Willy : “Its run by Anglo Indian Nuns. So what do you people say?”
Nikhil : “Sounds great!”
Shekhar : “Count me in”
All eyes were at Naina.
Willy : “What about you Naina? You are coming right?”
Naina looked at everyone, shrugged a little, blushed a lot more and said “Oh yea, alright I mean sure”
Willy raised an eyebrow.
“What happened? I thought you would like it more than anyone else. You have always been the best supporter of the company initiative to help the needy”
Daniel : “Yea what is with you”
Daniel made an attempt to smile but he seemed too cross at Naina.
Naina : “Nothing we will go”
6 of them including Willy Anderson and Willy Hoffman was on their way to ‘Little Angels’ orphanage. Naina was quiet all the while.
The Mother Superior Sr.Angela had a kind face and smiled at them.
“This is really so nice of you to come and visit our children.” Her eyes came to Naina and she stopped.
“Crissie my dear! Is that you?”
Naina smiled and stepped forward to kiss Sr Angela’s hands.
“How are you Mother”
“As good as ever dear. Are you working with these nice people my dear?”
Sr Angela raised her brows, smiled and said
“Crissie is one of the biggest donators of this orphanage. She comes every month and gives us a huge amount dont you dear”
Naina knew she was trying to help but she felt embarassed.
She shrugged her shoulders and smiled.
“Are they here Angela?”. A tall nun appeared.
“Yes Sr Arbagenta”
“Oh. Its really nice of you all…. Christina!!”
“Yes Ma’am Sr Arbagenta”
Sr Arbagenta flushed. “You work with them I suppose”
“Christina!! For the hundredth time its Sr Arbagenta! She always had her ways of bugging me.” Sr Arbagenta gave a nasty smile.
“Oh you must be wondering how we know her. She is one of the oldest inmates of this place. Was adopted when she was 12 werent you my dear. Still never fails to come every single month!”
Having said this, Sr Arbagenta seemed pleased at herself. Naina, however seemed calm.
“Thats right Ma’am” and turning towards the others “Come I will show you around”
“No thanks Christina I can do that. Please come this way Gentlemen, Ladies”
All this while the others did not say a word. They had no clue what was going on.
Shekar, Nikhil and both Willys had their mouths open. Daniel shook his head.
Nevertheless they followed Sister Arbangenta. A tall girl in a pink Pajama came out of a room.
“Crissieeee” she almost yelled.
“Teeenaaaaaaaa” Naina yelled back.
“Oh I am so mad at you! Do you know how long its been since you last came???”
“Errr one month?”
“3 long months! You missed little Weeny’s birthday!”
“I know! I am so sorry!!!”
“Speak of the devil!”
A girl of 9 came running and suddenly stopped on seeing the crowd. She seemed to blush. Thats when she saw Naina.
All the shyness seemed to disappear as she jumped straight on Naina.
“How could you Crissie”
The poor girl was almost in tears. So was Naina as she lifted her up.
“I am weally weally wealllyyyy sowwy”
“But why Crissie. Why didnt you come”
“I will tell you but its a secret”
This seemed to cheer Weeny a little.
“Uh I get to know a secret?”
“Yes and its going to be just the 2 of us. Not even Teena will know”
“Wow. I like that”. Knowing something ‘Crissie’s best friend’ didnt know seemed like a great thing.
“Sorry Teena this is just for the 2 of us. And guess what? I got a brand new pink frock for you. I will bring it next week”
Sr Arbangenta had taken the rest of them to other rooms. Daniel however stayed back. He just couldn’t get enough of this. He had to see it to believe it.
Naina seemed to know her way around. The 3 girls walked into one of the rooms. Daniel saw some other girls running down the hall.
“Did you hear? Crissie is here?”
“Oh boy where where”
These girls must adore Naina. He did too..
He decided to join Willy and the others looking at Naina one final time. All the others were crowded around her. Was she telling some story?
He could not believe it. He has always liked Naina but thought her to be a rich snob. He was so angry when she seemed uninterested in coming here this morning. “So like an arrogant snob” he thought.
He was so wrong. But she was adopted! And they call her Crissie! Christina! The girl was so full of surprises! She was in this orphanage for the first 12 years of her life! She must have felt so lonely, so dejected.. He took another glance at the room..
Or did she?
She seemed so full of life, happiness now. He quietly slipped into the room unnoticed. They seemed to be in the midst of a conversation.
“I cant beleive she would say that!”
“Oh yes she did Crissie! Was all red too when she said that!”
“Uh Crissie Crissie”. A little girl was pulling Naina’s skirt.
“Yes little Martha”
“I gotta show you something.” She held out a paper and blushed.
“Wowww a poem! You wrote it all by yourself?”
“Alright she helped me a bit”
“Crissie!” Another small girl came running.
Sofie jumped on top of Naina.
“Haha how are you dear”
“I missed ya Crissie”
“I missed you too!”
“I learned a new song Crissie”
“Wow! Would ya sing it for me”
“Gee” the girl blushed and smiled.
“I am shy Crissie hihi”
“Awww. Tell you what. Why dont you close your eyes and then I wont be here. So you dont need to be shy”
“But I know you’d be there”
“Maybe I will walk away. But no opening eyes. No cheating alright?”
“Alright. Would you really go?”
“What do you think?”
“You wont. Hihihi”
The little girl closed her eyes and started singing.
Teena whispered “Arbagenta still forces every child to learn that song!”
“Crissie can I talk to you in private?”
Teena raised an eyebrow as 7-year old Sally came and said this.
“I will never know where these girls learn to talk like that!”
“Husshhh Teena. Sally and I have some talking to do”
She bent down to face the little girl and moved closer “Whats it little one?”
“Its my smile Crissie. The girls tease me cause I lost my teeth”
“Ohh the old smile trouble. Hmm know what? We would be smile buddies”
“That means the 2 of us have got great smiles. Just you and me”
“And when we walk around people are gonna say ‘There goes those smile buddies! They have got some great smile!’ ”
“Dont let anything stop you from smiling dear. Its the one thing we should never lose. Got it?”
“Smile buddies forever?”
“Smile buddies forever! Hihihi”
Daniel was right behind where Sally was standing. Naina was taken aback when she stood up.
“What are you doing here?”
All the other girls looked up.
“Its a boy”
“I think its a man”
“Is he your friend Crissie?”
“Well we work together Weeny” Naina answered.
“Work? You mean you guys do home work together?”
“Uhh yea something like that. Only its office work”
Daniel smiled at Naina’s desparate attempts to answer the innocent questions.
“Uhh Crissie you are blushing” this from a 14-year old.
“I am not”
Daniel decided to join in.
“Oh yea she is the biggest blusher I ever met”
“Hihi you mean like that time when she had a crush on the newspaper-boy”. From Teena.
“Uhhh Teena! Thats a pinker! Right Crissie?”
“Right Martha! Teena you are dead meat”
“What is a pinker?” asked a confused Daniel.
“Thats what you call someone who gives away a secret. Crissie made that rule”. Martha seemed proud.
“Oh yea Crissie has a big rule book” Sofie said shyly.
“We all follow that” said a happy Sally.
Willy and the rest of them had now come to the scene.
“Oh guys! These are the others who work with me.
Nikhil, Shekhar, Willy Anderson and Willy Hoffman ”
“Uh yeah the Willy1 and Willy2 you told us about right Crissie”
Naina stared at Weeny.
“Oops I think I just made a pinker”
“Haha these girls seem to adore you Naina. And I see why”, Nikhil looked at her admiringly.
“What is his name Crissie? The man you work with”
“I work with all of them Sally. His name is Daniel”
As they were leaving, all the girls joined them till gate.
“Dont forget to come Saturday Crissie”
As they got into the bus, the girls were still waving at Naina and some of them had started crying.
“You are a leader”
Naina had not seen Daniel sit next to her.
“I am not”
“I love you”
“Whatever you say leader”
“I love you too”