Blessing in Disguise? (Short Story)

Meena is watching the Hindi movie ‘3 Idiots’ on their 21″ bulky CRT TV, sitting on a chair, next to a sofa, in the 10′ x 10′ living room of their small single BHK  apartment. She has been watching one movie per day, ever since her final year school holidays began. Her parents come out of the bedroom, sit on the sofa, and watch the movie along with her. She glances at them but quickly moves her eyes back to the TV.

“Parvati’s parents have bought a new LCD TV,” Meena says.

Her parents look at each other. After a couple of seconds, her father looks towards her mother and says, “Maybe we should have encouraged Meena to write the IIT entrance exam.”

Meena is silent and keeps watching the TV.

Her father continues, “No problem. It’s sufficient if Meena gets a first class, we can buy an engineering seat. I have already applied for a loan on my PF account. Which branch would you prefer, Meena? Computers or Electronics?”

Meena says, “Anything. They’re all the same anyway.”

Her father says, “We don’t want to force you into engineering. You can choose whatever course you want. You can even opt for English Literature and become a writer.”

Meena remains silent and keeps her gaze fixed on the TV.

“When are the board exam results expected, Meena?” her mother asks.

Meena looks at the calender hung on the wall in front of her. She leans forward and her eyes widen. She holds the arm of the chair and pushes her body up. Her legs shake and she stumbles while getting up.

Her father asks, “What happened? Where are you going?”

She looks at the door of the room. “I . . .  I have to make a phone call to Parvati. I promised to call her today morning, but forgot,” she says, walks into the room, and closes the door behind her.

She rushes to the bed, picks up the phone handset, and dials Parvati’s number hastily. Her heart beats faster and she breathes heavily while the phone rings. After five rings, she looks all over the room, places her other hand on her face and glances nervously at the dial-pad through her fingers. After eight rings, Parvati picks up the phone. 

“Hey, it’s just two days away,” Meena says.

“Yes, I know. I am so excited.” Parvati says and giggles. 

“You are excited??” Meena almost shouts. She looks towards the door and lowers her voice, “OK. See, I need to meet you. Come to the park in ten minutes.”

“But I-“, Parvati protested. 

“Shut up and come,” Meena raises her voice again and puts the handset back on the phone with a bang. She opens the room door and leaves the house avoiding the glance of her parents.

“Did you really apply for the PF loan? You could have waited until the result, no?” her mother asks her father once Meena is out of their sight.

“Na,” he says, switches off the TV, and picks up the newspaper. “I don’t think Meena wants us to spend our PF money on unnecessary things.”

Destination Infinity

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15 Replies to “Blessing in Disguise? (Short Story)”

  1. Nice story. But I feel something is missing at the end. I am not a very intelligent person. I read it 3 times. I am unable to see a logical conclusion to the story. It is just “two days away” for what? Why Meena needs to see Parvati in 10 minutes?

    1. Actually, this situation was not created by me. It was given to us as an assignment in a workshop. We were required to convey the following message – ‘Meena did not study well for her board exams and is afraid that she will fail.’

      The challenge is: We need to convey the story without any of the characters telling this directly or without the narrator telling this directly. We were supposed to create imagery/reactions, etc. and convey it indirectly.

      It’s obvious that I have failed in my attempt to do that. I need more practice.

      In the story, it’s just two days away for the results. Meena goes into the room after her mother asks about the results? She wants to see Parvati because she is afraid she will fail and wants to speak to someone to get rid of the tension/anxiety.

      In the end, I have mocked the high costs of education. Total disaster, this story – I guess! Not a problem ~ My small attempts to learn 🙂

      Destination Infinity

      1. When Parvati says “I am so excited”, if Meena replied “You are excited? I am scared”, then we would have got the message you were trying to convey. Me think.

  2. Seems dad knows what’s best for Meena. From the story I had a feeling that maybe Meena didn’t even write the exam and was afraid that her parents would find out. Understood it more clearly after reading the comment 🙂

  3. Right .. now I know after I read your reply to the first comment..

    so yeah it is a blessing in guise.. but lets wait for the result , she might just have got good grades .. but she doesnot want to do engineering maybe 🙂

  4. I liked the dad’s approach.He knew his daughter’s capabilities and allowed her to study whatever she wanted to.He knew that he need not have to take a loan for engineering admission.Parental imposition of their aims on children scares them away generally.
    .

  5. My logical conclusion is Meena is exceedingly brilliant. And her father thought she has definitely wrote her genius in exams. And she did not get bored with exams.
    The reason for my logic is fathers love their daughters.

  6. Actually I thought that Meena was not interested in studies. Even though she was asked about her results, some type of outing with her friend was on her mind. Her father realises it and that is why he says what he says at the end, that there is no need to apply for the loan. If you look at it this way the story brings out irony and has a subtle ending. It shows the callousness of the daughter, that she is barely listening to what her parents are saying. She is in her own world, a world where she wants to have fun and excitement.

  7. This is a nice take on the prompt – perhaps you wrote it down very quickly. You may want to make a fresh attempt on the prompt! Leaving the climax open-ended for interpretation as per the readers’ will and an abrupt disconnected finish are two different things. Both formats/finishes have seen successes and failures 🙂

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