The Sun rose from behind the buildings. It sent a ray through Prashansa’s window as if saying,” Prashansa, it’s time for school. Wake up.”
“Ah,Good Morning Sun!”said Prashansa, as she began to get ready for school.
Prashansa was a friendly and bright girl. She was outspoken and had a soft side for animals. She had a kind nature and loved to study and read books. She belonged to a middle class family but was contented with whatever she got.
After having breakfast she started for school. That day her class teacher, Mrs. Kapoor arrived in the class early. Everyone got a hint that today she was going to give them a big surprise. Rahul, Prashansa’s classmate stood up and asked,”Excuse me ma’am, sorry to interrupt, but is something special today? I mean, you came early.”
“Yes students, we are having a new student today.” she told them,” Come in Sanjana. You will find your new classmates great.”
A girl walked in majestically. She had beautiful black hair tied loosely with a ribbon. Behind her came an armed man dressed in black with a walkie-talkie. ‘He might be her bodyguard!’, thought Prashansa, ‘but why would she need one? Is she a celebrity or what?’
The girl told her ‘bodyguard’ off.
“Hi friends,” she said with poise and self assurance, ” I am Sanjana Gupta. My mother Ritika Arora is a famous actress and my father, Rajveer Gupta is a successful businessman. So, you can see I have a bodyguard.”
” Huh! Such attitude lies in her. Why come to our school when your parents are so hi-fi personalities. Go to America, or England or somewhere else instead.” whispered Anjali.
She was seated next to Prashansa. Everyone would gather round her desk and ask her weird questions about her parents. She would answer them with patience. But she was proved very poor in the fields of studies and sports. She used to run away from sports and never wanted to even enter the playgrounds. ” They make me feel sweaty, dirty and tired. I hate sports.” she would say to Prashansa.
Once Sanjana invited Prashansa to her birthday party celebrations. She even asked her to stay for a sleepover. “Only a few of my great friends get an opportunity to be a part of the sleepovers.”she told Prashansa.
An excited Prashansa returned home. Her mother asked the reason for her peculiar behaviour. She told her mother about her conversation with Sanjana. “Humm..” said her mother thoughtfully, “So you are going to the birthday party of Sanjana Gupta, the daughter of Ritika Arora, the star. You know, my dear, Ritika was my classmate when we were students. Her father Rahul Arora was the King of Bollywood at that time. She was really stubborn.”
“But mom, Sanjana is not at all stubborn. And she will be sad if I don’t go there. Besides she has a kind nature and loves animals” Prashansa tried to tell her mother. “Yes dear, I have never tried to stop you from going there. But I just wanted to tell you that you may not be comfortable there.” her mother said.”Why would I not be comfortable there, mom? They have so many servants” Prashansa asked. She got the answer,”Oh dear, after all a house and a home are not same. We live in a home, whereas Sanjana and her family live in a house. You are used to living in a home. You won’t be able to adjust there.”
“Won’t be ale to ADJUST! Come on mom! What do you want to say?” Prashansa was a bit irritated. Her mother said softly,” Maybe you will come to know what I mean on the right day, that is, on Sanjana’s birthday. So don’t worry just know. OK, dear.”
The right time,thought Prashansa, What does mom want to say! She decided to stay silent and not argue with her mother. She wanted to wait for the ‘RIGHT’ moment, whatever or whenever it was.
She bought a beautiful vase and a jewelry box for Sanjana. She also made her a pretty card. She sat in the car beside her mother. She had kept her night-dress for the sleepover.And of course, how could she forget her AUTOGRAPH BOOK!!! She wanted to have Sanjana’s mother’s autograph!
As she was getting down for the car her mother called,” I wish you may understand the meaning of a house and a home today. Bye dear”
Prashansa bid her goodbye and went in the house. A servant received her at the door and took her inside to a big hall.
Wow! What a place! Does Sanjana live here? she thought.
She found Sanjana busy with some of her friends who also included some of Prashansa’s classmates. Prashansa gave Sanjana her gifts and looked around for her parents. When asked Sanjana replied,” Oh, my parents! Well, mom had an important shooting to do for her upcoming film and my father had to go to Germany for a business meeting . They will be back by tomorrow.” Prashansa was astonished. How could they, she thought, How could they leave their daughter alone on THIS special day of her life!
When Prashansa saw Sanjana cutting her birthday cake all alone, her eyes became wet. Prashansa remembered her birthdays when her parents were there when she cut the cake, when she opened her presents and when she enjoyed the last moments of the day. But Sanjana did not have any of these happiness.
When the party ended, much more shocks awaited Prashansa. She thought that now was the time she loved the most, opening of presents. Would Sanjana like my gifts? What would be the other presents she got? Such thoughts emerged in Prashansa’s mind.
But what happened was extraordinary. When they entered Sanjana’s room, they found so many gifts lying here and there. Prashansa figured her gift in the sea of gifts and wanted that Sanjana would open her gift the first. But what’s that? Sanjana told her servants to take those ‘nonsense gifts’ away and open them. She ordered them to keep the gifts in their proper place. Prashansa watched the scene wide-eyed and open-mouthed. She saw her gift and many others being carried away by the servants.
She did not want to stay there even a second more. She wanted to go home. ” Sanjana, I am not feeling well, she lied, I want to go home. Please can I call my mother?” ” Sure” was the answer. Prashana was even more bewildered. Sanjana didn’t even ask that what had happened to her. She seemed the least bother. Before Prashansa could gather herself, Sanjana was back with a return gift and then handing it to her, she ran to her friends and started to play!
Prashansa called her mother who arrived soon. As soon as Prashansa was in the car, she started to cry. When they were far from Sanjana’s house, Prashansa threw the unopened returned gift out of the window. She told her mother about the party on the way. Her mother smiled and said,” Well my dear, I think you now know the difference between a HOUSE and a HOME?”
“Yes mom” was the answer.