Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A day in the life of Anarkali

Anarkali is 14. Or so she has been told by her Ammi. She has to say that she is 14 if someone is to ask her. She can count, but really once you cross 10, you don't have enough fingers on your hands to count so if Ammi is giving her the age she has to say, it makes her job a lot easier.

Since she stopped going to school last year (or was it the year before, she really can't tell) her life has become a little more fun. She wakes up when the sun shines in her eyes. On days that are cloudy, Ammi wakes her up. Either case, she is out of the house with Ammi in about 15 minutes. She first goes to the nice uncle and aunty's house where she does their jhaadu and pochha. The nice uncle and nice aunty are fun people. Always smiling and listening to her, and really jhaadu pochha is so easy. Definitely easier than learning science in school, which some of her friends are doing. The nice aunty also gives her some food to eat once she is done. And good food. Then she goes to the house with the young baba to do some more jhaadu pochha. But here there's also some bartan to be cleaned. The young baba goes to school (why would a 3 year old go to school, Anarkali wonders) and the aunty there does her stuff. Once she is done there, she goes for her main task. To the oopar ka maala, where she spends most of her day. There is a younger baba there who has to be taken care of. Anarkali is experienced in taking care of young babas. She after all has taken care of 3 brothers and 3 sisters. Along with taking care of the young baba, she does her usual jhaadu, pochha, bartan and also cleans the bathroom. When the aunty gets hungry, she lets Anarkali head out for her lunch, so she goes down to meet Ammi and Nani and they have lunch together. After lunch, Ammi and Nani sleep by the stairs, while Anarkali goes back to the oopar ka maala. Young baba is asleep after his lunch, so all she has to do is watch him going to sleep. After some time, Aunty says it is 5.30 pm and so Anarkali has to go home. She waits for her Ammi, who comes soon. Together they go home which is not very far. She helps Ammi make the gosht for dinner, which her Abbu brought home from work. Gosht is really nice, and Abbu is now a changed man. He doesn't come home all crazy any more and doesn't beat Ammi any more. He smiles at Anarkali also, sometimes. She also is busy with her youngest sister, who is just "itni si". After dinner, she goes to their common stall in their "housing complex" where there is a TV running. Today it's playing a Shah Rukh Khan flim. She thinks of her nice uncle and aunty, who don't have a TV in their house, and really cannot understand why they would want to miss out on the wonder that is a television. "I shall ask them tomorrow" she tells herself. Soon, it's time for bed. Anarkali puts her brothers sisters to sleep and then goes to sleep herself.

"What a fun day", she says "better than going to school and discussing Harry Potter and Something or the Other with your friends"
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