Grow Up Messy

Chapters 12, 13, & 14
by: Paromita Goswami

Chapter 12: Oogly Boogly
The Head Quarter was situated on the outskirts of the town and spread over a few acres of land. It had all the facilities of a modern town that one could ask for like a hospital, school, canteen, recreation center, Movie Theater and a clubhouse for the officers.  

Madhavi was relieved to have her life back. After so many months of craving for even basic necessities like electricity in the B.O.P, the HQ seemed like heaven. She fell in love with her new surroundings and her new quarter, which was a two bedroom flat on the ground floor in the Officer’s Colony. She got busy settling down in her new home.  

Pallavi and Raju went back to their home in Calcutta, shortly after their arrival in the Head Quarter while Anurag got busy with the B.S.F Raising Day preparations scheduled on the 1st of December.  

Early in the morning on Raising Day the entire battalion, including the families, assembled in the parade ground to witness the function. The main highlight of the function was the grand parade by the troops in their ceremonial dress. Clad in Khaki uniform with the unique headgear of black Pugri with red and golden Turraha the Jawans looked stunning. Their white hand gloves moved in sync with their black DMS boots as they marched past the podium offering their salute to the guest of honor. The function ended with the motivational speech by the guest of honor. As the day gave way to evening the entire battalion assembled for Bara Khana where all the Jawans along with the officers dined together and had a merry time.  

Misry had attended the Raising Day function and was completely mesmerized by its grandeur. It was her first time and the B.S.F anthem, “Hum hai seema suraksha bal” band still rang in her ears even after a week. How she wished she could listen to the band once more!  

Meanwhile, she was learning to adjust to her new environment. The campus was vast and she soon discovered many things which she had never seen before like the sepoy training area, which was very near the playground and the huge officer’s mess where parties were hosted every now and then.  

She loved going to those parties with her parents. There she could drink glass upon glass of her favorite soft drink and play lots of games with the children till dinner was served. Saturday evenings were extra special though, she would accompany her parents to the campus movie theatre where she, along with her parents and other officer’s families, would watch a Bollywood flick. Her favourite actor was Amitabh Bachchan and she loved watching him on the big screen.  

Unlike at the B.O.P, here she was never short of children to play with. She had befriended many in the officer’s colony and so was always busy playing with them. However, most of them were boys and older than her.  

Among all her new friends, she had a special liking for two Sikh brothers, Honey and Boney. Honey was older and studied in second standard while Boney was younger and studied in kindergarten. They also had a younger baby sister who was about three years old.  

They lived on the top floor of the last building in the officer’s colony. Misry loved to spend time in their house because of the children. Even the lady of the house, Mrs. Singh, was a darling and never stopped the kids from making noise and creating a mess. Instead she would give them tasty snacks to eat while the children filled up the house on fire with their laughter and screams.  

“I wish I was born in this family,” Misry thought. She loved being around the children in Mr. Singh’s house.  

It was not that she didn’t love her parents but since Pallavi and Raju’s departure, the home seemed too vacant with just the three of them. She would always be on the lookout for an opportunity to run off to Mr. Singh’s house to play with the children.  


The rain poured in. It was not the rainy season but a passing cyclone. For the past few days it had been raining heavily.  

“Ma, I am so bored. When will the rain stop? I want to go out and play,” cried Misry.  

“In a day or two, sweetie. Till then you can play with your doll,” replied Madhavi.  

“Can I go to play with Honey? I shall run very fast to his house and not get wet at all!” Misry begged.  

“No way! You can only go out when it stops raining,” stated Madhavi.  

Ma’s “No” meant “No!” So Misry didn’t utter another word and played with her doll instead. Her dumb doll reminded her of the Talking Doll the Jawan had mentioned in the B.O.P while distributing sweets. How she wished she too had one of those instead of the one she was playing with! It would have been so much fun to have someone to talk to besides Ma and Daddy. Misry made up her mind to get one for herself. But before that she wanted to be sure where to get it from. So far whoever she had asked had not heard about it. She was sure Honey would know it. Once she knew the place she could ask Daddy to get it for her. Playing alone in the house was so boring. She looked out of the window to see if the rain had stopped.  


A little later.  

“Misry come for lunch,” Madhavi called from the dining hall.  

Misry came at once. Ma had served her plate with her favorite Machh Bhat and Alu Bhaja. She was all praise for her Ma for cooking her favorite dish. She quickly finished her lunch and asked,”Ma will you make it for dinner too?”  

“I will, sweetheart,” Madhavi promised.  

Once lunch was over, both of them went for an afternoon nap. Misry closed her eyes pretending to sleep as Madhavi crooned a lullaby, patting her gently.  

Five minutes. No sleep.  

Ten minutes. No sleep.  

Twenty minutes. The crooning stopped and eventually the gentle patting stopped too. Misry was sure Ma was fast asleep now. She peeped through her left eye.  

Madhavi was asleep beside her. Misry opened both her eyes.  

“Aha! Free at last.” She looked out of the window again. The rain had stopped by now.  

Without wasting a minute Misry tiptoed out of the bed and into the drawing room. She picked up a stool, put it against the main door, climbed upon it and opened the door latch of the entrance. She climbed down, picked up the stool, kept it back in its place, took off her sandals and carried them in her hand, opened the main door and closed it behind her without making any sound. Then she latched it from outside. She walked a few meters away from the house bare-footed then put on her sandals before breaking into a run to Mrs. Singh’s house.  

“Honey! Honey! Open the door!” she banged.  

Their orderly opened the door and informed her that the family had gone out to the city.  

Misry turned back disheartened.  

“Now what? Whom to play with?” She thought.  

She was out of house after so many days. She didn’t want to go home so soon! Moreover, sleeping in the daytime was something she detested completely. Her fears that she would end up staying awake at night all alone gave her goose bumps. She couldn’t risk that happening.  

Slowly she walked down the stairs of Honey’s apartment thinking hard. Suddenly, an idea struck her.  

She ran out of the building and took the path to the sepoy training ground. There were several adventure obstacles like the spider net, Tarzan jump, jumping over the wall, beam balancing and many others she didn’t even know the names of.  

It was their gang’s favorite hangout after the playground. The ground was not very far from where they played. The children loved hopping from one obstacle to another. Even though they didn’t have much success, the children still loved to dare.  

With no friends to play with, Misry reached the Training ground alone. She was on the spider net when she saw a small pool of rain water beside the Jumping Wall. Once more she was tempted to enter the water. She remembered how angry Ma had been last time. But then Ma was awake at that time while now she was deep in her afternoon nap.  

“She would never know about it,” Misry said to herself.  

She looked up and down the road to ensure that no one was watching her. Once certain, she took off her sandal and waded into the pool.  

“Chapak! Chapak!” she jumped as the water turned muddy.  

After that, there was no stopping for her. How could she not practice her swimming skills when the opportunity knocked? It was so much fun. She continued playing in the water and lost all track of time. She also forgot that she was supposed to be sleeping beside her Ma and the consequences when Ma does not find her at home.  

A Jawan was passing by and saw her. He recognized her instantly as she was quite popular in the campus. He knew that she was again up to something. He immediately commanded her to go home right away. His tone was strict enough to convey that he meant her to obey.  

Misry came out of the water all drenched and walked towards her home. The Jawan kept looking at her till she disappeared out of his sight.  

“But I can’t go home with wet clothes. Ma will get very angry at me again.” Misry thought.  

She looked up at the sun and then her clothes. She had seen Ma dry the wet clothes in the sun. So Misry thought of doing the same. She stood in the sun to dry her wet frock that she was wearing. She squeezed the water out of her frock as much as she could and stood looking up at the sun hopeful that her frock will be dry in a few minutes.  

Two minutes. Still wet.  

Five minutes. No change.  

Ten minutes. I am bored.  

Twelve minutes. I am tired.  

Thirteen minutes. I am going home.  

She opened the latch of the main door as quietly as she could and pushed the door open wide enough for her to creep inside. She repeated the former steps again to latch the main door from inside. She tiptoed to the bathroom and changed into a dress from the laundry bag. She abstained from washing her hands and muddy feet due to the fear of waking up Ma with the sound of the running tap.  

Then she crept in beside Ma in the bed and closed her eyes, pretending to be asleep.  

Madhavi could not stop laughing watching her daughter. She was amazed at her daughter’s intelligence. She had been wide awake all the time and didn’t interfere at all. She wanted to see what Misry was up to.  

When Misry had locked the door from outside, Madhavi had telephoned the sentry on duty near the gate to watch out for the girl. The Jawan had called her back to inform that he had seen Misry and sent the girl on her way home.  

Misry was surprised.  

“Ma you were awake all the time?” she asked.  

“All the time,dear! Even with my eyes closed, I can see you. Now tell me, why did you go into the dirty water again?”  

“Did you see that too?” Misry was astonished.  

“Of course. And now you are messing up the bed too with your dirty feet and hands. Go and take a bath and change into fresh clothes!” Madhavi gave the orders in a stern voice.  

Misry obeyed immediately. Later she hugged Madhavi and asked, “Ma do you know magic? How can you know everything without even getting up?”  

“My sweetie pie, when God made mothers he also gave them superpowers so that they could take care of their children from the Oogly Boogly. So even if I was not with you physically, I was always watching and protecting you.”  

“Who is Oogly Boogly, Ma?”  

“It is the demon that lurks out for lonely children on the streets and takes them to his den.”  

“Oh!” Misry was frightened. She could visualize the demon. A huge body green in color with a big pot belly and two horns on either side of his head. Its incision teeth sharp and long were visible clearly as it opened its mouth to eat its food that consisted of young children trapped in its dark dungeon. Misry hid her face in her mother’s chest.  

As Madhavi’s arms embraced her she felt safe.  

She looked up at her mother and asked, “Did you send that Bhaiya to save me?” Madhavi nodded.  

Misry was thrilled about her mother’s supernatural powers. Her Ma knew EVERYTHING. The next time she settled in beside her Ma for the siesta, she asked her mother the question that was uppermost in her mind since a long time.  

“Ma, when will I be going to the big school like Honey and Boney?” she asked, rolling a tendril of her mother’s hair around her fingers.  

“Very soon dear,” replied Madhavi, half asleep.  

Misry kissed her mother and promised not to venture out alone without her mother’s consent again.  


Chapter 13: Lesson In School
Misry! Have you kept your Tiffin box inside your bag?”Madhavi inquired from the kitchen.  

“Yes Ma.” Misry replied.  

Misry ran to her mother and planted a peck on her cheek. Then she ran out to board her school bus. Madhavi watched her from the verandah. Her little girl had grown up.  

Misry had started school. Luckily she got admission in the same school as Honey and Boney. It was the only English medium school in the city and most of the children from the campus went there.  

The school was about twenty kilometers away from the campus. The Head Quarter had allotted a vehicle which served as the school bus and ferried the students to the school. Interestingly, the vehicle was more like a police van used to ferry convicts. It had iron grills on both the sides to serve as windows and had only one gate at the rear. The children sat facing each other inside the vehicle.  

Misry had the habit of befriending children older than her, and that too mostly boys. This had a benefit as well as a loss. Benefit was that she was always part of the gang. And loss was, she being the youngest was sometimes bullied.  

Quite often, Misry had a physical fight with the boys. And she lost most of them as the boys were stronger than her. With lots of brain storming she found a very easy weapon to win the fight and that too without using blows and kicks.  

She used her spit as her weapon. The moment she found she was losing she would spit on her opponent. The guy would not dare come any closer after that. He would either be crying aloud or call her names. Misry would be happy for her win. Children complained to Madhavi about it and she tried all the possible ways to stop her daughter from repeating this bad habit, but with no success.  

That day in the van Misry sat across Honey, who was her best friend and who also took very good care of Misry in the school. Sitting beside him was a boy who had accused Misry of cheating in the game the previous day. Because of this, Misry held a grudge against him.  

They were on their way to school and when the van moved, the boy started teasing her. Misry teased him back and suddenly their heated conversation changed into exchanging blows and kicks. Misry and the boy were on the floor of the van and having a good fight. The other children were having fun and clapped their hands, watching the two fight.  

The boy was pulling Misry’s hair while Misry scratched his face with her claws. As much as she tried she could not overpower him. Misry knew she could not win the fight as the guy was powerful. She finally used her powerful weapon against him. She cleared her throat, took aim and spat. But she missed and the ball of spit landed on Honey’s uniform.  

Honey who was sitting quietly in his seat till now, looked up at Misry with angry eyes and snapped, “What the hell? What did you do to my new uniform?”  

The boy, Misry was fighting with, laughed out loud at her missed aim and the other children joined in.  

The boy teased, “Misry, you spoiled Honey’s new uniform! You are MESSY!”  

All the children in the bus started teasing her, “MESSY! MESSY!”  

Misry was furious. Instead of begging for forgiveness to Honey she retorted at him, “It’s your fault, Honey? Why did you sit there?”  

Honey could not believe what he just heard. He was losing his patience now, “You have to clean it NOW!”  

“No way!” Misry snapped at him.  

“You will PAY for this!!” Honey snapped back at her.  

She sat down quietly and didn’t speak to anyone after that incident. She was very angry with Honey for saying such mean things to her. She never meant to harm him and it was just an accident. He should have understood that but instead he had challenged her.  

Misry could not concentrate in school for the whole day. It was a bad day for her. She was scolded by her teacher for not finishing the class work in time. She also had her lunch alone which otherwise she shared with Honey and Boney. She didn’t play or talk to any of her classmates either when they asked her to play.  

She wanted to go to Honey and Boney. But today, there was no chance of her going over to either of the kids. The last bell rang and the school was finally over. Each student went in queue to board their respective school bus. Misry was also standing in a queue to board her van when Honey called her.  

“Why should I come? The school is over now.” Misry remarked.  

“You have to come. Principal Sir is calling you, NOW!” Honey replied sternly.  
The Principal, Mr. Paul, was a strict disciplinarian and the students knew it very well. There was no way Misry could disobey his orders. She followed Honey reluctantly.  

Mr. Paul, a short bald man, wearing a blue suit stood waiting in the assembly ground for the kids.  

His perfectly pinned green color tie on his sky blue shirt spoke volumes of his personal style, however there was an aura of authority around him.  

He looked at the little girl who was the accused in Honey’s complaint. She looked defiant with her chin up instead of her head down as she stood at a little distance behind Honey.  

Mr. Paul looked at Honey for confirmation and turned to Misry.  

“Is he saying the truth, Misry! Did you spit on him?” asked the Principal.  

No answer.  

“Tell me, why did you do that?” The Principal insisted. “No answer.  

“You can’t stand there without answering me! I want an answer from you! I heard from Honey that, it is your regular practice. Is it true?”  

No answer.  

“Is it true, Misry. Tell me!” The Principal’s raised his voice a little.  

Still no response.  

“Honey!” Mr. Paul said to Honey who was waiting eagerly for the justice, “You may leave. Misry will stay back in the school today.”  

She stood adamant, biting her lips and glaring at Honey from the corner of her eye for bringing this upon her. She fumed with annoyance and despised Mr. Paul for listening to Honey.  

The children’s school van was the last one in the parking lot and it had been honking for them regularly. Honey was about to run to board the van when Misry spat on Mr. Paul. The spit landed on the respected man’s green tie.  

Mr. Paul looked down at his tie. For a moment, he could believe what he was seeing. And then, he became furious.  

In his entire education career he had come across many naughty students but Misry was unlike others. She was very stubborn. So far his tone had been enough to discipline a student but now he felt he had to be stricter with Misry.  

He ordered Honey to get a rope from the store room.  

Honey ran to bring a rope.  

“You will spend the night in the school store room with your hands and feet tied. I shall also inform your parents not to come looking for you. Is that clear?” declared Mr. Paul in a stern voice.  

By that time Honey had also brought the rope to tie her up.  

Hearing Mr. Paul’s punishment and looking at the rope in Honey’s hand, Misry finally started crying. Till now she was confident that the Principal cannot do any such thing. But this man was as just angry as her Daddy sometimes got.  

“Tie her and go home,” the Principal said to Honey.  

Honey started fitting the ends of the rope.  

“I am very sorry, Sir. Please don’t punish me.” Misry wept aloud and begged for forgiveness.  

“You have to promise me that you will never spit on anyone again. Only then will I allow you to go home,” Mr. Paul said.  

“I promise!” Misry sobbed. “I cross my heart. I will never do it again,” she added.  

“Now I want you to say sorry to Honey,” ordered the Principal.  

Misry looked at Honey teary- eyed and begged for forgiveness. Honey forgave his old friend.  

“Okay! Now both of you can board your van,” said Mr. Paul.  

Both the children turned to go. Misry turned back once more and said, “Sorry, Sir.”  

That day was a big lesson for Misry. She never spat on anyone again.  

When Madhavi came to know about the incident she was happy to know that her child was in good disciplinarian hands. What she could not change for so long, this man had done in just one meeting.  

Misry promised her mother that she would never dare to repeat any such thing again otherwise Principal Sir would tie her up in the school storeroom.  

Chapter 14: Making A Decision
For a few days Misry could not face Honey. Her recent misbehavior had angered him a lot. Even though he had forgiven her in front of the Principal, he openly declared that he was not friends with her anymore. Misry knew that it was useless to say sorry to him now because wherever he went the kids in the colony teased him about the incident. She had heard some of them herself. So for the time being she distanced herself from him which meant she could not visit his house too, her favorite destination.  

She sighed and settled down to play with her dumb doll again. It was one of the worst playthings, she thought, as she changed its dress and did its hair. A little later she packed it back in the box and went out of the room to see what her mother was doing.  

Madhavi was arranging the flowers in the drawing room. There were several varieties of them in different colors which she had plucked from her small garden in the front of their house. Madhavi loved gardening and especially colorful flowers. This spring she had taken lots of care and the result was a terrific combination of colorful flowers in her garden.  

“Ma, Wow! What is this arrangement all about?”Misry asked excitedly as she smelled the rose in the vase.  

“Your Daddy’s friends are coming over, sweetheart.” Madhavi replied.  

“Do they have children?” Misry asked.  

“Misry! Didn’t I tell you not to put up such questions? It is so embarrassing.” Madhavi reprimanded.  

“But Ma, you told me not to ask the question to any Uncle and Aunty. I am asking you!” She corrected.  

“Sweetie, they do have children, almost your age, but they are not bringing over their families today. Maybe you can meet their children next time.” Madhavi answered.  

“Too bad Ma.”  


Later in the evening.  

The party began once the guests, who were Anurag’s college friends, Tapan Mita and Kajal Ghosh , arrived. After completing their college they stayed in touch through letters, and finally got a chance to meet this evening. Tapan had come to the city for a conference and when Kajal came to know about it he too accompanied him so that the three friends could finally reunite. It was a gala reunion of the friends.  

Anurag had kept the bottles chilled and ready so that they could celebrate this reunion without any delay. Caps were opened and corks were unscrewed. Anurag made sure they were well-looked after. Glasses were filled and then topped with ice. A loud “Cheers” from all of them before the drinks were downed. Tapan had his drink in a shot while Kajal liked to sip his slowly, in between bites of the tasty snacks.  

Madhavi made sure to keep the steady flow of snacks from the kitchen. The boys got busy with their man to man talk. Madhavi joined them some time later. The conversation did not flag, though. The topics kept changing from one subject to another and finally came to a rest on music. Dinner was delayed and the mehfil was set for some ganabajana.  

It was an era, when TV was not yet an integral part of life. People entertained themselves by watching movies in the Cinema Hall or attending casual parties at home and clubs. And if the party was in a Bengali home, then it would eventually give way to singing sessions with melodious Bollywood songs or Rabindra Sangeet where those who didn’t sing well joined the chorus.  

Misry always loved these sessions. Since childhood she had watched her family spend time together in the evening singing their favorite songs. Now that she was a little grown up she too joined them. Madhavi was a great singer and so was Pallavi. However, Daddy had always been a bad singer but that did not stop him from joining them.  

That evening too, they had a singing session with the two gentlemen, Luckily Kajal was a professional singer with All India Radio and knew to play harmonium while Tapan was a tabla maestro by passion. So for the first time, Misry had the opportunity to sing along with music. It was a fantastic evening that finally ended at the dinner table.  

Madhavi’s dexterous culinary skills and hospitality had won the gentlemen’s heart. They wanted to gift something to Madhavi and Misry. They were very apologetic for not bringing anything along earlier for the two lovely girls in the house.  

In the end, it was decided that they would go to the market and buy something for Madhavi and Misry. Although it was pretty late at night they insisted on going. Anurag had no option but to listen to them. Since dinner was over, Madhavi too decided to join them.  

They reached the market in Anurag’s service jeep. Everyone got off on the main road near the market place while the driver drove off to the parking lot.  

Misry walked with Anurag while Madhavi walked with Kajal. Tapan quietly followed behind them. Since it was already late most of the shops were closed or were closing down for the day.  

A few road side hawkers were still looking for business.  

They finally zeroed in to one shop that sold garments and accessories for ladies. Kajal asked Madhavi to make her selection while he went off to pick something for his wife. Anurag had to buy some cigarettes so he excused himself. Tapan was not very keen on purchasing garments as he wanted to purchase a handbag. So he moved away to another shop nearby.  

With all the adults busy, Misry was left to fend for herself. She had seen Tapan leave the shop so she stepped out of the shop to keep watch where he went. She saw him purchasing something from the hawker a little distance away. He was standing with his back towards her. Then Misry looked for Anurag. She found him purchasing cigarettes in the corner pan shop.  

Just then a big red balloon tied to the pole caught Misry’s attention. She watched it sway in the wind up in the sky over the market area. It had something written on it in yellow and Misry started to read it by deciphering each letter.  

A little later, she looked inside the store where Madhavi and Kajal were making a purchase. She couldn’t find them there anymore. She went inside the shop and asked the salesman about them. The man showed her the rear exit gate through which he said that they had left a few seconds ago. Misry peeped out of the rear gate hoping to find her mother and Kajal uncle. But the lane looked dark and creepy. So she didn’t take a chance and came back to where she stood earlier, outside the shop.  

She looked for Daddy but he too was not there anymore. She turned her attention to Tapan. He was still there making his purchase. Misry ran up to him and called him. When the man turned to face her she was surprised to find some other man and not her Tapan uncle.  

It took her some moments to realize that she was alone and lost. Nervousness gripped her and she wanted to weep. Then she remembered her mother’s words.  

“When God made mothers he also gave them superpowers so that they could protect their children from the Oogly Boogly. So even if I was not with you physically, I was always watching and protecting you.”  

The words gave her strength and she wasn’t afraid anymore. She kept her cool and thought about the situation with a clear mind. Her Ma had always warned her about bad people so she knew that at this hour of the night asking for help would invite bad people. She didn’t want to be captivated by them.  

She threw off the cloud of uncertainty and made a game plan. As she was a B.S.F child, uniform was something she was pretty familiar with and she would not hesitate to ask for help from uniform-clad people which at this moment would be easy to find on the main road. She knew the way out of the market as she had been here many times before with her Daddy. She figured out all she had to do was to get hold of a traffic policeman and she would be safe.  

Without any fear she retraced her path out of the market towards the main road. She knew if she walked alone she would invite trouble so she followed a couple to the main road so that people would think she was with them.  

Once on the main road, she saw their jeep parked across the road. Since the road was busy, she knew she could not cross it on her own. She had to ask for help. But whom to ask? There was no traffic policeman in the vicinity. Standing alone, by the side of the road, at this hour of the night was not good for children and she knew that from the stories her dad used to tell her at bed-time.  

Seeing her alone, a cycle rickshaw driver asked her what the matter was. Misry had seen her classmates come to school in cycle rickshaws. However she eyed the man suspiciously but he looked anything but dangerous. She felt she could trust him. She showed him the Jeep and asked him to help her cross the road.  


When Madhavi found that her daughter was not with Anurag, as she had assumed, she started weeping. There were some people on the road. A few shops were still open on the four road crossing in the marketplace. Apart from that most of the shops were closed and the lanes deserted. Madhavi’s heart clenched with fear and she was desperate as she prayed to the almighty every second for her daughter’s safety. She didn’t know what to do.  

When Anurag didn’t find Misry in the few shops, he started thinking from the child’s perspective. He had a hunch that Misry would not wait there for them if she was lost. She would definitely go towards the main road looking for a uniform-clad person whom she was more familiar with. He asked a few hawkers and they confirmed seeing a little girl going towards the main road a few minutes back. Anurag left Madhavi and others in the market to continue their search while he ran towards the main road.  

Once on the main road he saw his jeep parked across the main road. He was sure Misry might have seen it too and will go there. He was waiting to cross the road to go to the jeep when someone bumped into him suddenly. He looked down. It was Misry.  

On seeing him Misry screamed,“Oh Daddy!”and hugged him.  

Anurag thought the poor man had helped his daughter come all the way out of the market so he rewarded him with a hundred rupee note and thanked him from the core of his heart. Then he picked up Misry and held her tightly in his arms.  

A little later, Madhavi too joined them along with the two men. She was weeping bitterly. And when she found Misry in Anurag’s arms., she rushed to the child. She could not hide her agony and started scolding Misry.  

Misry didn’t utter a word. She hugged her mother and said, “Thank you Ma for taking care of me from Oggly Boogly.”  

Madhavi was stunned to hear that. Tears rolled down her eyes as she hugged her back and kissed her.  

Later Anurag taught her that in situations like this she should keep standing where she was left because that ways Daddy would know where to look for her.  

Later when Misry told her story, everybody was amazed to see the kind of intelligence the young girl had displayed. Madhavi thanked the Gods for taking care of their little angel. And Anurag was glad he had blindly trusted his hunch.  

1. What country does this story take place in?
   a) the United States
   b) Canada
   c) India

2. The area in which Misry lived was similar to:
   a) a military base
   b) a national park
   c) a college town

3. What did Misry like about Mrs. Singh’s house?
   a) it had a lot of beautiful furniture
   b) she could read without interruption there
   c) there was always lots of noise and fun when she played with the children who lived there

4. How was Misry able to leave the house after her mother told her to stay in?
   a) she snuck out when her mother was sleeping
   b) she got permission from her father
   c) she promised her mother that she would be home early

5. What happened when she got to her friend’s house?
   a) they played and ate snacks
   b) they watched a movie
   c) nothing, because her friend was not home

6. What did Misry have fun doing on her way home?
   a) she played hide and seek
   b) she stopped for a snack
   c) she played in a pool of rainwater

7. How did Misry’s mother know what had taken place?
   a) she had been awake the entire time
   b) one of the guards came and told her
   c) Misry told her

8. What was Misry’s weapon in a fight?
   a) sticks and stones
   b) a knife
   c) spitting on her opponent

9. What happened when Misry did this to Mr. Paul?
   a) he told her he was going to make her stay overnight in the storeroom
   b) he yelled at her
   c) he spit on her

10. Why did everyone go to the market?
   a) they needed more groceries
   b) to watch the fireworks
   c) to get gifts for Misry and her mother

11. What happened to Misry while she was in the market?  
   a) she bought a gift for her mother
   b) she saw her best friends
   c) she got lost

Special thanks to Paromita Goswami for providing us these chapters of her wonderful book.

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