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Her mother was very good at stitching and knitting. It was her first day at school after being promoted to Grade 2. She woke up on her own as her mother was not talking to her. Two months ago, before her school closed for the summer break, on the last day, she had left her new cardigan somewhere in the school. She couldn’t remember if she had left it on her desk in class or under the tree in the playground. Maybe she had even left it in the bus.
It was a light blue pull over, with a round collar and had a border of rabbits in various poses. Some eating, some ready to run, some napping. All in white wool. Her mother had knitted it because blue and white was her school uniform. Blue pinafore, white blouse, blue cardigan or pullover, black shoes, white socks.
That day, her mother had told her that it wasn’t cold enough for her to wear the pullover but she had insisted because she wanted to show off the rabbits to her friends. It must have been hot in school and she had taken it off. And left it behind.
When she got back home, her mother asked, where is your pullover? At first she tried to bluff her way out of it. It is in my satchel, she said. Her mother opened the satchel and of course there was no pullover.
Oh I forgot, I gave it to Sunanda because she was feeling cold, she said. Make sure you get it back from her after the holidays, her mother said.
Before going to bed, she decided she better come clean. She told her mother that she did not remember where she left it and so wasn’t sure of finding it. Her mother slapped her and told her that till she brings it back home, she wouldn’t talk to her.
That was her worst summer holidays ever. Her mother did not speak to her. Her nanny took time off to visit her daughter. And she got tired of playing ‘teacher teacher’ because she had caned her students (dolls) so badly for imagined misdemeanours that they lay strewn around her room, limp and raggedy. She couldn’t wait to get back to school.
But on the first morning after the holidays, she left for school, scared, nervous and unsure. By lunch break, she was a near wreck. One of her friends said, come with me to the Principal’s office, I need to submit my medical certificate for being absent from class before the term break. So off she went.
Whilst her friend went into the Principal’s chamber, she hung outside the door. She was looking around listlessly when she suddenly spotted her pullover in a glass cupboard in the outer area of the chamber. She dashed inside and found her friend was talking to the Principal. She forgot that she was in Principal’s chamber. She forgot to that she was in the presence of the Principal. She did one distorted jig dance, all the while shouting, ‘It is mine, It is mine!’
Her friend’s eyes widened first in astonishment, then in fear. The Principal, walked from around her table, caught her midway through the dance, held her tight and said, ‘What is yours, my child?’
The blue pullover. That is mine. My mother knitted it for me. She won’t talk to me till I take it back home. She was feeling hot and flushed from all the excitement but she still wore it. In the bus, an old lady asked her, are you not well, child, why are you wearing a woollen pullover in this weather?
She got off the bus at her stop and walked the next ten minutes home. Normally someone waited for her at the gate. Usually her nanny. Sometimes her mother herself. Today no one was there. She had to climb half way up the gate to reach for the latch. She opened it and went in with a war cry.
Her mother came out of her bedroom and said, stop making so much of a racket. A stern look from her mother was usually enough to silence her. But not today. She continued to yodel and make funny noises at the top of her voice. And she continued with her jig dance, the one that was interrupted by the Principal, for her mother’s benefit.
It took a while for her mother to notice that her daughter was wearing the pullover. ‘Take it off’, she said, ‘I don’t know how you can wear it in this weather.’
She let her mother pull it above her head. She saw her take it to the garden and air it on the clothesline. The next morning, she saw it was no longer there, she assumed her mother had folded it and put it back in her wardrobe. She never wore it again.
From then on, she decided she didn’t much care for rabbits either.
Image via Pixabay
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