Sandhya from the Duckbill Workshop in Bangalore writes the same story from two points of view. Our thanks to Sandhya for letting us use this on the blog.
She knew that something was wrong the moment Sasha stepped off the school bus. There was none of the usual rush of words that ran into each other in her hurry to tell her mother about her day.
Seema let her be, and didn’t ask her anything. Just gave her a reassuring hug before walking quietly with her to the car. Once in the car and away from the curious gazes of her classmates, the dam broke.
“What happened Sasha? Shh, shh, it’s OK.” Sasha was incoherent in her grief. Tears ran down her cheeks as she tried to stop her sobs enough to be able to say something. Seema held her close, waiting for the storm to pass. “They pulled my hair so hard that…” Fresh sobs broke out.
After a while, Sasha had calmed down a little. Seema passed her the bottle of water. The cool liquid made Sasha feel much better. Much better than she had felt all day after that incident.
Sasha sat hunched up on her seat, holding her bag close to her, as if it could help her. She looked sightlessly out of the window, her throat tight with anger, a burning anger at the unfairness of it all. “How dare they pull her hair over that? It wasn’t her fault!” She couldn’t wait to go home.
The bus stopped. Sasha got up and stepped off the bus, the bag still clutched tightly to her chest. Her eyes scanned the crowd for her mother – where was she? Feeling a touch on her arm, she looked up, and felt an instant rush of emotion on seeing her mother there. “Did Mom know she was so, so angry and upset? Surely she must know!”
Her throat too tight with the unshed tears, she walked to the waiting car with her mother. Once inside, though, they all poured out in a torrent. She was incoherent in her attempt to tell her mother of that incident at school. As Seema sat holding her close, the wracking sobs slowly passed. Taking a few sips of cool, calming water, Sasha felt a little better, much better than she had felt all day.