A coincidence is a matter of pure chance. Except when the timing of the incident defies logic and forces a non-agnostic glance up.
In the movie I am watching with my wife, a rich grandmother resorts to unconventional means (like spraying pepper on those trying to help) to rescue her servant’s daughter. The girl is smart, and they had formed a bond from the time the little one started shaping alphabets from dough. Then circumstances trap the girl in a situation where she is exploited.
Of course, her conditions are different from that of Sush. Yet, that girl in the movie, teaching other children to speak English, did remind me of Sush, the real daughter of a real servant, who used to work at our place more than a decade ago.
Sush, then seven, did not think much of my teaching, the stories I told her and even outwitted me in the “spot-the-place-in-the-map” game we used to play together.
I was about to ask my wife, if the girl in the movie bore some resemblance to Sush, when the doorbell rang. I paused the movie while my wife went to open the door.
It was Sush!
She had come with a box of sweets and a sweeter announcement that she had passed her grade 12 exams with top marks.
We invited her to join us in the room where we had been watching the movie. The cloud of economic uncertainty continued to hover over her family, now larger with her little sister. Yet, her sunshine nature was undimmed.
She hoped to become a Master of Business Administration one day. She had picked up a small job where she was by now “comfortable”, giving her enough confidence to master business one day.
Yes, she spoke fluent English and was very comfortable working on the computer at her job. Those are important skills, I lauded her.
No, she was not very comfortable with numbers—neither math, nor accounts. Yes, she knows it may not be possible to do only what she likes; and she must do it well, whether she likes it or not. I applauded her spirit.
The 18-year-old sitting and talking to us barely looked bigger than the little girl we knew then. Yet, her confidence was several notches higher.
While we were talking, I located the blog I had written about her. She stopped talking when she saw the image of the little Sush on the monitor. Halfway through reading it, she started crying. The tears just wouldn’t stop.
When she finished reading and got her tears under check, I asked her why she had cried. “I remember everything. I was always so happy coming to this room, being here. I must have this," she pointed to the blog. "Please give me.”
I shared the link with her. And assured her she was welcome to visit us whenever she wanted.
When I wrote “At 45-minute school with Sush” I had never imagined that I would be spending another 45 minutes with her 11 years later. For a change, this time she agreed to do some homework. She would write about her memories of those years. Perhaps she would explain those tears and share some of her dreams?
She may or may not submit that homework. But when we resumed the movie, it was difficult to unsee Sush whenever that frightened, English-speaking, fragile-looking servant girl came on the screen.
The movie ended happily, showing the girl being cared for by those who loved her. She was set to live happily ever after.
We are sure so will Sush. And that would be no coincidence. Because Sush writes her own script.