The screeching halt of our vehicle on the road to the dam caught the attention of a ice-cream vendor standing over the embankment. As we stepped out with our teenager, the vendor, without failing to grab the prospective business moment, came forward to register his presence. A sweet sheepish smile broadened my girl’s lips. She walked past him with her dad ignoring the silent plea of ice-cream wala.
The times of yore flashed in front of me, when in her ritualistic annual affair of her report card collection day, she would accompany her dad. A natural champ of her age, she would hardly bother about the outcome of her academic commitments. But the day would always mean a great deal to her. Receiving the report card by the Principal’s hands with a few words of appreciation in front of school assembly were the most valued and cherished moments for her. It always acted as a catalyst to boost her self confidence for whole academic year. Sparkling pride of her eyes, I was able to catch as a mother even being at home.
But like most things life too tests us. One year, due to a health problem in the family, she was forced to skip an entire unit test leaving decimal scope of her ranking in the annual report card. She complied bravely to the necessaries and partook some added responsibility at home front. My little doll didn’t fail to oblige us.
On the D-day first time she did not seem to be her usual confident self. Though the crisis was receding steadily, the effect was yet to go. Starting the vehicle, her father signaled at her to come. With a bit of uncertainty she staggered towards me throwing a glance; I questioned her- what?
She hesitated for a moment and then with wide opened eyes she innocently asked- mama, if I won’t get the first rank in the class, will I not get an ice-cream today. Something inside me shook to the core. At any other time, I could have a good laugh on her silly question but now I felt responsible for her present plight. That moment I felt probably she was asked too much, much beyond her capacity, where she found herself unable to cope up with two things at a time: Her studies as well as providing a helping hand to parents’ problems. That time I was too not keeping in good health. Somehow I composed myself and in shaken voice, I mumbled- today also you will get your ice-cream.
My words worked as blessing for her that day, she alighted out of the vehicle with same spirit and sparkle in her eyes, flagging the report card in one hand and an ice-cream cup in the other.
With God’s grace, she completed her school days proudly walking out as a school topper. Still she has to plan, manage, and work on her hectic study schedule. Probably the hardship of achieving goals and a little mature outlook towards life has somewhere lightened her craving and temptation for her childhood favorite ice-cream or whether she really has grown out this silly temptation, I still have to find out.