Assumptions! We make them all the time, about people we know and don’t, about events we’ve witnessed or only heard about. Sometimes, a reality check is necessary!
The word of the day is- assumptions!
The Girl with the Pink Umbrella
Mini had seen the girl around the colony and knew she had moved in recently. She seemed to be about Mini’s age, and Mini wondered was her name was and which school she went to. But Mini didn’t make any attempt to be friends with the girl. That is, until the rains started and Mini saw her with the pink umbrella.
Mini was hurrying to the bus stop, trying to hold her umbrella at the perfect angle so that she wouldn’t get wet, when she saw something that almost stopped her in her tracks. It was the most beautiful pink umbrella in the world and a schoolgirl was carrying it. Mini knew at once, with complete certainty, that she wanted an umbrella exactly like the pink one ahead of her. It was only when she stumbled into a puddle that Mini stopped staring at the umbrella and tried to find out instead who owned such a nice umbrella. Mini lengthened her stride, till she was abreast with the girl. Then she gave a cautious sidelong look and found herself staring at the new girl she had noticed. The girl didn’t notice Mini’s envious stare.
Standing at the bus stop Mini thought about the pink umbrella. It was the most perfect umbrella she had ever seen and till she had seen it Mini had not even realized how very much she longed to posses it. Her own umbrella was so dull and boring. It was black in colour and though it was sturdy enough, it lacked the elegance that the pink umbrella had.
Mini looked at the girl, standing a little way away and thought enviously how lucky she was to own such a pretty umbrella. Her own parents would never have agreed to buy her something like that. In fact Mini could just imagine how Ai would react to the news that she wanted a pink umbrella. Mini sighed. The girl was really lucky to have parents who bought her such nice things. Perhaps it had been a birthday surprise, Mini told herself. What if she asked her parents for a pretty umbrella for her birthday? But Mini had to think over this idea for only a few minutes to realise that it would never work, that her parents would never buy her anything like this, even for her birthday. Perhaps, Mini thought, brightening at the thought, the girl had a really nice Uncle or Aunt who liked to give her such gifts. And pleased with the image of these benevolent people Mini was just beginning to imagine how they must have given the girl the umbrella, when someone said, “Hi, are you waiting for the number 32 bus?”
It was the girl with the pink umbrella and for a minute, lost in her thoughts Mini could only stare at her. Then she said, “Yes! It’s late today!”
“I thought I’d missed it,” the girl said with a nervous giggle.
That seemed a good way to break the ice and soon the two girls were talking. The girl’s name was Tanvi and she had moved from Mysore. She told Mini about her new school and Mini listened, thinking all the while about the kind Uncle and Aunt who had given Tanvi the pink umbrella. And because she had been thinking of it for so long and envying Tanvi for owning it, Mini could not resist saying, “That is a very pretty umbrella!”
“Yes,” Tanvi smiled, “I love it!”
“I suppose it was a gift, right?” Mini asked, knowing that the answer would be yes, and trying to still the feeling of envy at having people who gave such nice gifts.
“No,” Tanvi, “It wasn’t a gift! Who would give me something like this?”
“Maybe your Aunt or…Uncle,” Mini suggested.
“No,” Tanvi shook her head. She reached up to stroke the inside of the umbrella with a loving finger and said, “I bought it myself!”
“What?” Mini asked. The beautiful world she had just created for Tanvi, with kind relatives who liked to give her attractive gifts, crumbled to dust around her, while she tried hard to understand what Tanvi was saying.
“I bought it,” Tanvi repeated, “I saved up my money, you know and then when I saw it in a shop and liked it I bought it!”
What a perfectly simple explanation, Mini thought in amazement. And why had it never occurred to her to guess it?
As compensation she pushed away her feeling of envy and instead said, with a lot of enthusiasm, “What a great thing to do!” Tanvi smiled at her, clearly pleased.
Mini and Tanvi met every day at the bus stop and became good friends. Mini never forgot her first envious thoughts of the girl with the Pink umbrella. But what she really cherished was what she had learnt from the girl with the Pink umbrella – that everyone held the keys to their own happiness, right there, in their hands. And now Mini is saving up her money – so that she can become The Second Girl with the Pink Umbrella!
This story was published in Young Buzz, the children’s pages of Sakal Times.