The Life Transforming Pani Puri

By Asmita Javdekar in Stories
Updated 19:49 IST Mar 01, 2019

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Manju’s entry into the world was perniciously timed with her mothers exit. Post the tumultuous delivery of daughter number 3; Manju’s father and his family had stormed out of the village Mission hospital, leaving behind the few minutes old, scrawny Manju to be welcomed with nothing but a frail and wailing grandmother.
    Manju’s grandmother worked hard to make ends meet with the additional burden bestowed upon her by God.
Manju grew up to be a quiet and responsible child.
Although her granny took good care of her,Manju felt a sense disgust about her self.She often wished to feel beautiful, but neither her appearance nor her circumstances, gave her any reason.

The only time Manju’s heart would flutter was when she watched their next door neighbour, Laxmi akka at the village chowk eating Pani puris!
Something about her face would change with every burst of the crunchy puri in her mouth.Even the mogra strings in AKKA’s glistening,oil braided hair looked more beautiful while she had  Pani puri.
Maybe,it held the secret potion for beauty,thought Manju’s innocent mind. 
Ever since, Pani puri was all that she craved for.

On Manju’s 9th birthday, her grandmother gifted her five rupees.She could finally buy herself a plate of life transforming goodness.
Manju darted to the village chowk, to the Pani puri cart!
Just as she was about to take her first bite, her eyes caught sight of a famished, young street urchin,longingly staring at her plate of food.In him,she saw herself.
She put one puri in her mouth and impulsively, handed over the plate to that little boy.

She paused.

“Manju’s little life expanded beyond herself and with that simple act of giving, in just an instant, the caterpillar metamorphosed into a butterfly. “For the first time in my life I felt truly beautiful. A Puri had changed my life and I had to find a way to make it stay with me.”

The Tedx venue reverberated with applause. With a standing ovation, they celebrated the inspiring journey of the child rights crusader, Dr.Manjula Puri.

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