“Sundari! Why have you messed up Amma’s cupboard? What are you searching for?” asked her father. All the clothes and knick-knacks were scattered on the floor.
” Appa! I’m looking for Amma’s stethoscope and coat,” said Sundari.
” But why?”
” Hmm! Today we have the career day dress-up event at school. So Supriya ma’am said we have to come dressed in a way that best represents any one parent’s profession. We also need to talk a few lines about it. The best performer would receive a prize too. And…I want to dress up like Amma–a doctor.”
“Good going, my princess! I’m so proud of you. Amma’s old steth and coat are in the medicine cabinet. Use that,” suggested her father.
” Awesome! Thank you Appa,” said Sundari. She rehearsed a few lines that she wanted to speak a couple of times.
” I will come too…to watch you speak,” said her father.
” Yayy! The event is going to be great fun,” said Sundari, and off she went to school feeling excited.
Sundari’s father arrived just in time for the career day performance by the children.
He was very eager to watch her perform.
All the students came one after the other on stage. They were dressed up as teachers, IT professionals, doctors, scientists, lawyers and so much more. The judges seemed mighty impressed.
Finally, it was Sundari’s turn. But she did not make an appearance on the stage despite being called repeatedly.
Everyone wondered what happened to her. Her teacher marched backstage frantically. The door opened and she stepped out – barely recognizable in her new avatar.
She was dressed in an oversized T-Shirt paired with shorts and wore fake spectacles. She also held her lunch box in one hand, and a book in the other. Everyone stared at her in disbelief. Her father had a bewildered expression.
Sundari walked up to the stage confidently.
” Sundari, what’s wrong with you? You said you’d be dressed as a doctor, didn’t you?” questioned her teacher.
” I changed my mind, ma’am! I decided to talk about my father’s profession instead. I love what he does,” replied Sundari with a twinkle in her almond eyes.
“And what is that?” asked the judge with a puzzled look.
” My father cooks, cleans, and helps me and my brother with our homework while my mother is busy taking care of patients at the hospital. He tells us stories, plays football, and also takes us out on long drives. He says he will resume his job once we are old enough to be independent. I love my mother very much too but I wanted to speak about my father today. He is truly our hero,” said Sundari, holding her head high.
The judge, teachers, and all the parents who were present gave Sundari a standing ovation. Sundari’s father couldn’t control the tears of joy that were trickling down his cheeks. It was his proudest moment as a father.
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