Train of tales Children

Grandma goes to school: Troubled waters

Illustration: Sonal Goyal

Illustration: Sonal Goyal   | Photo Credit: Illustration: Sonal Goyal

Grandma and her cousins were enjoying themselves at school. But, there seemed to be a problem.

The story so far: Grandma loved school. And, the icing on the cake was that she could swim in the river too.

Grandma’s triumph was short-lived as, very soon she sank. But, Phuli caught her at once.

“You didn’t teach me properly,” cried grandma indignantly, trying to get the water out of her eyes and ears.

“You can’t learn in a day!” said Phuli.

“You’ll do better tomorrow,” said Mini, a cousin.

“Come out of the water now! It’s late and you’ll get a terrible scolding if you delay any longer,” cried grandma’s maid. “I don’t know what your grandma will say if she knows that you’ve been swimming.”

“Don’t carry tales,” shouted the cousins.

A hitch

But, before the month was out, grandma’s grandpa had an indignant visitor.

“You must put a stop to this school nonsense!” he shouted, “Or you will be sorry.”

“Why?” asked grandma’s grandpa peering over his glasses.

“We are losing caste! No decent family will marry girls going to missionaries!”

“But they are not eating or drinking in school,” said grandma’s grandpa. “You don’t lose caste by merely listening.”

“But the carpenter and barber’s daughters are there too! Sitting with them will make our girls lose caste.”

“Nonsense! I saw the lot of them on the merry-go-round at the fair last week,” said grandma’s grandpa. “If that didn’t make them lose caste, then neither will a classroom.”

The visitor left grumbling.

In the meantime, grandma not only learnt to swim but also learnt the alphabet and numbers. Here too, Phuli beat them all as she had a great memory. Grandma loved the needlework classes and could soon crochet laces. Most of all, she loved to hear stories from the Bible the teacher told them.

Grandma’s grandma and aunts wondered if the missionary-mem was trying some underhand method of converting them. But they couldn’t help being impressed when the girls produced lovely pieces of lace.

“This time next year, we’ll learn history and geography too!” said grandma’s eldest cousin.

One day, grandma’s grandma announced that grandma’s cousin would not go to school any more as her wedding was fixed. The girl burst into tears.

“Don’t cry, silly girl,” said grandma’s grandma. “You will have other things to learn now.”

Grandma felt upset, but she cheered up at the thought of a wedding in the house.

To be continued...

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 2:20:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/troubled-waters/article30850110.ece

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