The students of class V1 are eagerly awaiting the bell's ring. It was the best period of the day and term. A fortnight long holiday is to follow.
English teacher: I have an assignment for you. You should, on your own, write an essay on what you want to be when you grow up. List out areas you like and look up careers based on them. All the best and have a great holiday.
Back at Edwina's home .
Edwina: Mom, Dad. I have an essay to work on these holidays
Mom: Right dear. Your grandparents want to see you as it has been almost ten years. Papa and myself will drop you, spend 3-4 days and come back. Do you think you can manage?
Edwina: Wow, sure. I'll write my essay there. But why is Dad so grumpy?
Mom: Shh dear! He is a bit upset over an issue at office.
Later that night
Edwina: Mom, you are an HR officer, and Dad, an Associate Manager in the IT field, right?
Mom: Yes honey
Edwina: Well, the essay they asked us to write in school was what we wanted to be when we grew up. What kind of work do you do Mama?
Mom (looks drained ): I feel very tired to talk about it today dear. Maybe some other day.
Edwina (to herself ): Mom always seems to be too tired to answer my questions and Dad gets very angry if I ask more than two doubts. Hmmm..
Later on, she gets up to fetch a glass of water from the hall and overhears her parents talking.
Dad: Shirly, I almost broke my desk in rage today. Yet again, the boss sends me a mail rejecting the team's solutions and they have to rework it again. All those youngsters are grumbling and my role doesn't even give me time to do what I used to love- to code. It's getting on my nerves.
Mom: I understand Fred. It's the same with me. I put my best and yet not a single word of appreciationwhen things turn out alright. But the superiors always find something to nitpick on during the process of managing a deal with clients. I hate to get up everyday dreading what might happen at the office.
Dad: You do your best dear, but we are losing out on too many things.
Mom: Yes Fred, but there's this huge house loan, Edwina's schooling and what not??
Edwina (slips back to her room and thinks: ) Are office and work so bad? Will it be so for me too??
Sleeps and dreams of days of slogging in the office with no time to enjoy the rewards.
Next day in the train, Edwina and her mother browse through an old album.
Edwina: So these are Ammama (grandmother ) and Tatha (grandfather). Mom, is this you? You look so beautiful. And Dad , so confident and strong.
Mom: Yes honey, it was taken just after we finished college and were courting. That is your uncle Joseph, and here is your aunt and godmother, Ruth.
Edwina: Oh, that's why it's my second name. Will I see my cousins too?
Mom: No dear, Joseph just got engaged. And Ruth...
Edwina's Dad interrupts angrily.
Dad: Must be busy with that useless product of hers
Mom: Please Fred. Stop talking about my sister in that manner
Dad: You always stick up for Ruth. Even after everyone else has given up on her. (buries himself in a newspaper )
Mom ( to Edwina ): Ruth is yet to start earning. She is an entrepreneur.
Edwina: ont?? You mean she works with ants? Or aunts?
Mom ( laughing ): No,no. She and her friends are developing a product which they plan to sell soon
Edwina: All by themselves ? Wow, that sounds exciting!
Mom: You could talk to her about it. She will be happy to answer your questions
Dad: Shirly, you're asking my daughter to have Ruth as a role model?
Mom; No Fred. I am encouraging our child to ask questions and have an open mind.
Dad (mutters to himself ) : Thank God, it's only for 15 days.
At her grandparents house-
Edwina: Ammama, Tatha how are both of you?
Ammama: Hello Chellam. You've grown tall
Tatha: And pretty too, just like your Amma ( catches his wife's eye ). Oh, and Ammama too.
Joseph(Edwina's uncle): How is school dear? Hope they have not given you holiday homework.
Edwina: Great uncle! We have an assignment on...
Just then Ruth enters the room and Edwina's Mom goes to her while the others ignore a cold shoulder.
Ruth: Akka, so good to see you. I didn't know you were coming.
Tatha ( in a rude voice ): As if people who come out of the room only to eat care.
There's a tense silence and Edwina's Mom takes Ruth away.
Tatha ( mutters aloud ): I don't know when that good-for-nothing daughter of mine will ever learn. She Spent 5 years for MBBS and now talks about some product.
Ammama : Fred, why can't you and Joseph talk to Ruth and persuade her to practice or do her MD instead of wasting time. It's been 2 years and she still works on the same product
Joseph (assuming a superior air ): I can't waste my time if she is hell-bent on spoiling her life in a field that has no scope.
Fred: And Shirly always takes her sister's side when I make time to talk some sense into Ruth's head.
Edwina (thinks to herself ): So no one likes Aunty here. Isn't she lonely? She finds it difficult to sleep that night as she is away from home for the first time. Finally she sits up and notices a light in the next room.
Edwina(Thinks to herself ): Someone must have left it on.
She enters the room and finds her aunt deeply absorbed in work.
Edwina (rubbing her eyes): Wow!!! Aunty working at this hour!
She is about to step back when Ruth turns around and catches sight of her.
Ruth: Hey Ed, not feeling sleepy. Come on and sit here. I'm just running a few test trials.
Edwina joins her aunt and returns to her room at the break of dawn in a happy state of mind
Edwina ( to herself ): She was the first person who seemed to enjoy answering my questions. And actually took the trouble to demonstrate when I did not understand. How she loves her work.
Two days later
Edwina' (to herself): Well Doctor, Engineer,Singer, Actor... I don't seem to like any of these.
Just then she spots Joseph and asks him about what he does after explaining her assignment.
Joseph: The best thing I like about my job is that I can leave office by 5 pm. And the security the work provides. You see it's always good to take a government job so that you are assured of a steady income. That's what any sensible person should look at. Now look at my sister, working so hard and getting nothing in return.
Just then Edwina's parents enter and announce that they would like to spend the day outside before leaving. Ruth has already left to her friend's place and the others except Tatha decide to go. Mom approaches Tatha.
Mom: Appa, here's a gift for you ( straps a watch onto his arm)
Tatha: What is this?
Mom: It's getting late but keep this on you till we come back, I'll explain later.
Everyone has a great time outside and return late at night to find Ruth knocking the door.
Ammama: What is happening?
Ruth: Appa has to spend the night in the hospital and I'm going to stay with him.
Everyone gasps and rushes into the car. At the hospital, they are relieved to find Tatha sitting up and looking normal though a bit tired.
Ammama: What happened?
Tatha: I was making coffee when I felt giddy. I don't remember anything after that.
The Doctor ( to Ammama ): The sugar level monitoring device your husband wore detected hypoglycemia and called the ambulance and Ruth while injecting glucose to restore his sugar level. If it had not been for this he might have never gained consciousness. He was normal by the time we arrived, but Ruth insisted that he spend a night here.
Tatha ( to Shirly ): The gift you gave, saved my life, dear.
Mom: It was not my gift but Ruth's.
Everyone gasps and looks at Ruth
Ruth: This was the product we had been working on. Whether he liked it or not, Appa seems to have been the first person to experiment on.
Ammama ( hugs Ruth ): Darling, you're wonderful!
After a fortnight the scene has changed dramatically-
1. Ruth and friends are celebrating the success of their company's first product.
2. Tatha becomes an active volunteer in marketing the product.
3. Edwina has written her essay and no prizes for guessing what she wants to be when she grows up!
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