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She woke up very early in the morning that day- even before her aunt and uncle had. She sat in the living room, looking at clock every now and then, hoping the hand would move faster and reach one quickly.
It was her big day. No, not her wedding day. Not her birthday. It was the twenty seventh day of May 2011. The day her results of year twelve would be announced. The day career choices would open up.
She went home soon. All tensed, while driving her scooter, standing in the elevator of her building, even after she reached home.
She sat in her room, alone, the results page opened on the internet in front of her, since ten. Finally, it was one in the afternoon. The internet page was taking a long time. Students like her were eager to know their results. Some had done well, some hadn’t, but yet, everyone was logged on.
Both her parents waited outside her bedroom door, while she checked her results. Her mother was tensed a bit as well, even though she knew her daughter had the spark that was needed to do wonders.
And then there came a loud scream from their daughter. She was jumping up and down out of joy, screaming with happiness, hugging her family. 85.333% was what she got and everyone who came to know that was overjoyed. Those numbers meant she could do wonders in her field. She was crying out of delight, so were her mother and grandmother. They were all excited and called almost everyone they knew to let the people know how great the girl had done.
Out of all, her father’s excitement was the most to be noticed. He’s usually a silent man, but today, he was overjoyed than ever.
Promises of partying were made. The family visited their near and dear ones and distributed pedhas, a regional Indian sweet.
But the surprise wasn’t over yet. There was the most amazing thing that could’ve happened to a young girl who possessed the interest of writing. She had written three fantastic articles on the topics given by the editor-in-chief of The Times of India, a leading newspaper. And he loved them. He was going to publish them in the newspaper. It was double-delight for herself and her well-wishers.
That night, she visited her uncle again, with her mother and brother, with a box of brown coloured pedhas. After all the praising and laughter out of satisfaction and cheer, the old grandfather returned home. He bought a kilogram of yellow coloured pedhas and a few polythene bags, to make it easier to distribute them. The relatives she visited laughed at that. But it was actually a serious old memory that made the grandfather buy that much.
When I had passed my tenth standard examination, my mother was happier than ever. But we had no place to live, my two younger sisters, my mother and I. There was no way we could celebrate. But my mother didn’t seem embarrassed about it and asked for borrowing a couple of rupees from her sister. So what if we could not have a big party? At least we could buy a few pedhas and distribute them to our near and dear ones.
My mother’s sister however refused to lend the money. Instead, she said “I am sorry; I cannot give you the rupees. Instead, here are three pedhas. Eat one yourself, let him have one, and offer one to Goddess Ambabai.”
“These may be wasted, but they shouldn’t be less.” The grandfather pointed to the two boxes of sweets.
The joy isn’t of getting to eat a pedha yourself. It’s the contentment you get when you distribute it to your friends and family. The grandfather sobbed while telling this bitter memory. But he began with another incident that happened in his eventful life.
He began, looking at his granddaughter:
“It was day your brother’s naming ceremony took place. At about eleven forty-five that night, you began crying because you wanted something. And what was that? A little tiger. Where in the city could you get a toy at that hour? But I took you with me and we headed straight for the shops.
“They don’t have a tiger, would you like a lion instead?” I asked you.
“No! I want a tiger! I don’t want anything else but that!” You said.
After a long look into most of the shops, I asked you, “What if we don’t get a tiger for you! Would you like the tiger’s aunt* instead?”
“Yes, I would like one.”
I requested a shopkeeper to open his shop again, while we went there and he was just locking the metal shutter. So I got you a cat and you stopped crying. I cannot believe you have actually grown so old that you have passed your twelfth standard and you’re already joining a leading newspaper from the first day of the next month. I wish you a happy and joyous future, my girl.”
*Little children are sometimes told that the cat is the tiger’s aunt.
Based on a true incident in the life of a young girl and her grandfather.