An Uncharacteristic Friendship #FlashFiction


They were poles apart. Pavi was very shy and the teacher’s pet. Ravi was naughty and a troublemaker. Pavi was plump and had a cute dimple. Ravi’s hair was always messed up and would usually go home with at least one bruise on some part of the body. Both were 8 years old, lived in the same society and went to the same class in the same school. 

But Ravi & Pavi were never apart. Nobody understood their friendship but they understood each other very well. They loved playing in the park together. While Pavi painted, Ravi would play video games. When Ravi burped, Pavi applauded. When Ravi’s Sixer would break a window, Pavi would  be made to flash those sweet dimples and apologize on Ravi’s behalf. Pavi was sensitive and would often cry. Ravi would know when to be supportive and when to give space. 

All would have gone perfectly fine if one day the boys from the neighbourhood building had not come strolling into the park the best friends played in. 

As usual Ravi was being mischievous. Pavi had a bar of chocolate that Ravi snatched and ran away with. Pavi knew that Ravi was too fast and gave up the race. Upset and hungry, Pavi began to cry. 

The gang of boys who had been silent bystanders until now…started laughing. Pointing at Pavi, the tallest of them all and the apparent leader of the group remarked loudly, "Look at that cute little girl crying for a chocolate! Fatty's hungry? Awww! Come I'll teach you how to run and get it!" Pavi immediately stopped crying. Ravi stormed up to them and demanded, ‘Who are you and where are you from? And why are you insulting my friend?!’ The leader took a few steps ahead and looked amusingly at Ravi’s angry face. Turning to his friends, he says, "Hey look at this! Baby girl has a baby bodyguard!" Ravi could bear the insolence no longer and kicked the older boy on the shin. He was caught by surprise and would have struck Ravi if they hadn’t heard the whistle of the park watchman and seen him coming running in their direction. "Ayyy…chalo niklo yahaan se! Gunde kahin ke! Bachon pe haath uthaega??! Bhago..." (Translation- You scoundrels...get away from here! Don't you dare raise your hands on the kids! Run away...) Scared of the burly watchman, the boy and his gang disappeared quickly. 

The watchman ran towards the kids. He had known them since their childhood - right from the time when their mothers used to bring them to the park. He had seen them play together and watched their friendship grow from strength to strength. But he knew the time had come to make them aware of the truth of the world. He sighed before continuing –"Beta Pavan aur beti Ragahavi…tum donon ko ab samjhna chahiye ki duniya ke kuch ussool hain. Ladke rote nahin aur ladkiyan maar peet nahin karte…samjhe? Ab chalo Pavi…aasoon pocho. Ravi bitiya…chalo use ghar leke jaao." (Translation -Pavan...son... Raghavi...dear girl... you need to know how the world works. Boys don't cry while girls don't fight. Come on now...Pavi, wipe your tears. Ravi take him home.)

Neither Pavi nor Ravi said a word while they walked back home. They were confused and shocked at what had just happened. 

She was unladylike and he was unmasculine. Their characters had so far been untouched by patriarchy. Will they change now? Will they remain friends? Who knows! 

Note: Pavi –nickname that is short for Pavan. Ravi –nickname that is short for Raghavi. Pavi is usually a nick name for a girl/woman and Ravi is usually a name/ nick name for a boy/man. 



Comments

  1. 'Ladke rote nahin aur ladkiyan maar peet nahin karte…samjhe?', this sentence underlines the entire essence of the story.
    Loved the characters. Hope they don't mould themselves as per the patriarchal notions.

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    1. Thanks Rashmi for the read and the comment. :) My first attempt at Flash Fiction. Testing the waters here...

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  2. Anonymous5:20 pm

    Loved the story Ashwini. U stayed true to ur feminist self.for which we all love u.
    Priya

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    1. :) Hope you liked my storytelling too Priya...

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  3. Woh. Wow. I had to read it again to make sure there was no mistake. This is an amazing story Ashwini. It made me aware of the biases I have within me as well. Those that I am unconscious of. Great work!☺️

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    1. Thanks Arjun. Your kinds words give me a lot of encouragement.

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  4. Loved this one Ashwini. Your writing flows so well and the message shines through.

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    1. Thanks a lot for reading and commenting. :) My first attempt at Flash fiction actually. Glad u liked it. Do visit again.

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  5. The suprise element is what hits home the message. Great job highlighting prejudices. And wonderful story telling

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    1. Thanks Namratha. Must confess that I got some valuable advice from fellow blogger CRD in fine tuning the surprise element. I have enjoyed trying my hand at so many new things in this challenge inspired by lovely creative people like you.

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  6. Great story Ashwini. BTW I did not need the note to understand the last lines. :)

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    1. :) Thanks Meena. Glad you didn't. I had to leave it there...just in case.

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  7. Neat story. The realist in me knows that society won't stop hounding them till they change.

    Really wish it wasn't so.

    https://lonelycanopyblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/23/under-the-ladaki-stars-raku-house/

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    1. Hmmm...so important that children are allowed to be themselves. That's when they grow up to be self-assured adults. Maybe Ravi tells Pavi to forget what happened and just continue...as thought nothing happened. I want to believe that. :)

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  8. Loved the characterization and also the interplay with names. Time the world knows there is no set rules for how a girl or a boy should behave. They can be whatever they like.

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    1. Thanks Anshu... means a lot coming from a great storyteller like you. :) Glad the message came across.

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  9. Wow. I did a double take there. You did that really well!! How I wish I could believe that "ladke rote nahi hain" is something that will not continue beyond this generation, and kids will be allowed to just be, but I fear it's still too early for that in our society...

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    1. :) Thanks Neha. Glad you enjoyed it. And since it was my first attempt at Flash Fiction and a twist at the end...your words mean a lot to me.
      I have come across at least 3 blog posts on gender neutral parenting in this challenge alone. So I wish to believe that the world is changing. Let's hope for the best! : )

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  10. Children should be allowed to be their best selves. Why does society try to push them into a box that does not fit?
    Stories like yours slowly chip away at the biases we all have. They are getting smaller and smaller thanks to efforts like yours.

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    1. Hi Cheryl. Thank you for your visit and comment. Sincere apologies in case you did not understand the Hindi lines. I have edited the post and added the English translation. I should have taken into account that not all readers are proficient in our National Language.
      Truly appreciate your kind words. I detest any kind of stereotyping and my stories and posts reflect my ideas. :) It's so amazing to come across like-minded bloggers like you who also can't tolerate the rigid ideas of our world.

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  11. Good read. We should break the pattern and let kids be kids. Too many boundaries kill childhood and make them a sad adult.

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    1. Hey Dishki. Thank you for your visit and comment. You re absolutely right. It's time for gender neutrality and parents must believe in it for the next generation to be brought up differently.

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