“Jack and Jill went up the hill… Mamma, will you please fetch me a glass of water?”
This was for the third time, in ten minutes, that Rancho had alarmed Maniben for water. The request wasn’t tiring, but the worry of Rancho getting distracted every now and then while studying, had made her whiskers turn prematurely grey. Give a dishful of cheese dhokla, the Patel household where Maniben had build her illegal construction in the bedroom of the youngest 10 year old Patel, would never acknowledge Rancho’s presence. But given the syllable textbook in hand, the geography of the whole household would change, with the Patel clan running behind Rancho fretfully with weapons. He just couldn’t sit to learn his academics, but always managed to save his skin.
Today too, no different than any other day, the kindergarten chap was arduously memorizing his playschool rhyme. Yet his tail kept frivolously fiddling, searching for some mischief.
Stomping the glass on his table, “I’m going for your open-house. You better stay home, getting lest distracted by the little Patel scamp, eating jalebis.” A stern look peered into Rancho’s dark, chocolaty, eyes; brought down the welled up puddles of tears. Without giving in to the temptation of cuddling her innocent, squeaky skunk, Maniben left with a heavy heart.
The spectacled beady eyes of Mini Mathur, a calico, infamously known as Rancho’s teacher, welcomed Maniben. The vicious, arrow-tipped teeth waited impatiently to rip open Maniben’s flesh. Not literally, but being a remorseless hunter, today she was not going to spare Rancho for being tad mischievous in class.
“YOUR SON HAS BEING EXPELLED, MANIBEN!” with sinewy strength and smouldering looks, Mini thrust the dagger of verdict into Maniben’s heart. Only regret, she couldn’t feast on her.
This was the final blow of the regular, cat and mouse run that happened under the pretext of school in the storehouse of palatial, Patel Vatika. Burning in face, Maniben had enough of the cob nose frown at her son’s progress. As she walked out of the tall gates of the international school, for which she had left the cornfields, Maniben realised how people here, where short tempered, and long distanced; nobody to commend his racing feet, all eager to condemn his paltry grades.
Swiftly into the hole, without a word to Rancho who was now struggling with fifty, fifty two, fifty five and many such arithmetic gambles, Maniben started packing her bags.
One last look at the portly Patel boy hung to his tablet, Maniben scuttled Rancho out of the dingy hole, and headed straight to her cornfield. On the way she treated him to a large chunk of gooey cheese, which he nibbled wondering, what the calico had said.
Jostling themselves under the seats of a boxcar, Maniben dreamt of lauding, ‘Bhaag Rancho, Bhaag’- the first Milka Singh of the murine tribe. While Rancho, blessed the teacher for giving him OUTSTANDING grades!
Moral: Being different doesn’t mean you are not able. You can be differently abled.
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