उतरन

“Amu, I’ll also go with you”

“But don’t you have to go to school?”

“They don’t teach us anything good these days”

It wasn’t the first time that this conversation was taking place between Amu and Pragya. Every year just before Diwali, Pragya would shun school and develop a strong inclination to go to work with her mother. Amu was a maid in a big haveli and had to bear thakurani’s wrath every day but Pragya was more than happy to assist her in minor chores or just wait sitting on the floor. During these ten-odd days, there was a hint of a sparkle in her eyes, a conspicuous flourish in her gait and an overall sweetness and sophistication in her manner, which was otherwise locked up in some cupboard for the rest of the year. Amu tried hard but could not understand the reason behind this change until that fateful afternoon.

Thakurani was going out to visit some of her relatives. She asked Amu to put the sweets in the car. Amu looked at Pragya and she responded with such alacrity that in her haste, she dropped one of the boxes. Thakurani yelled at the peak of her voice, “He bhagwan! ek kaam dhang se nahi hota in kaamchoro se…..”. But perhaps she was also soaked in the (adulterated) sweetness oozing out of the rasgullas rolling on the floor, as she added with a chuckle, “chalo koi nahi….yahan pocha maar dena…Waise bhi main us Seema ko teen dabbe nahi dena chahti thi”.

She left after that but tears had not stopped flowing down Pragya’s face. Amu tried to comfort her.”It’s ok. Ho jaata hai. Let’s clean up the mess now.” But she wouldn’t stop crying. “Kya hua, gudiya….thakurani ne toh gussa bhi nahi kiya….fir ro kyun rahi hai?”

Sobbing, she replied, “But……But……now…..she won’t give me any clothes on Diwali.”

The next day, she went back to school with dashed hopes and a sullen face.

P.S. The inspiration comes from this very touching song (Utaran, Colors, 10 pm)

नन्हे  नन्हे  से  हाथों  में  गुडिया  पुरानी
किस्मत  अपनी  तो  जैसे  कोई  रूठी  नानी
नन्हे  नन्हे  से  हाथों  में  गुडिया  पुरानी
किस्मत  अपनी  तो  जैसे  कोई  रूठी  नानी
किसी  का   जीवन  सपना  है
किसी  का  सपना  है  उतरन
किसी  के  उतरे  सपनो  से  सजे  किसी  का  बचपन
वो  नहीं  समझे अभी ….क्या  होती  है  उतरन
वो  नहीं  समझे ……क्या  होती  उतरन

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