Thursday, December 12, 2013


Anushti ~ A Hard Working Girl

Two days ago I had no idea who or what Anushti was. Yesterday I knew. And tomorrow, and in the coming days I'll continue to remember her, just when others in the village are starting to forget her. I can't remember anything about her because I never knew or saw anything of her apart from her playing over my wall; so what I have to remember is just little scraps of other people's memories. And what people remember is this.
      Anushti was a very independent and rather clever little miss. As soon as she'd grasped the essentials of things like walking and speaking simple words, she had set her eye to watching Mum and copying simple tasks. Anushti noticed that Water was about the first and foremost necessity of family life. After watching her Mum and other elders trooping daily to the village tank and filling their pitchers, she must have started calculating in her small, exquisite mind, that there was some way she could help. Her tiny, practical life must have realised that it would be a very long time indeed before she could carry a water pot as heavy as Mum's, yet the other end of "Can't" is "Can" and Anushti's business-like way of going about things made her realise that she could help by carrying her own load. She called for a small water pot and as soon as it came to her hand she began to queue when the water was switched on. The grown-up women, immediately charmed by the independence of the little mite, allowed her straight to the front. So in no time at all, the lass was back home, tidying and folding up her clothes. Tidiness was Anushti, and a bright and industrious future awaited her.
      This was her problem : the little girl became so independent and capable that parents, aunties and uncles left her to what she enjoyed, and was so very good at. Warnings not to go near the underground water tank may not have been given. It's not my place to inquire. Perhaps a day came when it was raining, or perhaps for some other reason the mind of Anushti had decided not to go all the way to the village pump. Perhaps she thought she could figure out a way of getting water from the family underground tank. In any case, she had tried something, which caused her to fall in. With full confidence in her capabilities, aunties had been indoors, watching a soap-opera on the telly.
      Anushti was about three years old. She was drowned yesterday, buried at noon today, and all I hear from my veranda now is the occasional stifled sob.
               Good-bye, little girl.

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