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The BIG, bad wolf.

        This is the story of Ria...a little girl, who studies in the 3rd standard. Life is full of fun and games for her. And some studies, too.  Her favourite pass time is playing with her little brother and showering him with all her love. School is fun, too, except the homework and esp. the Math homework. It is the dreaded word...MATH!!
        "Mamma, why do I have to learn Math if I am going to be an English teacher when I grow up...just like you?", asks Ria to her mother often. Mother smiles her indulgent smile. "You have to learn Math so that you grow up to be a big girl someday!" her usual answer. "Hmmph!", sighs the little girl as she gets down to doing what she hates the most.

      "Ria, why don't we take the help of somebody who is SUPER in Math....he will help you study well. And it's just a matter of some time. As soon as your exams are over, you can forget all about your studies! What do you think, my baby?", asked mother one day. That seemed fine, thought Ria. And when she found out that Rajiv bhaiya would teach her Math, she was happy! Rajiv bhaiya, their baby-sitter's son, was super fun!  "Yesssss!", she exclaimed, happily!

      Thus began the new daily schedule. One hour before school, Ria would go to study Math with Rajiv bhaiya. He really made it seem so easy! Finally, the figures didn't seem to dance in front of Ria's eyes! Yes, math could be fun! Her grades proved that she was surely enjoying playing with numbers.

     It had been quite some time since Ria had begun going for her math tuitions. But, for some days now, she could notice some change in Rajiv bhaiya. He didn't seem his old, funny self. What was different?  He did act weird at times. The kids at the creche made such racket, they had to shift to another room for their study sessions. And that is where Rajiv bhaiya would become a very different person...someone that Ria had never known till now.

      "Show me your hands ", he would say, holding a ruler, if she didn't get a sum correct. But, he never beat. He would ask her to sit in his lap and then begin to do weird things. This was so not right, felt Ria. And, as soon as the time was up, she would run home and hug mamma so tight. Going to the tuition started to sound dreadful now. Ria would keep making excuses, but could not tell mamma what was going wrong. Rajiv bhaiya asked her to do some things that felt all wrong. But, how could she tell anybody? Who would listen to her?

     Days passed by, but things didn't seem to change. Ria hated going upstairs with Rajiv bhaiya for her studies and would keep finding excuses to go downstairs. Sometimes she would be so thirsty or very hungry or anything that would give her a chance to be away from bhaiya.  Finally, she could take it no more. One fine day, she just wouldn't budge from her chair at home. Mother kept on pleading with her to go finish her studies for the day, but, Ria would not listen. Excuses kept on piling. And when she had run out of those, she blurted out, "I do not want to go for the tuition because Rajiv bhaiya lifts up my frock." A stunned mamma hugged Ria hard and apologised profusely. "Don't go, beta. I will teach you math myself. And I, along with daddy will go have a word with Rajiv bhaiya."

    What a relief that was for Ria! She stopped going for the classes, but it was something she found hard to forget. Nevertheless, she was happy and relieved.

    I wonder how many mammas are this understanding, or pay such attention to what their kids are trying to tell them. I dread to think how many Rias are out there who are battling the big, bad wolves in their lives at an age when they should be enjoying life without its grim  realities. And, after having faced such wolves, will they be able to trust people who come in their lives at every stage?

    It is really a jungle out there, with wolves hiding  in the dark, waiting to pounce on young, innocent souls who know not how to defend themselves!  How worried the mammas and daddies must be when  their precious babies step out of the house trying to find their place in this world?

    Will those big,bad wolves ever know what it feels like to be robbed off our innocence? WIll they ever have a change of heart? Hope they do, when the time comes for their little ones to step out of their safe dwellings.


  1. Very well written Shilpa. The way little Ria's suffering is expressed is great. I know a few kids who have gone through this trauma at tender age of 6/7.The big bad wolves were either their school van driver, one of their relatives or head of shelter home!

  2. Its the most traumatic experience that a child goes through...and never comes out of it...ever!

  3. Halfway through the story I felt like giving up. Even imagining her plight felt excruciatingly terrible.
    Sadly this happens in reality. Maybe even worse.


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