Leaving wasn’t an option; they had used the word ‘forever’ in their promises. Being happy wasn’t possible – they had had enough. Sadness was the new norm. Anger was a habit similar to brushing one’s teeth. Of course they shared meals and talked work and kids. But it was just a fairy tale that had ended unhappily.
Sunshine made her bright. Rain drenched her happiness. But the cloudy days were special. The in-between weather brought out the best in her. Her window seat gave her a perfect view of the seemingly sleepy sky. Her eyes saw more than the grey; they saw promise and depth. They also admired the struggle of the rays that were attempting to add some orange here and there. Somebody had been quite creative up there.
She told him that she loved him. Her hands shook while she said the words. He didn’t smile. His eyes said sorry and his mouth managed to explain how his heart was already taken. She wiped her eyes and asked,”Can I write a poem for you?” He said yes. As she turned away, he began to read the poem. His soul was stirred.
“Quick, it’s almost midnight!” Rishi’s friends were tired of waiting. They had all declared their New Year’s Resolutions weeks ago. Only Rishi had no idea about his resolutions. Every time that they asked him, he just shrugged.
“Come on, Rishi,” pouted his best friend Shelly. She and Raja had the same resolutions for 2016: they had both promised to eat less chocolate and also to stop eating up Rishi’s tiffin every day. Most days the poor boy ended up with just half a roti and a bite of potato. Still, he never complained.
Rishi was happy when they were interrupted with shouting from the living room. “10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1…,” their parents screamed out. Shelly and Raja ran out of the room to go wish everybody. Rishi didn’t follow. “It’s already the New Year and I cannot tell anybody about my one and only resolution because they’ll laugh at me. He looked out of the window and saw fireworks.
Shelly and Raja returned with their parents in tow. “You don’t want to wish us a Happy New Year, Rishi?” They hugged him. He tried to smile as his mom handed him a piece of fruit cake.
Later that night, after the others had gone home, Rishi decided to talk to his mom. “Mom will never laugh at me,” he thought.
In her room, she was getting ready for bed. Father was already fast asleep. “Mom, I can’t make my New Year’s resolution this year.” Mom asked why.
“Because it’s too silly,” replied Rishi, looking down at the floor. Mom took his hand and patted the seat next to her. “Resolutions can never be silly. Tell me what you want to promise yourself this year,” she asked with a big smile.
“I want to be a teacher,” he blurted out. Then he felt like hiding under the bed. But his mom was not laughing. She looked interested to hear more.
“What subject do you wish to teach? And who will your students be,” his mom asked him.
Rishi knew the answer to the second part of the question. “I want to teach Shona and Subhash,” he answered. Shona and Subhash were the friendly cook’s children. They were Rishi’s age but could not afford to go to school after their father had passed away.
Rishi’s mom was happy to hear this. “That would be wonderful. You could teach them basic things like the English alphabet and addition and subtraction and also how to use the computer for things like email and Google searches.”
Rishi got more and more excited as his mom spoke. “Could we make paper crafts too?” he asked. Mom nodded. Then he told her about the last part of his New Year’s resolution – he wanted to teach the two children now until the next school year began. “Mom, we can send them to school then, can we please?” I will make sure that they’re ready,” he added.
Mom said yes.
The next day, she and Rishi got the classroom ready with a big blackboard, chalk, bright coloured chairs and a big table. There were crayons and coloured pencils and lots of drawing books too. When Shona and Subhash came for their first day of school, Rishi felt
himself turn as red as a tomato because they greeted him as “Teacher”.
“Call me Rishi,” he said. “Your friend who will try to teach you a few things.”
First published in TeleKids (An ABP Group publication)
He touched her face as if he’d never see it again. She felt his love through the warm palm and fingers. They called out his flight number, prompting him to end the moment. They held each other close for a long minute, promising to stay committed forever. As she was leaving the airport in a cab, she got a phone call that dried her eyes; his flight had been cancelled.
She believed in being herself. Her words mirrored her thoughts. People often talked about her abnormal habit of being an open book. When she was sad, the world knew it. If she was happy, she shared her glee. Once when somebody told her to stop being herself, she showed them the Unfollow option.
Her belief in love had faded over time. Her hope had disappeared with every tear. That’s why she couldn’t believe it when she felt that same old feeling again. It was a stirring in her soul that made everything brighter. Too bad that they didn’t meet under the mistletoe.