Tuesday 6 September 2011

A Little Help

Tikku (as I call my 8-year-old little neighbour) was very concerned about me not having a job at that moment. “When will you get admission in a new office?” she asked. Admission? Actually! “Soon…” I replied vaguely, more for self-assurance than anything else. She guessed that, I guess.

She rolled her eyes animatedly: “What kind of a job are you looking for?” This one, I knew the answer to. “Writing job,” I said confidently. But now, she looked doubtful. “Writing job?... Writing job??...”, she asked me twice so as to make sure I knew what I was talking about. Or maybe she expected me to change my response; but I just smiled, and nodded in the affirmative.

She sat down beside me and thought deeply. Finally… “My dad has contacts of a lot of writers. I will talk to him,” she told me comfortingly. Wow! She knows words like ‘contacts’?... WOW! She also knows people need contacts to get a job. Chiefly, writers! Hmm, but that doesn’t stop me from cross-questioning her: “How can your dad know writers? He’s not even from that field.” She can’t believe I am sceptical. “Arre, some of his friends’ and colleagues’ wives are writers,” she says emphatically. I definitely cannot refuse her help now. So what if she is just eight, and the youngest person to help me scout for a job!

She continues…“I know for sure that dad’s best friend’s wife needs someone… In her office, she needs a security!” Imaginary knock on my head! I see my alter ego come out of me, point at me and laugh aloud, and go back inside. I collect myself. “Security??” I yell at her. She hits her head in despair, like she’s dealing with the dumbest person on earth. “Not security, Nallu Didi… Securutary!” she shoots back. “Secretary, Tikku, Secretary!” I correct her. “Yeah, that only,” she clarifies impatiently. Not wanting to break her little heart, I tell her politely that I cannot take up that job. She looks at me flabbergasted.

I try to reason with her. “How can I be a secretary, Tikku?... I write stories!” She gives me the ‘How ignorant are you?’ look. And with the kind of conviction that only she is capable of, she states, “Nallu Didi, I’m sure secretaries do write stories sometime or the other!” (Gulp!) That deep truth she had spoken knowingly or unknowingly told me once again that I have a lot to learn.

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