Pooja was a simple girl who loved to attend school. She was a class seven student aged twelve. She worked really hard to ensure she fared well in her school assessments.
However, there was a major flaw with her attendance. She was perpetually late for school on most days. There were occasions when she did not arrive at school until the first break. Most teachers would question Pooja, “Pooja, you are late again! Where on Earth have you been?”. Pooja’s answer would always reverberate the same lies, ” I don’t have an alarm clock. Hence I am late.”
The teachers had gently coaxed her, reprimanded her, even suspended her but to no avail. Only her habit of being late remained constant. Most teachers were not bothered about Pooja’s habit. Afterall, she was an ‘A’ grader. However, there was old Ms. Benilda who wanted to find out the truth. Ms. Benilda was the school’s language teacher. She had a sharp intuition and a keen eye for detail. She observed that Pooja did not have much friends, had rather plain looks and no one actually knew about her family and their status.
One day, Ms. Benilda decided to follow her back from school. Pooja was seen leaving the school premises immediately after the final bell rang. Ms. Benilda immediately started her car to follow Pooja. She was careful not to come under her direct view. She followed her diligently at a distance until Pooja stopped by a small door and entered. The house was extremely small but well-ventilated. The indoors were spotlessly clean. On a small cot in the room, was a sick middle-aged woman. Pooja rushed to clean herself and then went to the kitchen to arrange two plates of healthy meals, one for the woman and one for herself. She wasted no time to clean the remains and house before heading out again.
Ms. Benilda was careful not to come under her direct view and hid herself behind the trunk of a tree. As soon as Pooja left, Ms. Benilda gently knocked on the door, requesting to be let in. The woman on the cot invited her indoors.
Lady: “How can I help you?”
Benilda: “I am Pooja’s teacher. Though she’s a brilliant student, she’s always late to school. Wanted to know what her trouble is?”
Lady: “I’m Pooja’s mother. My husband passed away when Pooja was five. I am bedridden since two years. She’s been managing the house and finances since then. She distributes milk and newspapers in the morning, then works at a bakery before heading for school. She loves to study but we can’t afford her education. Pooja arranges these for herself. After school, she again works at a laundry shop to earn and sustain. She’s late to school because of her work.”, she cried breaking down.
Benilda: “Pooja needn’t work anymore. I will sponsor her studies and adopt her. I will care for you both. She deserves a better life.”
God was truly merciful…
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