“Mother, I can’t find it!” Lately, Tista couldn’t find anything in her room. Her
mother was tired of hearing her shout every day. Just like every other day,
Mother said, “Maybe you wouldn’t have so much trouble finding your
things if you cleaned your room once in a while.
As always, Tista continued her search with another shout or two, not replying to her mother.
It was true. Tista had not cleaned her room in a long time. The closet full of books had games and dolls in it. The cupboard for her school books had
nothing in it because the books were lying on the floor. Even Tista’s clothes were in disorder. None of them were folded properly and some were on the bed.
Today, Tista’s friend from school, Anurag, was coming over to play Snakes
and Ladders. ”Tista, please make your room look nice for your friend,”
Mother said. “I promise to clean every bit after he leaves, Mother,” Tista said.
When Anurag arrived in the afternoon, he was carrying a chocolate cake.
”My parents bake cakes every Sunday,” he explained. ”I hope you like it,
Aunty,” he said to Mother. Tista grabbed the cake and took it to her room.
Anurag followed. Father ran after them with plates and forks.
Tista and her friend played Snakes and Ladders.They also ate cake, leaving big crumbs on the game board and the floor.
“Mother, can we please have napkins?” Tista went to the kitchen and asked. “Yes, you may. But please do not forget to bring your plates to the kitchen before ants come for the cake,” she said.
But Tista did forget. When Anurag got up to take his plate to the kitchen, “It is alright,” she told him. “I will take mine later.” Anurag shrugged and went towards the kitchen.
They continued to play. Tista won three games and Anurag won four.
“Why is there a snake at 99!” Tista was annoyed.
“And such a long one too,” she complained. Anurag said they could play one more game. ”If you win, we will be even,” he said. Tista said yes and
Anurag left after he shared apples and sandwiches with his friend. Tista was bored.
“Dad, what do I do now?”
Father laughed. ”Anurag just left. You cannot be bored so soon!” he replied.
Tista frowned. She did not like Sundays. Being at school was fun. Her friends were with her all day.
Mother stayed quiet. She was writing on several small, square pieces of
paper. Tista returned to her room and found her plate full of red ants. The
ants were carrying a bit of cake from her plate to the wall near her bed. Tista felt ill. She picked up the plate and dropped it. It broke into three pieces.
“Mother,” she cried for help. Then she remembered that this was her fault. If she had taken the plate to the kitchen with Anurag, this would not have happened.
”Mother will be very angry,” she thought, picking up the broken plate. She looked around nervously. She hoped that her household help, Mona di,
would not see her. When she was sure that her parents were not nearby, Tista threw the plate into the trash basket.
That evening, Tista wanted to read a book. She searched and searched but couldn’t find her book. “Mother, I can’t find my favourite book,” she said.
Mother smiled and gave Tista good news. ”There’s a new game you and I could play,” she announced. Tista was excited but she wanted to know the name of the game. ”It doesn’t have a name,” said Mother. ”You can give it a name later,” she added. Tista was ready to begin.
To be continued…
First published in TeleKids (An ABP Group publication)