The Broken doll – Part 1
The endless ringing of the bell woke up Anjali from her deep slumber. It was 6 in the morning, and the hostel bell was ringing as usual. Time to get up, say your morning prayers, and head down for breakfast. This was the usual business at the Shakti Girls Orphanage. Get up early in the morning, have your breakfast, pack your bags, and go to school. And in the evening back from school, do your homework, play games for some time, see what’s on TV and go back to sleep. Everything is scheduled, and nothing goes against the plan.
Such were Anjali’s monotonous days at the orphanage. But not today; today was a special day. It was her birthday. There would be a birthday party in the evening. All the kids of the hostel will gather in the hall. A big cake would be arranged. Everyone would sing the birthday song. The candles were blown, and the cake was cut, and that’s it, the day was done. This was the same for all the kids. But not today; today was something more special than her birthday. After two years, her Mom was going to come to visit her from Mumbai. Her mother was a single parent and had gone to Mumbai to work and earn money. Meanwhile, since there was nobody to take care of Anjali, she was sent to the orphanage.
The Shakti Orphanage was associated with a local religious trust which took care of women empowerment. They had many such Orphanages where they took care and provided education and required basic skills to the girls who were orphans or who were raised by single parents.
The orphanage was situated in the city right in the middle of its IT Business Park. It received a lot of support and patronage from the rich families in the surrounding areas and also from these IT companies which helped in the name of CSR. Local catering businesses used to supply regular food and other eatables to the orphanage from their leftovers. Apart from this, some rich families from the surrounding areas used to visit the orphanage on special occasions and gave gifts, food and have some fun activities for the children. Many times the wealthy parents used to bring their kids on their birthdays to show their kids that sharing is caring and that everybody was not as fortunate as they were.
Anjali had brushed her teeth and was downstairs for her breakfast. It was the usual mushy overcooked rice and sambar with chutney along with some over-sweetened tea. It seemed nobody remembered her birthday. The business went on as usual. The orderlies made all the kids stand in a line and started serving them the mushy thing. She was not forgotten. After all, the warden always remembered everyone’s birthdays. She had a list back in her office. She was a kind lady, and she always had a small special treat for all the birthday kids. And likewise, she had something for Anjali too. After breakfast, Anjali was called to the warden’s office.
“Happy Birthday Anjali” she wished her as she saw her enter the office.
“Thank you, Amma” she replied in a shy voice. Her gaze was fixed on the ground.
“Here… this is something for you. Go enjoy and have a nice day”.
Thanking the warden, Anjali went back to her room with the small package in her hands. She tore off the wrapping in a hurry and found a brown box inside. But before she could open the box, her friend Neeta entered the room.
“What’s that,” she asked with excitement.
“It’s my birthday present,” she replied.
“Show me let me open it let me see” she pulled the small box from her hands and quickly opened it in a hurry dropping all the colourful crayons on the floor.
Anjali snatched the box from her hands, gathered all the crayons and put them back in the box and looked at her with furious eyes.
“This is mine” she shouted back at her. Then she stuffed the box in her school bag and ran down towards the doorway.
After a few minutes, she was ready to go to school, waiting at the entryway for the others to come. Neeta was also beside her. They had already forgotten what had happened a few minutes back. This was the life at the orphanage. Nobody kept any grudges and life went on as usual.
But still, it was not a usual day for Anjali. She knew that her mother would be with her in the evening when she was back from school. She would attend all her classes, play with her friends and would be in a hurry to get back home to meet her Mom.
The day went on happily for Anjali. She played with her friends, learned new things, drew a picture with her new set of crayons and had the usual rice and sambar for lunch. Soon it was 4 pm, and the school bell rang. She was the first one to get out. It was a 15 minutes’ walk from the school back to the orphanage, and she covered the same distance in 5 minutes. She pushed the iron gates and ran across the playground towards the entryway of the orphanage anxiously searching for her mother. But she was nowhere to be found.
She ran to the parlour and met the Aaya, asking her if her mother had come. “No” came the blunt reply. The Aaya continued sorting the books on the table without paying any attention to her.
Anjali wanted to find out what had happened to her mother. Where was she? She had promised that she would meet her after school, but she was nowhere to be found. She searched everywhere and asked everyone, but she could not find her mother. Finally, she went to the warden’s office.
“Amma, where is my Mamma? She was supposed to come today. She was supposed to bring me my birthday present” she was almost in tears.
“I don’t know Anjali. She hasn’t come yet. Maybe she is running late. Don’t worry, it’s just 4 pm, there’s still time. I think she might be busy with something.
I will let you know as soon as she comes ok” the warden said with a reassuring smile.
“Ok Amma I am going to play now if she comes, please call me”.
“Sure, I will call you as soon as she is here” the warden promised.
***To be Continued***
About the Author
Sydney Billford Monteiro
Sydney Billford Monteiro was born and brought up in Mangalore, Karnataka. An HR by profession, he has a Masters in Social Work and is working for the Hospitality Industry in Bangalore. He is an avid reader of Crime Thrillers, Mystery novels, and Science books. Creative writing and poetry is his passion.
He loves exploring the world of stories. His favourite pastime is experimenting with real-life events, creating characters, and turning them into engaging storylines.
Apart from reading and writing the author loves football; his favourite game and watching movies that depict unusual concepts and real-life events.
He also loves to have a healthy debate over a scientific idea.