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RINA ,the 12 year old girl.

==================================================uddalak banerjee(Deep)
yáḥ samídhā yá âhutī / yó védena dadâśa márto agnáye / yó námasā svadhvaráḥ

A dark yet cute girl steeped in to MR ghosh's house and seeing an old lady standing near the
doorway she said,"Namaskar! my father came to ghosh uncle yesterday for a job what happened
of it? can u arrange for me a job?"
.Mr ghosh was a well known man in the sector 1 of falta.He had a one storeyed house amidst all
the mud houses that thronged the area.The primary occupation of this land was fishing in sector
3 lakes.WEll the lakes actually belonged to government but they illegal fishing here was nothing
new.THe woman smiled and said,"no i cant but i have not heard him say anything about it..just
wait i will go and find out"

Inside the house there was a priest who was explaining to his pupils ,"The Vedas (ved means in
sanskrit knowledge) are a large body of texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic
Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of
Hinduism.You need to perform sacrifices to appease the GOD'S without which divinity cannot
be attained. There are three types of veda one, The Rigveda, containing hymns to be recited by
the hotr ,two, The Yajurveda, containing formulas to be recited by the adhvaryu or officiating
priest;
three, The Samaveda, containing formulas to be sung by the udgātṛ.
"

On seeing the old woman enter the hallway the priest suspended the lesson and took permission
from the pupils and moved towards the hallaway.The priest said "what happened?".
The woman replied,"did u tell rina that u would give her a job?she is waiting outside to know of
it."
The priest noded and said,"yes..where is she?"
The woman replied,"she is waiting outside"

MR GHOSH came out and addressed her saying,"child are u ready to work as a domestic help in
one of my relatives friends house?they wish a domestic help who would be trustworthy and
dilligent..and i refered ur name."

Rina smiled and said,"but will i have to stay there?"

Mr ghosh,"yes you will have to stay there but dont worry they are good people and would take
good care of you"

Rina grew silent and muttered,"but!!!"

Mr ghosh in a tone of assurance said,"there is a little boy there who is 6 year old and his name is
deep ..u will be like a sister to him so dont worry and go.."

Rina did not parley any more words ,she stooped and bowed infront of MR ghosh and touched
his feet and rose to go.

MR ghosh gave her his blessings and said,"jashwashri bhabha".

Next day in the morning her mother was very penitent that rina is having to go to a place of
which she knows nothing of.She was apprehensive of her safety and was hence crying a lot.Rina
had 8 brothers and 2 sisters and she was elder than 7 brothers and 1 sister.Her eldest sister is
married and her elder sister is still around awaiting her chance of marriage.She was illeterate.She
did not even know how to sign.SHe was tall and used to love playing games a lot.She was a very
prolific runner.She used to watch bengali films a lot especially the ones of victor banerjee,the
reknowned actor.They did not have a square meal but they all loved each other very much.Rina
wanted to learn weaving to weave a sweater for sarad her youngest brother.He was so cute she
always wanted to hug her.Their poverty was so deep that even after raju and her father Raghu
would go to catch fish four times a week they still could not arrange a square meal.Raghu had
been to school but raju had never even sighted one.All the brothers and sisters circled around
rina to bid her a final farewell.They loved their sister deeply even though they all fought with
each other over small small things like brush ,shoe and toothpaste.Rina too became very
nostralgic and was crying as she finally set out for the job at hand.

Anyways accompanied by Mr ghosh's son Atul finally rina came via 12C bus to thakurpurkur
from where atul located the specified address after asking a few rickshaw pullers.THey finally
arrived at the specified place.At the door there was a little boy who was constantly chewing the
curtain at the door.On seeing them advance towards their house he immediately ran back to the
inner house to alert his parents.

Soon the guardian of the house MR banerjee came out and greeted them.Atul introduced
reena.Mrs banerjee ushered her in and gave atul some sweets to eat with a cup of tea.Atul said
thanks in his traditional voice and took MR banerjee's phone and mobile number just in case of
contact.And then atul bid good bye.

And now after atul was gone ,reena started to feel lonely.UPtill the time atul was there she felt
that she had hope,she had someone she knew with him in a completely strange place.She had not
seen such a big multistoried house in her life.She had seen them in films though.She was
apprehensive of one and all because in the films that she had seen the owner of these house often
turn out to be evil and maverick in nature and often impose themselves on the helpless girls like
her.But then Mr banerjee broke the ice by saying,"you are like my daughter rina..it is your house
..do whatever u do..play with ur brother..i always wanted a girl child ..now i have got one.."

The tone of the voice was authentic and relieving for Rina.All these while deep was watching the
whole drama unfold from a distance,near the staircase.He timidly came forward and touched her
mothers hand and then embraced her tightly and looked at the alien face .

Initially,the going was tough.Deep who was a very silent and softspoken kind found it hard to
compete with the new entrant to the family for the focus of his own parents.IT was hard to see
that both his mother and father were focussing more of attention to rina than he .Both his parents
were happy for they had found a daughter finally.But then deep was small and did not know
what to do.He was the only child of his parents and he had always commanded the undivided
attention of his parents.This led to clashes and he started to wish that rina was not anymore in the
house.

Rina however was always very very fond of her new brother.She always used to say to deep
whenever he used to feel angry and go to the roof to sit alone,"unless and until u have your food i
wont have mine".Slowly over the weeks deep and rina started to be friends.This fact was perhaps
brokered by the neighbour mau chatterji and her house maid shefali.Shefali and rina became best
of friends and used to talk to mau and deep about the stories of their home.The both were
residents of falta.They used to talk of how they used to run in the highway and compete with
each other over speed crossing the sector 6 near the mills where the mill owners used to drive
them off.They used to talk of those adventures that they had when they use to steal fruits from
banku rajes house.They had a big garden which had many mango,guava and pineapple trees
.Mau and deep would go down laughing vociferously hearing these stories and used to feel very
very close to rina .Rina was indeed a very fast racer.Deep , mau and shafali and some other kids
from the vicinity used to conduct races after hearing these stories so as to see who among them
were the best.Rina used to win most of them .SHe had only one competitor and it was
shafali.They were just too fast .None of the others could not finish a three quater of the race
when they used to finish them.Deep used to feel very enamoured of his sister.Mau too used to
often say " i think rina di and shafali di should race only...it would be real fun". Rina used to only
smile and say,"okay someday we will..".Rina slowly but gradually started to be a real family
member for deep.Deep used to feel bad that rina never went to school inspite of her great interest
for studies.SHe had a book which was torn one which she always kept with her.It was a book
which had pictures of eagles,tigers,snakes and elephants .IT was an adventure book by
R.L.stevenson.Rina did not know to read or write but she had a great panache to read it.SHe once
asked deep,"bhai i want to learn reading and writing would u teach me?"
It was the first time that deep got an ardent student.He was enthralled and he asked his
mom,"Mom rina wants to learn reading and writing would i teach her?".MRs banerjee said,"why
not ..if she does well we will admit her to school too..".

Well time passed away very fast and slowly deep found living without rina impossible.Everyday
when he used to come home he used to play with rina and others from the neighbourhood games
like lock and key and hide and seek.WEll in both games rina with superior racing speed along
with with shefali used to do really well.OFten rina would say,"i and shifali in one side and u 7 in
other..ok?".We used to feel happy for the number of people in our group were more but at the
bottom of our heart we knew it would be impossible for any of us to run down both of them to
give a lock.IN the evenings when light was low and with darkness descending we used to play
hide and seek .I used to hide in mau 's house and she used to house in my house..just for a
change.Rina and shafali had no such preferences .They used to hide just about anywhere.It made
traking them harder.

At night if there was a powercut then both deep and rina used to go to the roof.She used to talk of
ghost stories and also movie stories of victor banerjee in lead.When she used to catch the
enthusiasm,there was no stopping her.She used just make hand motions of how victor banerjee
used to jump from the roof top to the ground and run after the villains.Deep used to be
spellbound by rina's words and say,"he does a lot of action ..can prosenjit beat him in action?
amitabh bachan?".Rina used to smile and say,"no!".When the light used to go deem she used to
deep different caricatures in the sky which MR ghosh had shown her when she was small and
used to go his house along with her mother to hear gita slokas.She used to point at the nebula and
tell,"U see the line?..that line is the mark left by shri krishna's wheel..".Then she used to
continue,"U see that mountain shape in the southern sky ..that where the kite is flying..there just
over its head a star and then the two stars to the right..doesnot it make a shape like a
mountain?".Deep used to struggle to join them all together and used to say,"where? yes o yes but
those are round".Rina would smile and lovingly push deeps back and say,"Stupid !not round..see
this and this and this see in a line ..see the left now..see ?".Deep after a long observation would
say,"ok ok ok .got it..yes..right".Rina would continue in a mysterious voice,saying,
"This is the mountain that yudishthir had to climb to reach heaven..".

At times Rina's words used to go round and round in deeps head and he used to think a lot of
them.At school he used to ask his fellow students whether they had seen the mountain in the sky
or not.Mostly they used to say "NO!".ANd there were some who used to jump up
saying,"mountain in the sky???????????????????????ha ha ha..souvik listen listen ..(standing
up)every body listen ..deep is saying that there are mountains in the sky and he has seen them..ha
ha ..".And then everybody will laugh.Deep used to feel very bad when people used to make fun
of him.He used to feel bad and feel like crying.He would often justify himself in such cases by
saying,"if u dont believe ask rina di..it is true and she will show u..believe me.".BUt that would
only incite them to bully him even more ,laughing louder and shriller,whose cruel pinch would
rapture his tender heart.In those days when he used to return home initially deep used to be
dejected and run to reena to verify again and again about the mountain in the sky.She would say
,"Yes there is ..so what?".And then deep would sit down and be silent again.

Rina used to even bathe him,she used to put oil in his hair and used to be the best friend for
him.Infact a time came when even his parents were not so dear to him as rina was.But then soon
the reports of his decreasing school performance made a villainous entry.Deep and rina were so
into one another that deep often used to avoid school homework and used talk all night with rina
and play and learn of life at falta most addictively.FOr the first time Mr and MRs banerjee began
to question the righteousness of their decision to bring in rina since it was upseting their son's
studies and they did not know how to stop it.At times now MRs banerjee would tighten up deep
and say,"go to studies ..exams are coming..your class tests did not go well..just sitting and
chatting wont do..go and do the homework too".WEll unwilingly deep used to look yearningly
once at rina's eyes and then at his mothers eyes only to succumb to the verdict.WEll the quality
of the homework however was not improving because he was always willing to complete the
whole thing fast and wishing to go and join the party of friends and rina.IN the mean time within
three months ,rina's father fell ill.He wanted to see his daughter married.He did not directly say
anything as such but in his phone call he said ,"Mr banerjee can i please see Rina once..for i have
fallen ill and i want to see my daughter.".Rina was happily living with them but the news of her
fathers illness made her more practical and sad.MR banerjee and deep went with her to her house
in falta.ONce they got down from the bus ,rina started to show the way.She also introduced deep
to her friends and who ever met on the way.Deep was happy too.FInaly he got to match rina's
words to reality.He got to see sector 3,6 and 9 where rina used to race.

On request from her parents finaly deep's father agreed to have her stay on for a few days.Reena
however pulled a straight face to this.She perhaps knew she wont come back again.SHE came to
deep and gave a kajal clip to him.She used to dress him up with some kajal and used to always
say that kajal suited his eyes.But then deep hated kajal not because he did not like it but because
his class mates used to make fun of him for that.Deep stood and took the gift with a smile but
there was no smile on rinas face.SHe hugged him and said,"remember me".

Deep went back with his father but when after weeks there was no news.HIs father called up MR
ghosh.He said,"sorry mr banerjee you would have to do with some other maid servant rina has
been married off and we wanted to call u in the marriage but she said not to ..for she wanted to
be with your family ..sorry really..".DEEp on hearing the news was spell bound too.HE had
brought books of a b c d..made an elaborate question answer scheme to take test of reena and not
only that he also did all the homework dilligent only so that rina could be well taught by him and
he did not make any mistake.Tears rolled down over deep's eyes .His mother consoled him but
she too started to cry soon.When his father said that there are other domestic helps available if
they desired so..then they can have someone else..and even rina's sister.Deep sternly refused and
repugnantly and decisively said with tears in his eyes,"no not again".And his parents did not
stress on him either for they too were hurt and rina was like a daughter to them and she was just
twelve which was definately not the age to get married according to them.HIs father used to say
often to deep,"she wanted to come back..may be i should not have taken her there..".Deep never
said anything on this but whenever he felt sorry he used to go to the roof top and look at the star
which rina pointed and he always searched for her face.

THE END