructions to a poor novice like me who had barely just nailed the leg action to leave hands from the railing and do the leg action thing without a holding support.

So I tried and I nearly frickin DROWNED. My head went under, I gulped in what felt like tons of the chlorine water and somehow, somehow I UPTURNED :P one moment I was all bobbing up and down struggling to get a grip on myself and then WHOOSH! I do a flip in the water, become this oversized, uncoordinated species trying to do something called ‘swimming’ but resulting in nothing but making a fool of itself, grab the fellow novice beside me and thank Dear God for not letting me die before I make further fool of myself :P

And when the fellow novice Didi (she is such a sport!! :) I love her company) asked me  in amazement “Tui ulte geli ki kore!!??” and I was like “I DON’T KNOW!!” :D

Ok, enough of my drowning debacle. So I rushed back home on my pump less cycle :P and shut myself in my room without even having breakfast (IMAGINE THAT!!). I was pretty much near the end already but I was reading slowly, not willing it to finish because I would be drowned in a post-great-book-depression. And then, it got too much out of my control-your-emotions-capacity and the tears poured down my face; the book was so surreal and yet I could feel EVERY.SINGLE.THING. 

I didn’t want to read on for the fear of knowing what was coming next but I my eyes were just hypnotized by the thing and I had to go on else I wouldn’t have been able to breathe/sleep/eat for the next few days.

Phew. It was a while since I felt like this reading a book. Last time was Perks of being a wallflower I think. Reading The fault in our stars, I was reminded of how I felt after reading Hosseini and I took out The Kite Runner and read some parts again, just marveling at how a few people and can reach out and touch your heart. It is my absolute dream to write like that someday.

And so I feel good today; the book was sad, funny, touching and its still on my mind but along with that there is this contentment on my mind as well. The familiarity of doing something you love- like reading a book, or writing is so enchanting.

My days of laziness close down here; I return back to hostel tomorrow :| but I take memories of a good book with me, memories of great walks with me, memories of edible food with me :P and I hope this would be enough to restore my sanity keep me grounded with my rediscovered good intentions :)

Sorry for being such a bore!! :D

Hopeful and feeling alive,
Kirti

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Tantra- A Book Review

tantra_by_adi
About the book:


Name of the book- Tantra
Author- Adi
Publisher- Apeejay Stya
Price- INR 195
ISBN- 978-81-908636-2-9

About the author-

Adi grew up reading fiction books by flashlight, hiding under covers, pretending to be asleep and gives more credit for his successes in life to those late night reading habits than the high school academics. Deeply impressed by the vast religious history of India, he couldn't help picking this topic for his first novel Tantra.

About the cover and back-cover-

Tantra has a decent cover for a thriller; it promises a strong, exciting protagonist which is even more emphasized in the back cover. A no-nonsense, leather wearing, female Vampire hunter as the protagonist in an Indian thriller is something that would definitely bind your interest. 

Gist-

Anu, the Vampire hunter, gets her guardian post transferred from New York to Delhi for avenging the murder of her lover Brian. As she searches the streets of Delhi in vain for a stray vampire, she meets Amit, her colleague and local guardian of the place she was yet to make her own.
 In an encounter with a Vampire Misra who turns out to be a child abductor. As the story proceeds, many questions needing an answer pop up- like the shady relation of the center, especially that of Suresh with vampires and the absolute shortage of guardians in the city.

Meanwhile, the family life of Anu is shown as well- her aunt Nina who is your typical Indian aunt obsessed with getting her sibling's kids married and keeps on forcing Anu to meet good matches which she tries to evade desperately. There there is Anu's childhood friend Smiti whom she tries to avoid but fails.

The mystery of disappearing children continues and it becomes evident that it was an issue that has gruesome connections than just a wayward vampire intent on sucking the blood of children. Enter the villain  Baba Senaka, who is a goody two shoes preacher with a devoted fan following.

Things become darker and Anu's quest becomes something totally unknown to her and that has every possibility of putting the entire world in danger,her loved ones specially. Other characters like Pandit Grover, Dr Sharma and the mysterious Vamp Panch Chandra join the fray to help our heroine save the world from the disaster.

My views on the story- 

Tantra is a thriller that took its time in picking up its pace. The first half of the book revolves in circles, as if unsure on which thread to follow till it decides upon the Baba Senaka bent on destroying the world with his Tantra from where the story gets interesting.

Tantra has a good protagonist. The fighting sequences, the encounter with Chandra on the rooftop, killing of Misra was very well executed and it makes you want to see more of Anu. Amit is a well defined character as well, though his part in the end fight could have been more elaborate.

I felt as if some conversations in the story were a bit halted; there was a feeling that they dont blend in with the situation. A few characters and instances felt out of place and unnecessary as well. The back-cover promises a heart racing chemistry between Anu and some 'sexy stranger' but that I felt was lacking in the story.

A lot of things were demanding details, like the about Brian's killing because if vengeance was Anu's motive for coming to Delhi, then the story has nothing of that sorts in print. But then, since a sequel is promised, I guess that part might be saved for it :D

Another part that needed explaining was Suresh's association with vampires which was hinted but wasn't elaborated upon.

Apart from that, Tantra is a decent read. It does deliver a good thriller, despite the slow start and the residual doubts. Some parts are excellently narrated, the tea sessions and Anu's efforts to master the Astra were a delightful read. 

The ending especially comes as a exciting surprise and I would definitely wait for the sequel and to see more of Anu.

Overall I rate this book a 6.5/10. If you are bored with all the romantic flood in the bookshops and feel like trying something new, Tantra is the book for you! 

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Adventures of Tiny- A regular girl with irregular thoughts.

Adventure #1- Counting Cards



Tiny, as she was so named in a fit of humor by her elder brother, fancied herself as the daughter of a royal couple with her brother playing the role of a sibling cum bodyguard. She imagined herself having a grand room papered in pinks and blues, like she had seen in fairytales on the Disney channel. 

Tiny didn’t know her real age, or rather, she pretended she didn’t so when someone kneeled to get to her head level (she was really tiny you see) and asked her how old she was, she would start counting showing her small fingers, exceeding no 6 (where she should have stopped) till she had both her palms out and wriggling all her 10 fingers, she would run away.

10, she thought was a grand age. She imagined all the characters in her only famous five comics to be 10 (though they were much older); ten was such a grand age was what she thought.

Tiny loved going to school. All the Hindi, English and Bengali teachers asked her to read out the lessons and that used to please her immensely. Even when they would ask other kids to do the task, they would soon get impatient by their low voice or slow reading and tell her to read in the end. And she loved that; that impatient look on the teacher’s face as they would tell the other kid to sit down and say “Tiny, you read from where he/she finished” and she would continue the rest of the chapter.

Another reason she loved school was Rik, the guy she sat next to in her class. He was her best friend or rather the Prince of the Princess she was and they were inseparable. Once when their class teacher (Tiny imagined her as the evil witch) made them sit apart because they talked too much, they both cried so hard that the teacher had to put them back together (and they lived happily ever after as Tiny put it :D)

New Year was coming and Tiny along with everyone else was excited about stuff like cards which was the essential part of the day. It was sort of an unsaid rule that the girl/boy with maximum number of cards was the most popular. So there always used to be competition (mostly amongst girls, boys didn’t give a damn about these stuff even in that tender age :D ) which gave rise to cold wars, fits of jealousy, gossip and a general excitement in the air as the 1st of January neared every year.

Tiny, who had received the maximum no. of cards the previous year and became the ‘Popular Princess’ as she liked herself to be known, put on airs as the day came closer, sure like the day that her popularity would become evident that year as well.

“Everyone loves me. I am going to be the first person they give their cards to” Tiny assured a very amused mother and a very bored brother. 

Now, Tiny’s mother was tired of all the vanities she put up for the sake of a thing that wouldn't even last for a few weeks but end up making her arrogant and vain for the rest of her life. Also, she could see a tantrum for buying greeting cards coming up. The previous year they had to succumb to her tears and get her almost 30 cards, 20 for people in her class and 10 for ‘special friends’ in the other section.

Her mother had guessed right, for Tiny in her tiny handwriting had scribbled the list of names of her ‘card-receivers’ putting a ‘2’ against some, intending to give them 2 cards so that they remembered the special treatment in near future.

So with much tact and wit, her mother told Tiny “Why don’t you give handmade cards this time?”

“Handmade cards?” Tiny looked up from her game of shampoo-the-doll’s-hair-till-it-comes-off in surprise.

“Yes. Everyone gives cards bought from the market. Handmade cards are so special and unique”

“You-neeck?” Tiny asked. She loved playing with new words and phrases.

“U-n-i-q-u-e” her mother spelled slowly. “Doing something no-one else does. Standing appreciated in a whole crowd.”

“Ohhhh…” She pursed her pretty lips. “Like becoming a Popular Princess?” she asked, her eyes shining.

Her mother bit a smile. “Something like that”.

Tiny was about to jump and clap in joy but remembering her princess-dignity she said demurely. “OK mother. I will think about it.”

So, that weekend, Tiny could be seen cutting chart papers, shaving dozens of pencils, scattering a number of crayons everywhere, demanding for hundreds of sketch pens and creating a hullabaloo of everything in general.

“You could have just bought the cards this time as well na?” her Dadi observed.

“Let her be. At least her time is being used up in something creative”, her mother said, seeing little Tiny busy with something other than her princess fantasies.

So Tiny made dozens of colorful, creative cards for all her friends (admirers as she liked to think of them) and felt tired but happy and waited eagerly to see their reactions.

Now it so happened that Tiny, the little air-headed girl that she was, put on an important air and told a few people about her card making venture.

“What’s so special about handmade cards? They are plain and boring” said someone.

Tiny drew herself to her mightiest height and said “Of course there is. It shows the talent and the determeenashion of a true princess. You won’t understand it anyways, my cards are only for ‘special’ people” she said haughtily.

And this news spread like wild fire. Hidden from the fancies of the little kids was the fact that the card giving was a purely give and get-back-in-return business. So after hearing the ‘special people’ criteria of Tiny, X speculated that Y and Z might be those unfortunate ones as A had told her that Tiny had said so and so about them. Y told B and C that she didn’t care about it but didn’t D once say that Tiny had said so and so about B and C as well? S sighed and said that she always knew Tiny was choosy about friends and didn’t give them ‘respict’ as she should. And it went on like that.

Finally, on the very grand day, dressed in a pretty sapphire blue frock with her curly hair clipped in matching blue clips and ribbons and with a big bag containing all her cards, Tiny prepared to leave for her school which was just two steps away.

“Why such a big bag Tiny?” her Dadi enquired.

“Oh it’s to fit in all the cards I get in return Dadi”, Tiny replied in earnest. “I am afraid even this won’t hold them. I just hope I won’t have to borrow anyone else’s bag you know.” She said seriously before she bid her final goodbyes.

“The poor child is going to be hurt Anita” her Dadi said.

“If it does her any good, then wont that be worth it?” her mother countered looking at Tiny’s pig tails swinging merrily on her back.

Tiny entered the school gate with great enthusiasm, was immediately received by her class teacher as she had a poem to recite in the New Year’s children program. As she got down the stage to join her classmates sitting in a circle, she prepared herself to be surrounded by a horde of card givers instantly. But to her amazement, nothing of that sort happened.

Her friends were exclaiming over cards given by each other, comparing numbers but they ignored her completely.

“Hello”, Tiny said bravely, the hope that she had gone unnoticed still strong in her heart. But she got nothing but cold looks, none of the cards she had expected to overflow her bag came along.

“I made cards for you” she tried again in a small voice but no one heard her. Her eyes searched for Rik who after catching her look in his direction, got up from his chair and fled.

“We don’t want your cards.” A girl said cruelly “go and give them to your ‘special’ friends”

“But… but I made them for all of you!” Tiny stammered, two small tears trickling down her face.

No one paid her any attention anymore and she turned back, sobbing her little heart out, still unable to understand the sudden turn of events.

She cried all the way home, the bag with her cards trailing behind her sadly, with a few falling out of them at regular intervals. Her mother saw her coming earlier than expected and rushed outside, her apprehension getting confirmed as she a teary face enter through the gate.

But she slowed down her steps as she saw another tiny figure bobbing their way.

“Tiny, TINY!” Rik shouted, panting as he tried to catch up with her.

Tiny turned to see who it was and made to run inside feeling even more terrible about Rik’s betrayal when he finally caught up with her.

The confrontation was awkward, Tiny kept sniffing and Rik kept trying to make her look at him.

“You dropped these” he said and handed her the creations that had fallen from her bag. “And you forgot to take this” he said and handed her a small handmade card, with a “Happy New Year” written in pastel in uneven letters, as if scribbled in hurry.

Tiny looked up at him then, wonder in her eyes. 

“I don’t mind handmade cards at all so I made one for you immediately. And I am going to take all of these as well” he said, taking the bag of cards from her hand.

He smiled at her and she smiled back faintly, the tears still in her eyes.

Tiny’s mother who was looking on the scene smiling, intervened then with a “Rik, why don’t you come inside?”

“Happy new year Aunty” he said shyly.

Tiny’s mother smiled and said “Come Tiny. Bring your friend inside”

Tiny came and slipped her hand in Rik’s and said prettily “Come I will show you my Famous Five comics”and they went inside chattering happily.

The day started with tears and ended with small but happy smiles for our little girl but it taught her a lesson, however small. Friends can’t be bought by cards and friendship can’t be bought by popularity, it has to be earned, just the way Tiny earned Rik's friendship.

I wonder if any number of cards in the market could match the beauty of the single card Tiny got that day; there was friendship and concern sealed in every little corner of that hastily made card.

And at the end of the day, despite the harsh lesson, Tiny found a true friend but Tiny thought she had found her Prince at last :D

What do you think? :D