Indrani- Story of “The Ugly Duckling to Swan” #A-ZChallenge2018

Indrani was the fattest girl in our class and everyone teased her. Indrani had not many friends, no girl in the class was willing to sit next to her, most girls used to avoid her. She was teased for her looks, obesity and dark skin. Indrani used to cry on most days due to constant bullying by peers.

Indrani lost her father when she was barely 6 years old. Her mother was a beautiful young woman who unlike the accepted norm in our Indian society did not stop living after becoming a widow. She used to not wear a white saree as expected but come dressed in fine colourful silk sarees. She even used to put lipstick, makeup and wear a red bindi. I must admit she looked prettier than the other mothers who used to come to drop kids. Indrani used to get bullied by her classmates for her mother’s lifestyle. Her misfortune gained her teases and taunts from the society instead of sympathy.

When we were in class IV  Indrani’s mother remarried. In the 80s a widow getting remarried was not accepted gracefully. Rumours started doing rounds. Some rumors even went to the extent that Indrani’s mom had an affair and she had smothered her husband to death so that she could remarry.  Some said after becoming a widow her mom had turned into a call girl to manage financial crisis and later on married one of her clients. Even many teachers used to taunt Indrani. She was never good in studies and probably had some learning disability however her mother was blamed for her bad performance. It was said that her mother was so self-obsessed that she never bothered about the daughter.

When we were hitting puberty many girls in our class started receiving ‘love letters’ from suitors. However, nobody wrote letters to Indrani. She also wanted to receive a love letter. One day I and my friend Tania were sitting on the stairs when Indrani came to us and said that she had a crush on Tania’s cousin and how she wished to receive a letter from him. She requested Tania to help her. Tania knew that her cousin would never like her. However, we didn’t have the heart to tell her the truth.

Then we decided to do something to make her happy. We wrote a ‘love letter’ and signed the name of Tania’s cousin and gave it to Indrani.  Tania said that her cousin really liked Indrani. The joy on Indrani’s face was precious on receiving that letter. We started this letter writing game. Indrani used to reply to the letters and then we used to reply back. This whole thing continued for almost a year. I am sure that one year was the happiest year of her life. In the meanwhile, Tania’s brother got admission in IIT and he left the city. We wrote a farewell letter on behalf of him and gave it to Indrani. Indarni cried for days after receiving that. We used to console her. Gradually, we all got busy with our studies and forgot about Indrani’s love. She used to intermittently inquire if there was any letter but we always made some excuse.

Many years later, I met a gorgeous and stylish woman in a shopping mall in Delhi. I was not able to recognise but the lady called out my name and hugged me tightly. The ‘ugly duckling’ had indeed transformed into a ‘beautiful swan’. The swan’s handsome prince also joined us along with their bundles of joy. She winked at me and asked ‘How is Tania’s brother?’ A part of me felt guilty of the incidents in past. She nudged the elbow of her husband and said ‘you know these two girls used to write me false love letters’ and burst out laughing. Her husband also laughed heartily but I smiled awkwardly.

Image: Pixabay



46 thoughts on “Indrani- Story of “The Ugly Duckling to Swan” #A-ZChallenge2018

  1. Meena says:

    I am so glad Indrani grew up to be a confident lady. Sadly bullied children turn out to have many complexes. My question is: How did she know about the false letters? 🙂 How awkward for you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Anagha Yatin says:

    Life has sunshine in store for every one…only the time slot may be different! Very happy for Indrani.
    Balaka, writer in you showed up quite early in life!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. shalini says:

    Ah that’s such a sweet story Balaka though I don’t know how you fended your embarrassment at being caught by her. I wonder when she realised it was you both and not him who had been writing to her?


  4. mammaspeaks says:

    What a beautiful story, Balaka! I have had such ugly ducklings too in my class who have turned out to be prettier than most pretty girls. Nature has amazing ways to surprise us. BTW, appreciate your compassion as you wrote love letters to make the girl happy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. writershilpa says:

    It was rather cute of you and your friend to write Indrani love letters on behalf of Tania’s cousin. Those letters may have been false, but the happiness you gave her was genuine, one which must have brought some cheer to her sad life.
    I am glad she finally met her Prince Charming and everything turned out well for her.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Natasha says:

    That’s a great story with such a happy ending. God bless Indrani. Even though it was a prank you guys did help her build some self esteem over that one year.

    Loving your series. Hopping across to catch H.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Storyteller says:

    Can’t tell you how happy I got after getting to the end of this story. I never understood our society… why they character assaisinate women’s character immediately if she just get one step out of their zone of rules.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      It was indeed embarrassing in a funny way. But I felt a warmth in the way she recollected the episode, so I was sure that she was not angry. Thanks Shalini for reading.


  8. Obsessivemom says:

    That’s the sweetest story Balaka. How thoughtful of you and your friend. It would have been easier to laugh at her like the others. So when did she realise that you girls were behind it all?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Rashmi says:

    Indrani seems to be a great character. She was not caught up by the bullying in her childhood and came up as a strong and confident lady in the future. Great story Balaka. Just couldn’t get with the mystery of letters.

    Liked by 1 person

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