This story talks about two girls- Rima and Malti. Rima is proud and stylish, and speaks English very well. Malti, the new girl in her class, is simple but very smart. Her English is very weak, so Rima dislikes her and continues to mock and bully her for it.

Characters

Rima: a stylish young girl who speaks English very well

Malti: the new girl at Rima’s school

Mr. and Mrs. Sen: Rima’s parents

Shahnaz and Clare: Rima’s friends

The New Girl

Rima’s mother asked her how the first day of school went during dinner. Rima said it was okay. Her father, Mr. Sen, asked her if there were any new girls in her class.

Rima said there had been only one, called Malti. She added that Malti was funny because she could not speak much English. She had come from another state. Mr. Sen remarked that children from that state were supposed to be clever and especially good at maths. Rima replied that Malti did not seem very smart with her oily hair and bindi. She imitated Malti saying “Gud marning, Teeechurr.”

Her parents were worried by her behaviour although they loved her. They wished that Rima and her friends would not make things too difficult for Malti. But Rima and her gang had decided to do just that. The next morning, they all shouted “Gud marning!” to Malti, who did not realise they were making fun of her and greeted them back.

Shahnaz rudely asked her why she put so much oil on her hair. Clare commented that her skirt was too long. Malti was embarrassed and offended but could not reply as the teacher entered. As the class went on, everyone was surprised to see Malti answer the teacher’s questions correctly.

When Rima told her parents about this, her mother said that Malti sounded like a clever girl. But Rima said that it was of no use because her English was horrible. Her father said that Rima’s Hindi was horrible too. Rima’s parents were tired of her attitude and discussed the matter at night. They were afraid Rima was turning into a snob although they put her into a good school to make her smart and confident.

The Singing Competition

The following Saturday the Inter-House singing competition took place. Rima participated in the English song category, and Malti participated in the Hindi song category. Rima and her friends were surprised to see Malti sing beautifully with a melodious and well-trained voice. When Malti finished, everyone clapped. She won first place. Rima won first place in her own category, but she was not happy.

Soon, it was very clear to all that Malti was a bright child. She was quiet, studious and intelligent and did well in both sports and studies. Her best subject was Mathematics. She had simple looks but a very sharp brain. Many girls began seeking her help in mathematics and she happily helped them. The teachers had always liked her. Now her classmates became her friends too, except for Rima and her gang.

Rima Mocks Malti

Rima and her friends continued disliking Malti. They were all very stylish and Malti was not their type. They always made fun of her, especially her English. Malti was really sad about it. One day, when Rima mocked her for saying “aks” instead of “ask”, she tearfully asked her if Rima would help her improve her weak English.

Rima said she would not be able to help her because speaking proper English was not easy for village types like Malti. Malti ran away crying. Even Rima’s own friends thought her behaviour was terrible and left her. Mrs Sen found her quiet during lunch but decided not to ask anything. Rima knew that she had behaved very badly. She was too proud to admit it, even to herself.

Conclusion

This story shows us how jealousy and prejudice work. Rima is prejudiced against Malti because she is not the stylish type and cannot speak English well. Seeing Malti do well at school makes this prejudice develop into bitterness and jealousy. Rima continues to mock and torture Malti to the point of losing her own friends. We should not judge people by their appearance, or the way they speak. Being jealous and prejudiced brings harm to everyone, so we must be compassionate and welcoming instead.