A Lotus …
By Neeraj Sabharwal
Copyright (c) 2012 by BUDSLAB LLC with the Library of Congress. All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without written permission from the publisher. Visit the website for upcoming news.
The authors and publishers of this book do not dispense medical, health, financial or other advice. Should you choose to use any of the ideas in the book; the author and publisher assume no responsibility for your action.
Edited by: Ronnie Lynne
Table of Contents
1. Karim 5
2. The Hallway Girl 21
3. September 39
4. 1991 45
5. 1992 51
6. 1993 61
7. 1996 69
8. 1997 93
9. 1998 139
10. 1999 149
11. 2000 153
Standing on the balcony of his room, lost in happy thoughts about his recent grades, Karim felt rain drops begin to fall on his face.
He lifted his face and closed his eyes, allowing himself to wander down the trail of his dreams as he reveled in the feel of the rain on his face.
Just as the monsoon season brings new hope and dreams to the lives of farmers, so too did his score card bring Karim a similar sense of joy and he shivered in anticipation of what his future would soon unfold for him.
I love the monsoon season this year, he thought. I know I will receive
bliss and abundance this season!
As these thoughts crossed his mind, he was dragged back to reality by the sound of someone calling his name from downstairs.
“Karim?” his mother called out. “Karim, your lunch is ready!”
With a smile he turned from the balcony and headed back inside. He bounded down the stairs two at a time and, smiling at his mother, he slid into a chair at the table.
His mother set a plate in front of him and he hurriedly wolfed down two pieces of bread with some curry.
As he ate, Karim thought about his friend Raji. He had known Raji for most of his life. They had become friends as
children and the friendship had lasted into their teens. Karim wanted to go over to his friend’s house and show him his score card. He knew that Raji would be happy for him, and as Raji only lived in an adjacent neighborhood, even with the rain it shouldn’t be a very difficult ride on his bike.
“Mom, I’m going to Raji’s place to show him my scores,” Karim said, finishing the last of his curry. His mother smiled and nodded at him as she picked up his empty plate. He knew she was proud of him, and it gave him a warm, pleasant feeling.
Karim ran back upstairs and grabbed his score card and, after running downstairs again, he waved at his mom on his way out of the house. Grabbing his bike he started down the road, happily thinking about what Raji would say when he saw his score card.
It was a long ride to his friend’s house and as he cycled down the bumpy city roads he thought with pleasure about what he would tell Raji as he showed him his grades.
Raji will be so happy to see this, he thought. And after I show it to him we can go and grab a cup of tea. This time, I’ll buy for him.
The thought made Karim feel good and, as he smiled to himself, he felt the bike lurch to the left. The front tire slid to the side, jolting Karim out of his reverie. He hastily righted his bike, his heart beating a little bit faster.
It had been drizzling all day and
the roads were muddy and slippery. He knew he needed to pay attention or find himself sitting in a mud puddle.
Karim smiled at the thought, but forced himself to pay better attention to where he was going. By the time he reached Raji’s place ten minutes later, he was thoroughly soaked, but still in high spirits. However, after knocking on the door he realized that no one was home.
It’s ok. I can go to the tea stall alone to have a cup of tea and in the meantime Raji may come back, Karim thought.
He walked his bike up the hill to his favorite tea stall. Kaka had been the owner of this tea stall for about nineteen years, and he was a very traditional sort. He always wore a dhoti and kurta, which
shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone considering he was an older man, somewhere in his sixties, and had no desire to dress in a more modern manner.
Kaka had known and served all the boys in the area for as long as anyone could remember. Many of them had hung out at Kaka’s tea stall as part of their coming of age, and everyone in the area respected him profoundly, given his affectionate and jovial nature.
Holding the bike with one hand and using the other hand to blindly explore the contents of his pocket he finally came up with some change.
“How are you Kaka?” he asked the stall owner as he handed over the change.
“I am fine” Kaka replied as, with a smile and a quick wink at Karim, he asked, “So…a cup of tea with extra sugar?”
Karim grinned back and nodded, then asked for some cookies too. One of the things Karim most loved to do was drink tea at Kaka’s tea stall. Kaka had known him since he was a child and Karim proudly told him about his grades as he waited for his tea.
Kaka turned to help another customer and Karim let his thoughts wander again. Drifting off into a reverie, he mused about his situation as he waited for his tea.
I am seventeen now and I just finished tenth grade. It’s time for me to go on to senior class. Maybe I’ll go for mathematics as my specialization, he
thought. But I want to finish school quickly so I can start working. I want to have a decent career.
He was so caught up in his dreams of the future that he was paying no attention to anything else.
“Karim beta, (son) your tea is ready!” called Kaka, grinning broadly at his young, daydreaming friend.
Karim grinned back at Kaka unabashedly as he accepted his cup of tea. Sipping it gingerly he studied the new tea cups Kaka had recently bought for his special customers. He smiled and nodded at Kaka to let him know how much he appreciated the gesture. As he started munching on the cookies with pleasure he thought again about Raji.
After a while, it became apparent that Raji would not be showing up at the tea stall, so Karim decided to head back over to his house. He thanked Kaka and, grabbing his bike, headed out for Raji’s house once more. When he rode up into Raji’s courtyard he paused to admire the beauty of the setting.
The courtyard was a riot of color. Red roses and white orchids vied for attention among the profusion of flowers; musk rose, dragon’s breath and others mingling with each other and creating a feast for the senses. Karim breathed deeply and smiled. He loved caring for flowers and performing the regular pruning and attention they required in order to thrive. And being the kind of person who loved gardening, Karim couldn’t help admiring the view.
“Raji!” he called out, and within a few seconds Raji emerged from his house.
“Hey,” said Raji, slapping his friend on the back. “What are you doing here?”
Karim pulled out his score card and waved it in front of Raji’s face. “Just brought this over to show you…read it and weep!” he crowed.
Raji laughed as he reached for the score card. Karim held it just out of his reach and, laughing, the two boys rough housed for a few minutes until Raji managed to wrestle the card from a laughing Karim. He whistled as he reviewed the scores.
Grinning proudly, Karim proceeded to tell Raji about his plans for
school, and then the two boys discussed their scores and their plans for their future endeavors.
As the boys sat relaxing, Raji decided to tell Karim what he had been thinking about.
“You know, Karim,” he began, “I’m not really sure that I want to go to the private school again next year. There’s a really nice public school near here that I think I’m going to attend.”
“No Raji!” said Karim, who clearly didn’t like the idea.
“I just think it would be better for me, Karim,” said Raji. “I’ll miss everyone, but, you know how it is. I…I just think it will be better.”
Karim had no option but to accept
what Raji was saying, and as the boys continued to talk, he realized that he was okay with his friend’s decision.
They talked for a while longer until Karim told Raji he needed to get home. As he rode his bike back over the muddy road he thought about what Raji had told him. Although at first he had not really liked the thought that his friend would no longer be attending the same school, he realized that it wasn’t the end of the world either.
Later that night, Karim sat at the dining table with his family. As he was dipping a piece of pita into some humus, he looked up at his father with a very serious look on his face.
“Papa, I have something to tell you,” he began. His father stilled and
peered searchingly at Karim, looking as though he expected to hear some dire news.
It was all that Karim could do not to start smiling, but he kept his face totally blank until his mother said, “Karim!”
Then, laughing he told his father about his scores.
His father smiled broadly then. “Good job son!” He said.
Karim looked at his mother and smiled, feeling proud and loved, and happy that he was able to give good news to his parents.
The following day, Karim went to school to collect his admission forms and learned that school would re-open in two
months; in May.
The time seemed to fly by and before he knew it, it was already May and Karim was starting his classes.
Each day classes started at eight in the morning and Karim always arrived early to school. He liked being able to visit with friends and prepare himself for classes because he had never been the type to rush in at the last minute as some of the others did.
There was a large open area at the school, and next to it was a stage. Every morning Karim would walk on the stage and pretend that he was addressing a huge audience.
He missed Raji, but before long he made a few new friends and, overall, he
was content with his life.
Karim was very diligent and determined. From an early age he had known what he wanted to accomplish in life and had put a plan in place to achieve that.
What he could not have known was that abrupt and intolerant behavior on his part would soon unknowingly harm him on several future occasions. His actions would fill the path of his goals with obstacles that would then require strong will power to overcome if he wanted to move forward in his life and with his plans.
Nevertheless, unaware of the eventful future he was creating for himself, Karim was always laughing, smiling, making jokes and surrounded by his friends.
Life was good, and Karim was happy with it.
2 The Hallway Girl
One day as Karim sat in English class something happened that would change his life. His classroom was situated in a gloomy, rather secluded corner of the school.
All that could be seen from the front window was the long hallway that led to his classroom. Because the room was rather dim, the hallway appeared very bright and clear.
English class was in progress and as Karim glanced up he paused to admire the charming face of the girl walking down the hallway. Karim was sure he had never noticed her in school before, and he was determined that he would find out
Grab Your Copy