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What KT did

What KT did

Suryakumari Dennison writes about two girls and how a book came between them

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Last Updated : 12 April 2024, 22:40 IST
Last Updated : 12 April 2024, 22:40 IST
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Kavita Thomas, known as KT only to a chosen few, was taken aback when a new student, who was two years her junior, addressed her by her nickname. 

“Hello, KT,” said Aditi timidly, “I hope you don’t mind my calling you that. Your cousin Divya, my classmate, assured me that you wouldn’t be annoyed.”

“I won’t waste your time,” the youngster went on hurriedly. “I just want to tell you how much I admire you, and how perfectly your name suits you. When you come striding into school, with your hair flying and books tumbling out of your bag, you remind me so much of my favourite fictional heroine.” 

“And who might that be?” demanded KT.

“Katy, of course,” said Aditi eagerly. “Katy Carr of ‘What Katy Did’. You know how she’s always dashing around; not ladylike, but impulsive and warmhearted, kind and generous. Then she has that dreadful accident while swinging, and is confined to bed. She frets awhile, but resigns herself to inactivity. She learns patience and later…”

“Stop!” said KT firmly, since Aditi seemed likely to go on forever. “Would it surprise you greatly to know that I haven’t a clue what you’re talking about?” 

“Surely you’ve read Susan Coolidge’s Katy stories!” said Aditi, shocked into impoliteness. “You must at least be familiar with the first one.”

“I don’t know any of them,” admitted KT, who only read — as she put it — “in the line of duty”, which meant that she dared not ignore her textbooks.

The conversation ended soon after, and KT forgot about it. Aditi, though, could not dismiss the idea that KT was missing out on a literary masterpiece. Somehow, she had to get KT acquainted with her near-namesake. Aditi knew from her brief encounter with KT that it would be no use suggesting to her that she search for ‘What Katy Did’ in the library. Neither could Aditi borrow it and lend it to her, as there was a rule against taking out books for others. Aditi had a well-worn copy of Coolidge’s classic at home but, much as she wanted KT to meet Katy, she could not bear to part with that treasure. Finally, Aditi decided to buy ‘What Katy Did’ for the person she regarded as her role model.

“This is for you,” said Aditi, catching KT alone during lunch break, and shyly holding out a small package. KT stood speechless for a moment, realising that it could only be what she and Aditi had discussed a few days earlier.

“Aditi’s a sweet kid,” KT told her friends, showing them the novel, “but I’m definitely not going to read this. In fact, I know exactly how to get rid of it.”

A week later, Aditi was among the guests at Divya’s birthday party. KT was there too, for after all she and Divya were related. After sumptuous snacks and lively games, Divya began to unwrap her presents, thanking those around her as she did so. “See what KT gave me!” she exclaimed, displaying ‘What Katy Did’ in a colourful jacket that depicted Katy and her siblings.

Aditi was delighted. “It looks identical to what I gave KT,” she said. “Perhaps she liked it so much that she got it for you; it’s even the very same edition.”

Divya, who knew her cousin, was quite certain that KT had done no such thing. Catching an appealing glance from KT, she tried to change the subject by drawing Divya’s attention to her other gifts. It was too late, however. As Aditi lovingly turned the pages of ‘What Katy Did’, a bookmark slipped out and fell to the floor. When she bent to retrieve it, she recognised it at once, for it bore the following words in her handwriting: “Dear KT, I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.” Evidently, KT had not even opened the book Aditi had given her before passing it on to Divya.

“I’m terribly sorry,” said KT to Aditi. “I had no right to treat something you gave me with such affection so lightly. I promise to take the book back from Divya, and read it from cover to cover. Please forgive me.” 

Aditi smiled through her tears. “Of course, KT,” she said. “You sound just like Katy Carr!”

The older girl hugged her. “Thanks, Aditi, for pardoning what KT did.”

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