“I am not going to school today”, Ruhi whined stomping her feet as her face continued to turn red.
“Yes, you are. You just cannot miss school for random reasons”, I sternly retorted while bundling up her lunch case.
“Mom! Have a look outside, it’s raining heavily. My clothes and shoes will get all wet and dirty”, she tried to point me towards the heavy downpour outside, standing on her toes to reach the window
I sighed. Unlike most kids her age, Ruhi was extremely punctilious to ensure her clothes didn’t have even the tiniest bit of dirt.
“The monsoon season has started, Ruhi. The weather will be like this for months; and I am not letting you miss school anymore. Now, why don’t you make it easy for both of us and wear your rain jacket and get ready to go. Come on, I know how much love your new red polka dot raincoat, don’t you? And since you are so particular about getting dirty, I will also keep your old jacket in your bag as a spare. Now, Is it okay?” I said as I motioned her to come near me.
She at first shot a grumpy look at me, but nevertheless trudged ahead and took her bag. She slipped into her new jacket and said , “I wish we had a car so that you can drive me down to school like Tara’s mom. Then I won’t have to slog through the messy rainwater.”
I felt a little stirred at her remark; I knew I will never be able match the lifestyles of her affluent friends, but with time, her comparisons with others were getting more recurrent. I eschewed my gush of thoughts, wondering that she is still a kid and will take some time to understand that life isn’t fair and grasp those complicated nuances.
"Ok, lets go", I said and held her hand in mine, opening my umbrella as we walked out. By now, the sky was all covered in woolly grey clouds and the rain had started to make plinking sounds on the roof. As my eyes traced the streets for signs of an autorickshaw, Ruhi suddenly let go of my hand exclaiming, “Mom, I will be back in a jiffy”.
Startled, I turned around to find her running back towards the gate while making her way through the puddles of water. “What! What are you upto, Ruhi? We will get late.”.
“Just a moment mom!” She cried out as she hopped to avoid the puddles and reached the fruit vendor who sells grapes on his cart next to our home. She took out the spare jacket from her bag and handed it to the man’s little son who was sheltering under the cart. The shivering young lad was taken aback by the sudden gesture. He gingerly stepped out of the cart and took the jacket and mumbled something in return flashing a happy toothy smile.
My little girl turned and made her way back to me, muttering as she re-held my hand, “What would I do keeping so many jackets, when Golu can’t even have one. It was so unfair. I can very well manage even if my red raincoat has a spot or two. Right, mom?” I nodded my head in appreciation, too awestruck to utter any words. A smile appeared across my face and I bent down to kiss her, shirking off the thought that a moment back I was thinking a 6 year old cannot be mature enough to understand things.