The name of this tale is, Lal Pari. In a small corner of the big town of Mumbai, stays a girl called Pari. Her mother and all the neighbours lovingly call her Lal Pari, because she always wears her red sweater. She is a very sweet, bubbly child and she studies in class 5. Being the only child she is pampered a lot and has friends all over the neighbourhood. Everybody loves Lal Pari because of her very sweet nature. Pari has a physical impairment, her one leg is shorter than the other, so she uses a wooden stick to walk.
Lal Pari would go to school with her mother every day. But one day, her mother fell grievously sick and could not accompany Lal Pari to school. So she called Lal Pari and said, “Today I won’t be able to come with you. But you are old enough to go on your own. Just be very careful along the way. Don’t get hurt and do not talk to strangers. Walk very carefully on the road. I am tying your lunchbox to your stick, remember to eat it” Lal Pari nodded her head and set off to school.
On the way back from school, Pari was walking slowly with a limp. She was looking at the birds and the butterflies around her. Seeing the birds fly around she wished she could also fly or move around freely. Behind her, there was a big, burly man who was following her. She turned around to look at him and thought maybe he is hungry and wants food but he turned away. She carried on lost in her thoughts. At a turning, suddenly, the man came in front of her. She was a little scared and offered her lunchbox to the man. “Here uncle, you must be very hungry”. He ignored this and asked her, “Where are you going?” Lal Pari remembering what her mother told her, did not answer and simply said, “I should not talk to strangers”. To which he laughed and replied, “Stranger? I am not a stranger! Did you not recognize me? I am your uncle! I am coming to visit you and your mother day after, but I have forgotten where you live! Take this 100 rupee note and go by some sweets for me for when I come home. But tell me where you live!” Lal Pari seeing the money, felt very excited. She told the man her exact address and went towards the shops. She had never been given so much money before and she could buy as many chocolates and chips as she wanted!
At home, Lal Pari’s mother was lying down on her bed in the room, and she heard the main door open. She calls out, “Arrey, Lal Pari are you home? I was beginning to get worried. But thank god you are home now.” She got out of bed to see, it wasn’t Lal Pari it was that big burly man. Before she could call for help, he had launched himself upon her, clamping his hand on her mouth, making sure she could not say a word. He then tied her up and locked her in the other room and stole all their jewelry and money.
Lal Pari reached home and saw the door was slightly open. She was a little surprised. She entered the house to find it covered in darkness. She saw a figure sitting on the chair in the room. She called out “Mumma is that you?” and there was a reply, “Why yes, it is me. What took you so long?” Lal Pari asked, “But mumma why do you look so big?” and they replied “Because I am sick I am eating a lot to get energy”. Lal Pari started to suspect that something was very wrong. She asked again, “Mumma why is your voice so loud and heavy?” so they replied “this is because of all the medicines I have been taking”. By this time Lal Pari had reached the chair, and saw to her horror it was not her mother but that big, burly man! She screamed and tried to back away, but she stumbled and fell. She could not get up on her own and was on the floor screaming. The man jumped out of the chair and tried to grab hold of her. Pari picked up her stick and began hitting the man with it. This made enough of a commotion to attract the attention of the all the neighbors who then rushed in to see what was happening.
Upon arriving at the house, they saw the big thief. One man slapped him very hard and the thief fell to the ground unconscious. They then helped Lal Pari and her mother and retrieved all the stolen goods. And all was well.
Written by Farhana Sheikh
Translated by Malavika Goyal
*The story was edited by Kriti Banga
*This story was written as part of Rising Flame’s One Billion Rising Campaign where we rise for the rights of women and girls with disabilities.