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A young orphan girl yearns for her parents, her roots, as she calls them. An evocative short story in the diary format, in which she finally manages to make peace with her situation.
Today after my science class, I walked out of class and entered rest room. Ninth standard is very tough. I just had a class about ‘Roots’. I wanted to think. I learnt the importance of roots for a plant. I started to think about my roots. Do I have a root? Do I belong anyone? Am I the responsibility for anyone? Is there anyone in this world whom I think as my family? I spent the last two hours of the school without being active and without responding to the teachers.
I want to share this news with you. I have got something. I was in the office room of my orphanage. I have started to find my roots. I started to search the bio data files that my warden reads often. I found my file. I wanted to read immediately. I resisted. I carefully took only first page of my profile which has the data of my family. I have decided to read that later.
It was a very painful day. It was increasingly irritating every minute of school for me. I went to the room that gives me solace most of the time. The stinky rest room. I opened ‘that important identity page’. I read in my mind.
Father’s Name – Mohan Acharya
Mother’s Name – Christina Vincent.
Father’s occupation – Civil Engineer
Mother’s Occupation – Fashion Designer.
Status of Father – Late -Murdered due to issue in Property
Status of Mother – Mentally unsound. All responses to the treatment failed.
Status of the Family – Child rejected by both the Families.
I couldn’t read further. I wish they had attached the photos of my parents. I do not know how they look. The stitch mark on my forehead which is being my ugly mark since several years started to pain. I touched the scar. Have I got the reason how did I get this scar?
I as always sat passive in my class. Numb. It was my Life skills class and my friends were asking questions about Parent – Child Relationship. Friends are so angry at parents, I thought. They are angry because parents ask them to read and not to play. Sigh! What should I complain now? Whom should I complain now?
I am thinking. The profiles are updated in the computers and laptop now, this was the data that was five years ago. But! Nowhere it was written that my mother is no more. She is said to be mentally challenged but she may not be dead. What if she is waiting for me to go to her? This hostel has given me shelter, food, school, clothes, friends. But my mother? What if she is alive and in a hospital. If she is alive I will take a bus and go to the hospital immediately. I will take biscuits and fruits for her. She might eat. I will soon find out where she is and will meet her. I now feel like I am the heroine of an adventurous story.
I gave my Christmas money that was a gift to the staff here. I have bribed her to know about my mother. They are here since several years. I may know about my mother soon. She will ask some other aunt about mother. Wish me luck. I am very nearing to meet the only family. My mother. If she is alive. Please pray that she is alive.
Best day of my life is coming soon. This Sunday. My Warden Aunt whom everyone calls as ‘Mummy’ got to know that I am searching my mother. She requested me not to search as I might get hurt. I cried for several days and I stopped eating food. She took me to one uncle where he asked me about my feelings and pain. Later they discussed these things. My mother is alive. She is in a hospital. She cries, laughs, beats up someone every day.
Warden Aunt has now has decided to take me to my mother. You just don’t know how excited and happy I am. I will wear a new dress that day. I have asked Manasa to do a different hairstyle and ‘make up’ for me. My mother was a fashion designer, she may not want to see a non-fashionable daughter. I have made a greeting card for her. This is a very secret mission. Warden Aunt has asked me not to tell anyone at all. I could not control so I told to Manasa about it. No spelling mistakes in the card. Happiest day ever. But still Warden Aunt is a little scared and she is asking uncle about how to handle me later. However, I AM HAPPY.
I just came back to the hostel. I had been to the hospital. Warden Aunt was very tense since morning. Manasa dressed me up and Gayathri gave me her face powder. I asked Shakti to give his perfume to me. I looked good, Warden Aunt said. The car stopped at a hospital. There was a big house or hostel I guess besides the hospital. It was St. Josephs Home for Mental Health. Warden Aunt and I used a different gate that was named Visitors Gate. I was very scared then. She had asked me not to talk to anyone except whom she points to. While I was waiting in the hall, she signed a few pages. She was worried. The nurse asked us to go to one room and wait there. I was so happy and scared as well.
I could suddenly hear a big, loud, screeching sound. The corridor outside the door got very noisy. I could sense that a woman was being dragged in the corridor. Warden Aunty started to cry. The nurse came inside and shook her head. I guess she was saying No to us. The shouting increased a lot and I started to cry. The doctor came inside and said we have to leave now. As Christy is not ready to meet anyone and in this exercise to bring her to the room she has hurt a male nurse. She has been given an injection and she is sleeping now. Warden Aunty looked at me. I held her hand and we both came out. I do not want to meet my mother. I will not go to that place again. Warden Aunt made me sleep in her room.
I feel calm these days. I know I have not met my mother. I know I will never meet her again and will not think much about her. I am learning a lot about roots. I know plants that do not have roots may not survive. But if the seed of a plant is strong, it can become a root. I am planning to become the seed which later turns to be a root. When I was in maths class, I suddenly realized my mother’s health is not a problem. It is the truth. It is reality. Reality cannot be changed and solved but only accepted. This is what my science teacher told me after I shared the incident with him. I am reading a lot of books these days. I will read about Anne Frank. I have to teach English, to my juniors. My warden suggested this to me. I have been given the lunch time responsibility in school. I should also do a research project. I am now very busy these days. I keep myself occupied. Next year is tenth standard. I have collected all the question papers. These days I have decided to become a teacher. My friend Kavya thinks teachers are the foundation and roots for our life. They can be bigger roots than parents. I need to talk to her about this. By the way, I have chosen a topic for my research project – Roots.
Image source: close-up of young girl writing in her diary by Shutterstock.
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