Another new year round the corner, and as usual I asked my self what I resolved to do or not to do in 2011.
I still haven’t found the answer, cos presiding over my deliberations on this issue was my own face, looking on with a mocking smile as though to say why this farce? Have you ever kept your resolutions?
That sets me thinking. Have I ever given any thought to my New Year resolutions beyond the moment I make it? The train of thoughts takes me to the first New year resolution I ever made.
The earliest resolution I remember was made in the second standard after Sister S, the class teacher described to the class what New Year Resolutions were. I don’t now remember what she told us, but I do remember us children sharing the resolutions we made with each other.
During the noon interval, Chitra announced , ‘ Each time my mother gives me money to buy a toffee from Babychettan’s shop, I’ll buy it and give it to Sr S for charity’ (she stumbled over the word 'charity' for that’s the first time we'd heard that term). She then looked at me and said, “Eddo Molly, can you give me one toffee every day, because I wont have any when I give mine away?’
‘No’, I replied emphatically. ‘ I buy two toffees every day. I’ ll give one to charity daily. You give one from what you buy’
‘I buy only one everyday. If i give that to charity, i wont have one for myself; and if you give to Sister S for charity, you’ll become Sister’s pet’.
‘If you give, you’ll become her pet. Why should I spend money to make you Sister’s pet?’ I countered. (My father was a businessman and I guess that streak of business acumen about getting money’s worth, was in my blood).
‘You are mean’, Chitra screamed.
‘What about you?(appol thaano?). ‘You are cunning. You want to make me spend money and then take the credit for yourself’. My voice had risen and a crowd was beginning to gather around us, like it happens in lower primary when two kids fight.
‘You always buy two toffees. I buy only one. Why cant you give me one?’ Chitra was beginning to scream.
‘Yes. Why can’t you give her one if you buy two toffees everyday?’ butted in a third standard student who had just joined the crowd.
Angry that a senior had supported Chitra, I whirled around and screamed, gesticulating wildly. “She buys one toffee every day. Why should I give her too?’
‘She wants to give it to charity’, said Rema, one of my classmates who’d been a witness to our exchange right from the beginning.
‘Let her either eat her sweet or give it to charity. I’ll eat one and then give one to Charity’. I was livid with anger because of the support Chitra was getting.
‘But she thought of it first’, said the wise but partisan Rema, ‘and now you are stealing her idea’.
I lost it. ‘If it was her idea, let her give her sweet. I’ll also give my sweet to charity. That’s my New Year resolution too’, I all but yelled.
The crowd had been steadily growing. The little onlookers were asking each other what the bone of contention was. Groups were talking animatedly to each other. Sides were being taken. The crowd split itself – physically- into two parts. My supporters stood behind me, literally, and Chtra’s, behind her. I was happy to note that the size of the two sections was even. It soon became my friends against Chtra’s.
Rema, the leader of the Chitra camp shouted, ‘you are mean and cheap. You want to become Sister S’s pet. So you are stealing Chitra’s idea’.
Vidya, who took upon herself the leadership of my camp retorted sneeringly.’Chitra is cheaper. She wants to eat at Molly’s expense and still get popular with sister S. Is that a decent thing to do?’
A huge volley of protest rose from the Chitra camp. It soon became a shouting match between Rema and me, Chitra, and Vidya, Rejiv and Shirley, Lija and Betsy, Lulu and Shobana - - -. Little girls and boys jerking their heads, flaying their arms, yelling and screaming.
Then the bell rang to indicate that the noon interval was over.
I wanted to have the last word and so I shouted at the top of my voice, ‘ I have decided to give one sweet to charity everyday’.
Silence followed. Then someone asked. “Who’s charity?”
Chitra and I looked at each other, but said nothing. We had no idea if it was a person, place or thing.
Then Rejiv, the Mr. Know-all in our class who could lie without batting an eyelid, came to our rescue. Pointing to the orphanage run by the nuns, he said ‘She’s a cute little girl who lives in that orphanage'.