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Amma, you should have seen the look on their faces. We used our ‘quote of the day’ on them and they were shocked. We told them, it’s they who are weird, not our friend. Isn’t that right?
Our Muse of the Month series this year focus on stories that pass the Bechdel test, and are written on inspiration from a new prompt every month. This month, the prompt was “I’m not weird. Just a limited edition”, and the story should pass the Bechdel Test, that is, it should have at least two well crafted, named women characters (we differ here slightly from the classic Bechdel test, in that we require these characters to be named),
The third winner of our July 2018 Muse of the Month contest is Dr Shivani Salil.
Priya was humming to herself as she finished her morning chores. She hummed when she was happy. Mishti, her ten-year-old had left for school and it was her quote on the whiteboard of her room that was the reason for Priya’s happiness. Mishti had seemed to inherit Priya’s love for words or may be Priya had managed to ingrain it into her. Either way, the result was delightful. Every night Mishti would search google up for an appropriate quote that reflected her state of mind. Priya would look forward to reading it as it allowed her a peek into her precocious daughter’s world.
And last night’s quote read ‘Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day’. “Ooh optimism! My girl is looking for the silver lining in the black clouds”, thought Priya as she happily patted her back and went back to her work. Morning chores out of the way and it was time to switch on the laptop. Didn’t she love this work-from-home option that her job allowed?
“Oh Mishti! You’ve again changed the screen saver,” she thought as her mind processed what her eyes saw. She just loved fiddling with Priya’s computer. ‘I’m not weird. Just a limited edition’- “Hey what’s that? Why did she choose THIS one?” a perplexed Priya thought to herself. However, office beckoned, there were deadlines to be met and work to be done. She pushed it to the back of her mind up until the time she couldn’t afford the luxury to ruminate on it.
By the time evening fell and it was time for Mishti to be back, Priya had turned the quote upside down in her mind, a hundred times, wondering what prompted her baby to write something like that. The logical side of her brain was trying to convince her that maybe it was just something that caught her child’s fancy. But it was unable to calm her. Did Mishti think she was weird? Why did she think like that? Did anyone in the class say something to her? The questions were endless and also useless. Only Mishti had the answers, she thought as she made another half-hearted effort to calm herself.
The sight of her daughter alighting the bus would always bring her joy and pride. She was quite satisfied by the way her husband and she were bringing her up. Mishti came running towards her and she was her usual chatty self. “Oh well, so far so good,” Priya sighed inwardly.
As they sat down with her coffee and Mishti’s Milo, Priya looked for an opportune moment to broach IT.” Baby, I loved the screen saver on the lappie that you had put”, Priya said as she intently screened her daughter’s face. The girl chirped in, “Yes Amma, I too loved it when I read it”.
Experience told Priya not to butt in as Mishti went on, “Amma, do you know what’s a cleft lip? We have a new girl in our class who has a funny looking upper lip. I heard our class teacher telling our Maths teacher that the newly admitted girl has a cleft lip. But Amma, you HAVE to hear her sing. She is so good l that music Sir has already taken her in the choir. What is cleft lip?”
Priya explained, “Cleft lip is a sort of broken lip in the middle. When the baby is developing in her baby bag, sometimes the lip doesn’t get joined in the middle so it appears like cut lip. Often a surgery is needed to put it together”
Mishti continued from where Priya left, “Yes Amma, you are right. Now that you say it, the lip did seem a little different. But what a voice Amma. You know what, some senior girls in the choir teased her for her lip. So, Sam and I went up to them and said- She isn’t weird, she’s just a limited edition. Amma, you should have seen the look on their faces. We used our ‘quote of the day’ on them and they were shocked. We told them, it’s they who are weird, not our friend. Isn’t that right? I liked the line so much that when I came home yesterday, I changed the screen saver. Wasn’t it cool, Amma?”
Relief and pride swept over Priya as she ruffled Mishti’s hair lovingly. “Oh yes baby, it was super cool. Bullies have to be silenced.” She said and gave her the dab. Her daughter held the dab as the ultimate sign of appreciation. And Priya felt today she deserved one. Her daughter was learning to stand up for what was right. Not just for herself but also for others.
As they both cleared the table and Mishti took out her homework, Priya made a mental note to share this incident with her husband that night. An occasional gloat was permitted.
Dr Shivani Salil wins a Rs 250 Amazon voucher, as well as a chance to be picked one among the top winners at the end of 2018. Congratulations!
Image source: Biswarup Ganguly [GFDL, CC BY 3.0 , GFDL or CC BY 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons
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I am a doctor with an MD in Clinical Microbiology, working at KEM Hospital, Mumbai.
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