Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Glass Doll

Rani always got up early. She felt she could get an early start to her day that way. She had just turned 12 and she worked in the neighborhood nearby. There was a factory which made glass dolls. Rani’s aunt had joined her there when she moved in with her aunt after she lost her parents to a tragic car accident. Her aunt provided her shelter and that was it. Sometimes she got some leftovers to eat , many nights she went to bed on an empty stomach. This was the reality in her aunt’s house and Rani had accepted it as is.
Rani worked 12 hours at the doll factory for minimum wages. She saved most of the money and used a little to buy clothes or on the rare occasion to buy food.
Rani had risen to be a supervisor of all the young children. There were children working there ranging from 8 to 18 years of age. By her hard work she enjoyed the trust of her boss, Kamla Madam, who had made her the supervisor. Kamla madam was short in stature and very round in shape. She had deep set eyes which looked at you with no humor or feeling in them. Her whole body shaked when she walked and she was a terror to all the children. It was known that she resorted to violent means to get her way but Rani had seen no proof of that. Rani admired Kamla madam for her strict manner and her no nonsense attitude in getting the job done.
Without her realizing it, Rani was imitating Kamla madam and had started to torment the young kids into becoming more productive. Being more productive meant more profits which in turn would make Kamla madam happy and Rani felt that was most important to her. She felt that one day Kamla madam would take care of her and she would never have to work in these filthy conditions anymore.
One evening when Rani was walking back home from work she was crossing the bazaar area and she let mind wander to all the toys she would love to possess. Her eyes happened to see a girl around the same age as she but looking much better than Rani did. That girl was also very well dressed and Rani coming closer realized the girl was throwing a tantrum to buy one of the glass dolls that the company Rani worked for made.
The driver was telling that he needed to consult the girls mother before making the purchase but the girl would not listen to reason. Soon she got mad and flung the doll onto the ground and went into the car. The driver seemed to be used to this girl’s behaviour and he was going to pay the damage amount to the owner. As he was doing so, Rani saw that her Kamla madam was nearing the car and she deduced correctly that the violent girl must be madam’s daughter. Rani observed Kamla madam listen to the driver’s narration of what happened and she decided to go and greet her madam and also get to meet her daughter. As soon as Kamla madam saw Rani, she got into the car and ordered the driver to start the car and move away. She also loudly commented that she did not want to be near the smelly poor people. Meanwhile the owner was begging for money to cover the cost of the broken doll but Kamla madam , her daughter and the driver just got into the car and drove away. As the car moved past her , Rani saw madam hugging her daughter and smiling as if to reward a bad behaviour.
Rani was shocked. The Kamla madam she knew would be livid with fury if anyone broke one of the pieces at work.
It dawned on Rani that all her madam cared about was money and she never really cared for another human at the work floor. Rani was just a means to an end for her madam. The more dolls the kids made the more money for her madam and she had manipulated Rani into thinking she was special.
The next morning saw a different Rani. She now knew she would have to rely on her own self. She eased up on the kids and slowly figured out some helpful people in the management to curb the long hours put in by the children and also found a way to increase the meager amount got by the children.
Years flew by. Rani had managed to work evening hours towards a school degree and now she was a graduate too. She dedicated her life towards helping young children and the poor and downtrodden.
Maybe not all of us can become like Rani and dedicate our lives to a noble and worthy cause. Surely we can find a way in the midst of our lives to find time for the those in need?

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