September 18th, 2008

The Magic Wand

She was a simple girl of a poor father. Her world consisted of her father, whom she loved like no other daughter loved her father, herself and the magic wand she never had. How she wished, she had a magic wand ! She would flourish it with one hand and shout, "One, two three... Boiing"; and presto, her father's woes would vanish into thin air.

Her father, a poor construction labourer, led a woeful existence in a hut that was up for demolition anytime. A knock at the door was all that was needed to shatter him. Only yesterday,  the builder's toughie had knocked at his door ... threatening... asking for  a ration card.  Ration card,... it meant so much. It was a ticket to a house under  under the slum rehabilitation scheme; and the lack of it meant certain eviction from the only dweliing they had - a 4 x 6 slum. Her father had tried getting a duplicate ration card - having lost the original earlier- but all he had received, despite several visits to the rationing office, was insults, abuses and 'come after one week' instruction.               

She was lost in these thoughts as she walked to the school and did not notice that a car was honking close behind her, asking for way. Before she could come out of her reverie, the car had hit her and run away. She did see a bearded man rushing to save her.

She opened her eyes to find herself in a clean room on a near bed. She overheard voices coming from the adjoining room. She walked to the door for clarity. The bearded man was telling her father, " all you need is a simple application under the 'Right to Information' to the Public Information Officer and you will get your ration card in 30 days or less. Not only that, if the officials try any mischief for further delay, they will be penalised".     

Her father did as advised by the bearded man.           

Two days later, there was a knock at the door. Her father shuddered to think it was the builder once again. She watched her father drag his feet to the door, opening it with shaking hands and eyes closed tight, waiting for the builder to throw them out bodily. Instead, there was a sweet voice. A young lady rationing officer was saying that they had received his application under the 'Right to Information' and that he could collect his ration card the next day.      

"Right to Information ?" Did she hear it right ? Oh yes, right to information. That is what the bearded man had told her father. She ran out of the house jumping with joy and shouting, "One, two, three .... boiing". She had found her magic wand  !