2-miraculous escapes!


Anita nervously stood up. Of course she had been dreaming…all about her birthday party the following evening. So she naturally had no idea what this sum was about, but before she could stop herself; and because her head was buzzing with birthday party ideas, she blurted out, “Ma’am, I think I’d be able to arrange 5 chairs of over 1 foot width along one side where the table stood, and about 3 chairs along the other side…so I’d be able to invite about 8 more people for a party.”

Those who knew about Anita’s birthday party, giggled. But Math Ma’am did NOT know and so was very impressed. “That’s a very creative answer, Anita!” she said, approvingly.

“I like it when my students have some originality.” And while a stunned Anita sat down, wondering how she’d escaped getting a scolding, Maths Ma’am went to the board and drew boxes of 1 ft by 1 ft within the space that the table had been drawn. Yes, arranged in an L-shape, Anita’s estimation had been right!

During History class, the teacher had given the children an essay to write. The subject was ‘The Bengal Famine’. But while the rest of the room had kids bent over their books scribbling away about the dates and the policies of the British, History Ma’am discovered Anita lost in thought, with a list in front of her. It read, “Soft drinks, samosas, pizzas, chips, peda…” and other such mouth watering food stuff. Puzzled, and a little angry, History Ma’am read it out loud. “What nonsense is this Anita? I’d asked you to write about the famine in Bengal!”  

Luckily, Anita was able to recover quickly, “Yes Ma’am; I was just thinking about how we all enjoy so much of food…while there are still people in our country who don’t get enough to eat, just like the British era famine in Bengal…” she stammered on, “How many poor people ever get to eat the food I’ve put on that list….”

History Ma’am was stunned. “How sensitive and concerned this girl is!” she marvelled and felt bad about scolding her. Meanwhile, at the back of the class, Anita’s best friend Radha, almost exploded, trying to control her laughter, knowing fully well that the list was Anita’s birthday party menu!

After the 2nd lucky escape, Anita realised she just HAD to be careful…her luck might not be as good during the geography, art or English periods. With great difficulty, she pushed the plans for her birthday out of her head and concentrated on her studies.

But both narrow escapes had made her think. Her parents had told her that the cost of the party needed to be kept within a tight budget because the whole world was going through bad times. And she couldn’t invite all her friends because there was not much space in the house.

Remembering her Maths Miracle, she realised that she could convince Mama to move the big dining table into the balcony, which would make space for more kids inside…maybe 8 more! Just like in that sum in class! But 8 more kids meant a bigger budget. She pulled out the piece of paper History Ma’am had spotted – her menu. Yes, the 12 items she’d planned on was too much… especially in these difficult times.  She scratched out the most expensive items -- her favourite milk peda, and the expensive bottled drinks.

She realised that cutting just 2 items off the menu would cover the cost of 8 more friends. But cutting down the remaining 10 items to about 6 or 7, meant that she could send birthday food for all the kids in the orphanage that Mama visited every week.  Anita giggled. Even day dreaming in class had its benefits!

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