Sunday, January 4, 2015

The ten-year-old

The ten year old was unusually quiet during dinner that Dad had to ask. Ten-year-olds, especially those like her, did not sit quiet during dinner until they were yelled at.
“Anything exciting happen today?” he asked.
“No,” she said, thoughtfully examining a piece of roti before allowing it to vanish in her mouth.
“Tell me about your day.”
She paused for a long time and said, “It was as usual.”
“All the actors and extras behave themselves?” he tried to prod her. She nodded.
This was curious – it was evident that something was occupying her mind, but she was not willing to share it with him. For as long as he could remember, there was nothing she did not share the moment it happened, in excruciating detail. His little girl was growing older, and learning to keep secrets. In a few years, she would be so good at it that he’d not even notice she was concealing something. He rambled on for a while about other matters, about his work and about the people he met, pretending not to notice her silence. It was at bed time that she finally decided to disclose her thoughts. He was sitting by her side with an unopened story-book.
“I saw a child while we were shooting,” she said. “This girl was peeking out from between the crowd while I was saying my lines. I almost forgot a couple of words when I saw her. She had the largest eyes I have seen, and she was staring at me as if I were some… some…”
“Well, you are a celebrity,” said the Dad, trying not to let his pride show. 
“We had to take that shot five times before I got it right, I was so shaken by the apparition,” she continued as if he had not said anything. She had a way of gesturing and raising her eyebrows while she spoke and using words too big for her that reminded him dreadfully of the characters she played in her movies. “Anyway, after it was done, I looked around and did not see her. I was just asking Geeta for a juice-”
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  1. I have three nieces in 9th, 8th and 6th grades. The middle one loves reading ... a glutton for books.
    This is truely a great story.
    I wish I could send her a book of yours containing such short stories.

  2. Beautiful Jeena.

    Sometimes I think about my child too. Now she is just 2.5 years, but there will be a time when she develops secrets and goes all on to herself or her friends :)

    I so so want to be her bestest friend then and now .

    1. Thank you Sangeetha. Of course you will be her bestest friend always! :)

  3. Nice way of writing :) Thanks for sharing

  4. That's a well written story, Jeena ! Waiting for more short stories :-)