Arohi has just been back from her daughter Yashvi’s school. It was the day that every child dreads, the day of Parents Teachers Meeting but since Yashvi stood first in the class she had nothing to be intimidated about. Sadly, Arohi’s reaction has been the exact opposite of what Yashvi had imagined. Like every other year, Yashvi stood first in the class and like every other year her mother had been anything but annoyed to hear the verbal applause her teachers had bestowed upon her.
Arohi instructs Yashvi to go watch television while she rests a little, an obedient Yashvi hops onto the couch and puts on the National Geographic channel. A sight, which strangely, makes Arohi frown and she marches into her room. A glum Aarohi can feel an insurmountable amount of rage boiling in her and she lies down on the bed massaging her forehead lightly to assuage the pain. One might wonder, what can be reason of Arohi’s disdain when her daughter is a true embodiment of the phrase, ‘Atta Girl’, in every respect? The truth is that Arohi had never wanted a daughter like Yashvi, Miss Goody Two Shoes to be precise. Arohi had led an extremely notorious childhood and had foreseen nonetheless for her children as well. Extremely stubborn and headstrong, a child who cringed at the sight of books had grown to mother a daughter who cries at an A2 grade in her progress report. There once was a day when Arohi’s mother had broken the Chapati into pieces so that it is easier for her to eat but given the whimsical child that Arohi was, she instantly demanded her mother to join the pieces together. Arohi had never done homework, unless her mother had made her sit down and bartered a delicious meal for the same. Whenever the teacher asked her to bring her notebook for correction, she would come up with astute excuses. Her absolute favorite being the one she gave in kindergarten, “Ma’am our maid has stopped coming for work and given the size of our family my mother has no time to devote to my studies.” At times, she would say that her notebooks were lost in shifting or that the class monitor must have handled them carelessly. The nucleus of her existence was playing and she would spend hours lazing with friends, hopping from one roof to another or simply wandering on the streets until her parents came hunting for her, coaxing her to return to the home whose existence she would easily forget at the prospect of leisure. The day she would come across a fellow who did not share the same opinions as her, she would go to any length to assert her point as is evident from the day when she tore a boy’s shirt in an argument. However the boy and she grew up to become close friends and she is time and again subtly reminded of her mischief by his parents. Her revolting temperament coupled with a disinclination towards studies did not quite earn her a place in the good books of her teachers. On a wild hunch, she once replicated a friend’s handwriting in the mid-term exam because she was sure that the teacher knew her’s and would intentionally deduct her marks. Yes, she was proficient with handwriting and signatures, so adept that she could become a con woman of the likes of Neil Caffrey of White Collar or Fank Abnagale of Catch Me if You Can.
On the contrary, her daughter has never even placed as little as a toenail out of line. She goes to bed at ten and wakes up at six and the she is late by even ten minutes, she breaks into tears thinking that she might not be able to reach school on time. Her ten-year old makes her bed before leaving for school, asks for books as gifts and has a scheduled one hour of playing everyday which she religiously sticks to. She has never been in a quarrel because she simply likes to keep her opinion to herself. Sometimes, to test her daughter’s patience Arohi cooks Gourd, Bitter Gourd or Pumpkin for dinner but Yashvi obediently empties the plate because she doesn’t want to annoy Mom and Dad. On days like today, Arohi cannot help but lament the goodness her daughter is born with. An act, which indeed leaves a poor Yashvi disgruntled who tries to take her virtue a notch higher in order to be lauded by her mother. Concerned for their daughter Anirudh often confronts Aarohi about her mysterious hostility towards their daughter. But she can never come to spell her sentiments into words, for the fear that he might simply dismiss them, calling them childish.
You know what has been the force behind Arohi’s predicament? Once in college she pestered a friend, a friend who happened to have a black tongue and a friend who was so enraged at her farce that she casually told Arohi that she will give birth to a daughter who will value nothing but rote learning and subservience. The two traits which had led many people to be mocked at the hands of Arohi.