Saraswati was now nearly a week old in the Dasgupta house. She had never seen the world in abundance before she reached Kolkata, for her first paid work. Though she knew that she wouldn’t be getting her payment for herself ever as her father would be taking the money even before she could glance at them. Back in her village where she lived with her mother and sisters, her father used to come back home exhausted from the farm’s work. He relentlessly used to beat up her mother and even her sisters. Many a times she also ended up having marks and swellings on her malnourished body. She had one elder sister who had married a boy from the other caste and therefore was thrown out of not only the house but the village. Her father wanted to kill her though. She or her mother had never heard of her elder sister since 3 years then. Saraswati had a younger brother too who had an untimely death just the previous year due to an unknown fever which he couldn’t recover from in the long 5 days and nights he was taken ill. Saraswati didn’t shed a single tear when her brother died, it is not to mean that she was happy with someone’s death but it was more about not exactly feeling what one should in mournful cases like these. Saraswati’s father had always loved his son dearly, he was fed extra rotis everyday. Even he received new clothes for Durga Puja and no other siblings did. Her brother was very similar to her dad. Both were cruel and arrogant. After his death, her mother did collapse for a number of times and sobbed for nights together, this made Saraswati wonder, “Are mothers meant to love her children even if he beats her black and blue!” Presently Saraswati’s mother was left with her youngest child who was just a girl of 7. Saraswati never had any friendly relationship with any of her siblings therefore. The elder sister was 6 years senior to her and she was most of the times busy in her own world, the youngest one was just a little child, and her brother was nothing less than a nightmare. Under her father’s ill teachings and bad influence he was turning into a hooligan day by day. The only person in the world whom she missed dearly was her mother. She hoped that her mother got enough to eat now as she was now able to send money back home.
Saraswati was day dreaming while cleaning the dishes in the kitchen sink, when the pressure cooker’s whistle started blowing… Minutes later entered Mrs. Dasgupta and she turned of the oven’s flame. She dictated Saraswati, “Take out the boiled potatoes from the cooker and clean it. Also peel the potatoes and mash them properly.” “But I don’t know how to open that thing. Please help me do that then I shall mash the potatoes.”, said Saraswati in her meek voice. Mrs Dasgupta was a little agitated then and she poured some cold water on the lid of the cooker in the trial of opening it and retorted, “My God, you have been seeing me do this since a week now. This is really useless to get an uneducated girl as the maid.” Her words couldn’t even leave her mouth when she heard Rajni saying from the back of her shoulders, entering through the kitchen door, “Mom it is not her fault that she isn’t educated. Do not worry I shall teach her.”
Mrs. Dasgupta smiled at her daughter but her smile didn’t reach her eyes. She glanced at Saraswati for once and beckoned her to do the dishes quickly before she let herself out of the kitchen. Rajni grinned at Saraswati and said, “I have checked your sums. You are doing great I must say. If you continue with this enthusiasm then soon you shall be at par with the children of your age. Then I would make necessary arrangements so that you can appear for the final exams of standard 8.” Saraswati blushed a little as she was never used to such appreciation in her life. She said, “This is all because of you didi. You are doing so much for me. I don’t know what good it would do me if I keep studying, but it makes me feel good.” “You would see what good it can do to you one day. You are so sharp dear. I will make sure you do justice for your talent.”, said Rajni while she patted her in the back! She instantly added with volumes of excitement, “Shaurya bhaiya shall be back home tonight. He had gone for a trip with his friends to Kashmir. I would be baking his favourite chocolate cake after a while. Do you like chocolate?”
Saraswati smiled and spoke in her mind that that she knew what chocolate tasted like because she had tasted one a couple of years ago when her mother got a few stale ones from the landlady. She couldn’t remember the taste vividly but she nodded in affirmation to Rajni’s question. Also she knew who Shaurya was because she saw many pictures of him in the wall frames. Upon enquiry she was told by Mrs Dasgupta that Shaurya was her elder child who was 6 years senior to Rajni. He had completed his college from a very famous institute something called ITT or IIT, Saraswati couldn’t recall.
Rajni interrupted her thoughts and continued, “You would love him when you see. He is the best brother one can have. Obviously you must be knowing how it feels to have a brother, you definitely have siblings.” To this Saraswati glanced at her a little longer and started to do her dishes once again. Rajni asked her to finish early so that she could watch her do the baking. While she turned around to leave from the kitchen, she suddenly stopped and , “Let us dress you up a bit first, I mean there is no point that you remain in your shabby robes here in the city of Kolkata. Yes I know we are at home and I would dress you up ‘homely’, I promise. I have so many beautiful dresses that don’t even fit me, I would make you wear them. You are going to get some new dresses now. Do the dishes later on, now come with me.”
She gave Saraswati no time to even respond and then pulled her into her bedroom slamming the door behind. The dishes were left undone in the sink.
Has Rajni become a sister to Saraswati? Would she be able to help Saraswati for higher studies? How is Shaurya going to affect Saraswati? Keep reading to know what happens in Saraswati’s life.
Next episode comes up soon. Stay tuned!