This post of mine is a short story that I penned down. Hope you all will like this.
Once upon a time (this is how a regular story starts, n that is how I also wanted to start) there lived a family which has all the regular 5 characters. Father- Mr. Amar, Mother Mrs. Devi n their two kids, a Daughter - Anita , a Son - Ajay and a Grandfather - Mr. Rao. As all the three elder folks were educated, they equally shared the breadwinner's responsibility. Since the kids were too young to be allowed to stay at home by themselves., Mrs. Devi started looking for a servant maid. She had some requirements that she insisted to see in the servant before she employed any. The requirements were, servant should be a female young girl aging below 14 years, she shlould be energetic enough to play with the kids, trustworthy of course, she also should be willing to study at the school.
While she started looking for a person who can satisfy all those requirements, it became a hard job for her to find a girl like that. So, she called her sister-in-law - Lakshmi, who stays in a village nearby to find any village girl for her. When Mrs. Devi’s sister-in-law came to know about her requirements, she wondered why Devi wanted the servant to study but then, thinking upon this slowly she understood that as Mrs. Devi works for an educational institution, she might have felt bad to employ a young girl and so she wants to provide education to satisfy herself from feeling guilty. So, Lakshmi said that she knows a girl who was very much waiting to go out of the village for work. Immediately after their conversation, she send a word to the girl to come and see her.
The girl came to see Lakshmi, and asked her why she was called to come over. Then Lakshmi informed her about the chance to go out of the village to the nearby town. Hearing this, the girl was almost on cloud nine, then she enquired, what is she supposed to do in the town. Mrs.Rani explained everything to the girl. While she was conversing with the girl, the girl's mother came shouting "Ganga, why have come here leaving all the work..", and as she noticed Lakshmi talking to Ganga, she asked why her daughter was called. When she heard the news, she first asked about the remunaration then wondered why she will be sent to school. After explaining everything about Mrs.Devi's intentions and family, Ganga's mother felt okay about the deal and said that she needs some time to confirm. Having said this, they both left the place. Lakshmi immediately called Mrs.Devi and informed that the girl was willing to come. However, it was her mother who asked some time to confirm this. Then Mrs.Devi said, before they start to come, she herself wanted to come to the village and talk to them.
When Mr and Mrs Amar discussed this issue, they decided to visit the village in the following weekend along with their 2 kids. So they started off to the village on Friday. The kids were told that they are going to bring a new friend to their home to play with them. Kids were very excited.They were told so because Mrs.Devi never wanted her kids to look down a girl like servant though she comes for that purpose. They reached the village, on Friday night. On saturday morning, Lakshmi arranged for a meeting with the girl and her mother. Even the kids finished their breakfast and waited eagerly for their new friend. At 11:00 am the girl and her mother showed up. She looked tidier than any other day. She stared at all four new faces. The girl’s mother said that she liked the pay and she heard good things about Mr.Amar's family and so she was completely willing to send. Mrs.Devi looked at the girl while they were conversing...she noticed that the girl's attention was more on the kids than anything else. Mrs. Devi asked the girl's name and reason why she wanted to come out of the village and asked if she liked to study. The girl replied she liked everyhting that Lakshmi has told her and so she was very interested. Without long conversations, the deal was fixed and the girl was to start off to town the next day along with Mr.Amar's family. The kids asked her name, and when they came to know her name is Ganga, Anita immediately said it’s a river name, Ajay said it was his teacher's name. The girl and her mother left to pack her things.
On sunday evening was their journey back home, So the girl came with her mother accompanied by her younger brother and sister who came to bid farewell to their sister. The girl cried before boarding the bus, seeing her, the two kids were so moved, that rest of the journey they tried their best to make her okay. At 10:00 pm they reached home. The girl wasn't interested in anything there as she was depressed to miss her family and so she went to bed immediately after Mrs.Devi showed her the place to sleep and gave her blankets to cover. Anita and Ajay were slightly dissappointed as the girl fell asleep without talking to them.
Next day it was 8 when Ganga woke up, she never slept so late becuase she has go out to help her mother at work before 6:30 in the morning. Suddenly when she woke up she saw a new place which she never saw in her village but except on the TV. She remembered the homes in TV shows had beautiful furniture and nice draped windows which exactly looked like Mrs.Devi's house. She walked out to the verandah, saw Anita and Ajay dressed up in their school uniforms and getting ready for school. Mrs.Devi walked out from the Kitchen, saw Ganga in the verandah. She said Ganga "Brush your teeth; and take bath, we bought you a new toothbrush, paste, soap, and a new towel. You can go use the bathroom in the room you slept yesterday night. I will leave in an hour, I will serve you breakfast and leave to work. We will bring you some new clothes in the evening" Having said this she went back to the kitchen. Suddenly Ganga felt a jolt in her Spine. She felt as if she came there as a Big Lady (Big Lady in Ganga's view was who will be treated very nice where ever she goes) because she never used toothbrush, she brushed with a neem stick and never used paste. Soap she used was those of cheap quality which melted down as soon as it soaks in water. She never had any breakfast, all she ate was the previous day's leftover food every morning. Clothes she wore were not bought in the market, but used clothes were given by some people in the village for whom she worked.It was all like a fairy tale for her. She couldn’t believe herself coming there as a servant maid but being treated as a guest. Also she never saw such a bathroom too with all the fittings and white glazed wash areas.When she finished taking bath, she came into the Kitchen, looking for Mrs.Devi. The breakfast plate was ready for her, her eating is what awaited. She loved the kitchen and the cabinet so much. The breakfast tasted so good, but she managed to eat very little, feeling little uncomfortable in the new place. While she sat to eat Ajay and Anita waved her and left to school along with their parents. She went and washed her plate along with the utensils lying there. The Old man (Granpa) of the family said her she can watch the TV. She felt so happy for her fortune, also feared if these comforts will stay long. Watching the colored TV images she sat day dreaming. In the afternoon, Granpa called her for lunch. She saw that all the cooked food was stored in clean casseroles which kept the food warm until then. Granpa showed her the refrigator expalined how it should be used and what things can be stored. She was so surprised to see so many things in that house. She knew those things existed, but only in very few homes of the village.
In the evening, all four of the family returned little late than she expected. She was told they will be at home by 5:30 P.M usually, the kids come little early except when their Mr.Amar goes to pick them sometimes if the school bus breaks down. She stood at the entrance door watching them getting out of the car and running inside. After they came, Mrs.Devi took coffee, later she called Ganga, gave her some new stuff which startled Ganga. It was a toilet box which had new talcum powder, a hair brush, colored vermillion box, a cream, an eyebrow pencil, and an eyeliner. It was never ending joy for her. She never dreamt of having except for watching those on TV. She saw everything but not the eyebrow pencil in the box. That seemed pretty new to her. She felt very happy for that and thanked Mrs.Devi. Mrs.Devi explained her, “I just did not bring you to serve all of us, we can manage that. My kids need someone to play with them in the evening, someone who can take good care in our absence, and someone who can help me with some of the household work. And someone who also wants to go to school.” For the first time in life she saw someone who thought that she can be a good friend. Never in life she was treated in such respectful manner. She asked for her daily duties, she was told that she has to help Mrs. Devi prepare and pack lunch boxes, to clean the utensils and kitchen once everyone leaves, then going to the nearby small school until afternoon. and sweep the floor in the evening. Clothes will be washed in the washing machine every weekend, and all she needs to do is to help them spread to dry and fold them. It looked like an easy job. This helped her spend more time with kids. The best thing of the day she liked was sitting in front of the mirror and getting ready for school using all those toiletries that Mrs. Devi gave and playing with Anita & Ajay in the evening. She loved spending hours in front of the mirror and playing.
Ganga's school was a small house, which had one single room for class use. The Teacher was known to Mrs.Devi, so Ganga was sent there. The Teacher was a kind hearted lady towards all the students. Most of her classmates were girls like her who came from very poor backgrounds. At first she was given a slate and chalk to write at school, for which she felt ashamed because she knew slate was something used by very young pre-nursery kids. She borrowed Anita’s rough note book the following day. She did not ask for a pencil as she thought she already got one from Mrs. Devi with the toiletries. It was the eyebrow pencil she used for the first time at her school. Her other schoolmates thought it was a kind of crayon. This went on until Mrs.Devi noticed Ganga writing with this pencil. She laughed and said it should be used for eyebrows not to write. Saying this she gave another pencil from Anita’s pencil box. Besides her ignorance, she felt very elated to know another nice thing to use in her makeup. She went to the school that day with note book in her hand. While she walked on the road with the book in her hand and so called make-up on her face, she felt as if she was a heroine in the film she saw at the touring talkies in the village. The heroine in the film who goes to college carried only one book in her hand. It was all exciting and interesting to Ganga. Ajay and Anita became very good friends. They never complained that they had no company to play with them. Ajay was a very naughty boy and teased Ganga about her love for cosmetics and innocence. It was Anita who was took Ganga's side as she liked Ganga very much.
After couple of months, Ganga had to go to Anita’s school to bring her home everyday as Anita took dance classes after school hours. So Ganga had another chance to put on her make-up and walk outside. Anita always praised Ganga for the way she decorated herself with all those toiletries on face and flowers knotted in the hair. Becoming good friends, Anita shared all her school stories, said her how she liked or disliked girls at school, and how she studied and came first in class always. Anita being bored of the dance classes, skipped them to play games in the ground. This was asked keep a secret by Ganga at home. But, when Mr.Amar came to know about this, Anita had no choice except to attend the class as Mr.Amar himself wanted to pick her at school. This way Ganga also had to stop going to school.
Ganga hardly worried about her family. She liked them so much but she never expressed homesickness. This was because she was happy in the town with all those things she wanted, and she also could support her family with these earnings. Soon the family became very acquainted with Ganga. She was bought nice dresses along with Anita and Ajay on every occasion. After seven months she went home with all those things that Mrs.Devi had given her. These she showed to her siblings who were very excited to know that she had better life than them. Her mother was also happy as she could help her in the family responsibility and she was able to get education as well. After spending a week at her place, she came back to the town. She got used to the town life and days passed by quick. A year passed and Ganga successfully completed nursery classes. She was then able to read and write small words. She was also sent out to bring some grocers as she learned to count small amounts of currency notes and coins.
Meanwhile Granpa had to stay home because of his health problems. He worked from home. Ganga supplied him all the stuff and went to her school. Granpa told very nice stories to her in the afternoon. He was very kind to Ganga. After few days, Granpa noticed Ganga coming late from school. she generally used to return by 1:30 in the afternoon. But it became 3:00 P.M by the time she came home every day. When he asked for reason she said, she helped the teacher with her household work. He knew that the teacher never made her students work for her. He informed Mrs. Devi to look into this. Later after this, she was warned by Mrs.Devi not to stay back at school for long time as people here might cheat her with sweet words and take her away. This scared her a little. She became regular with her schedule and came back on time for 2 weeks. Granpa also started going back to work.
It was Pongal season and festive mood was spread everywhere. Even Mr.Amar’s house was filled with joy. As usual, Kids and Ganga were bought new dresses. The frock bought to Ganga was very much liked by Anita. She started making fuss that she wants Ganga's dress. Mrs.Devi tried to convince but she never listened. Anita’s aunt somehow convinced her saying that Anita’s dress is much expensive and worthy than Ganga’s and so she shouldn’t complain. Festival went on very well without any hitch. There were several gatherings at home, and very tasty food was served on those gatherings. Ganga enjoyed the food so much during the festival. Anita's cousins came home and all of them had very good time playing together. Holidays got over and family had to get back to their respective works. Ganga also had to cope up with her routine. This routine went on for about 2 months.
One evening when Mrs. Devi came home from work, she found Granpa and Mr.Amar very much worried. She asked for reason. Before they said anything, Anita ran close to her crying, “Ganga is missing”. Mrs. Devi’s heart stopped beating for a second. She felt very tensed about Ganga's safety. She couldn’t imagine herself being a culprit in front of Ganga’s family.
The family talked how it had happened and they came to know some clues from Anita and Ajay. The clues were Ganga showed some new cosmetic stuff in her toilet box recently. Also she said them that she had got a new friend near the school and she was promised that she will get a new dress soon, like that of Anita’s for the next festival from her friend.
Mr.Amar ran to the school to find out about Ganga’s friend. The school teacher had no answer, but the old lady who used to sit outside the teacher’s house helping the school needs informed that she had seen Ganga many times with the Cochin lady who stays next door. She also said that she was not a good women to trust. Having this clue, Mr.Amar and family totally suspected that lady. They did not know how to approach her for truth. Mrs. Devi collapsed hearing this news. Granpa and Mr.Amar consoled her and went to the Cochin lady’s house. The house was locked, so they waited at the door until she returned. Granpa as a known face to her said that he had come with the Area’s Police Officer to know about their Ganga’s information and pointed towards Mr.Amar. Having not known Mr.Amar, she got scared, though she refused to accept the truth in the beginning, she had no choice except to confess her crime in the last. She had to narrate the whole story how she met Ganga and found her wanting.
According to her, it was before Pongal that she met Ganga who used to come and look at her garden's bee's nest with other girls in the school break. She found Ganga being attracted to all the pomp and show she does every day while she goes out. So she thought Ganga would be an easy choice to convince and take away. She slowly invited Ganga to her place and fed her all non vegetarian food. Though Ganga never carved for food, she went to see all the cosmetics the Cochin lady has. This way she stayed after school with her for a week or so. Only then Mrs. Devi got to know and warned her. So Ganga stopped going to the lady’s house. Though she was invited, she refused to show up. But after Pongal, she sat dull and dejected at the school gate while she was spotted by the Cochin lady. When asked for the reason she said she wasn’t treated equally like Anita. And she got a dress that is not as good as Anita’s. This helped her attract Ganga easily and she enchanted with all the showbiz and made Ganga believe she will get to have beautiful dresses and cosmetics if she works at candle factory. This made Ganga dare to abscond with her. The Cochin lady’s plan was to employ Ganga at the candle factory for a little while and then sell her to the market. Ganga was never aware of this.
After listening the whole story, Mr.Amar threatened the lady that he would send her behind the bars if she doesnt let them know the address where Ganga was sent and found the address. He took a cop with him and went the to address where Ganga was sent. Later,with the cop’s help, Ganga was brought home safely. Mrs. Devi felt so relieved when she saw Ganga and broke her fast. She made a vow that she would fast until Ganga returns. Even the kids were very dejected until Ganga returned. Ganga apolozised to all the family members for her ignorant deeds. She promised that she would never repeat such acts. Everybody relaxed after Ganga’s return.
Next day, Mrs. Devi and Mr.Amar asked Ganga to leave the house and return to her village. Ganga had no words, she pleaded many times saying she would never ever go out of the house again. But Mrs. Devi said the family do not want take any more chances with her safety and so she felt it would be better for her to leave. Anita and Ajay were almost numb when they got to know Ganga will be leaving soon. Anita felt very bad, than when Ganga went missing. Because then she believed Ganga would come back soon and now she will never return from the village. Anita wept while her parents took Ganga to the village. Granpa also felt bad for Ganga.
Ganga was finally brought back to the village. Her mother was already informed about the incident and family apolozised for everything. Ganga’s mother expressed all her anguish on her daughter and thanked them for bringing her daughter safe. They paid some amount to Ganga’s family and left the village.
While they returned, they came to know Anita and Ajay were badly missing Ganga and they did not like their parents sending Ganga back to the village. It took a month for the parents to convince their kids and keep them in track. The kids cooled down only after knowing that they will be taken to the village to see their dear friend in the holidays. Summer holidays fast approached. As soon as the kids finished their exams, they asked their Dad to take them to Ganga. But Mr.Amar refused to do so. He said they planned NewDelhi trip instead. Ajay was happy with this plan, but Anita refused to go. She stubbornly stood on the same want that she had to see Ganga at any cost. She wept and went to her Granpa complaining. Even her granpa consoled her and said no to visit the village. They tried every other way to divert Anita but at the end of the day she came back with same request that she wants to see Ganga.
Her mother, Mrs.Devi made a final attempt and said that Ganga has gone out of the village for a while. So though they would go to see her, they may not see her. Anita never believed this. She continued with the same fuss. So, Mrs.Devi had no choice except to take her to the village.
While they went, they carried some pictures of Ganga to the village. Those pictures were taken when Ganga stayed at their place. When asked for, Mrs.Devi said Anita, that Ganga's sister wants Ganga pictures, so they packed them in their luggage. Anita waited for the moment and she felt so excited to see her friend. They reached the village in the evening. They planned to meet Ganga next day. Ganga was sent a word to come and meet. After an hour, Ganga’s sister Rani came. She asked for Ganga’s pictures from Mrs.Devi. She did not talk to Ajay or Anita. She ran back taking them. She never cared to look at them. The kids thought Ganga was angry on their parents and on them as they never came back to see her until today. The next day they sent a word to Ganga again without their parent’s knowledge. After an hour, Rani came again without Ganga. Anita asked Rani for Ganga. Rani looked at Mrs.Devi in doubt, but replied, “Ganga cannot come as she is dead”. The kids only know that death means they never return from God’s place. Anita knew something more about death, that it only happens when someone stays at a hospital. So, immediately she asked if Ganga was admitted in hospital.Rani the said her, that it was not because of a sickness but because of an accident that Ganga died. She said they usually bring water from a pond with stairwell, when Ganga went to bring water from the well, she accidentally slipped into the well and was not noticed for long time. So, she died. Anita ran to her Mom and wept hugging her.Ajay did not understand much about the accident. He only asked if Ganga will ever come back to see them, but Rani ran home without answering him. Ajay innocently consoled his sister saying Ganga would return soon and not knowing that their dear friend departed forever.