The Red Ribbons

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge was first held in 2010. The challenge is that we have to post every day of April, except on the four Sundays. April 1st is a theme with letter A, 2nd with letter B and so on till April 30th which will be Z themed. This year, I’m planning to do short pieces of fiction (not a series), or a poem based on a word with that letter.

The Red Ribbons

“Didn’t I tell you to get it cut short?”

The voice of his neighbor and teacher, Mrs. Saxena could be heard very clearly. She had always been an angry woman. And Ninadh had always wondered why. It was an even bigger surprise when his neighbor, Rajat uncle married her after his wife had passed away.

Ninadh stood at the window and watched silently as Mrs. Saxena took out a pair of scissors, and ignoring her cries of protest, pushed her five year old stepdaughter Shilpa into a chair and began to clip the offending locks of hair. She had the look of the devil in her eyes as she went about her task.

“There,” she shouted once the job was done. Shilpa was in tears. Her mother had always tied her long locks into two pigtails with red ribbons. Now, she saw her stepmother take those very ribbons from the dressing table drawer.

“You won’t need these anymore,” she shouted, a gleeful look on her face as she put them into her purse. “Stop whining, you stupid girl.”

Seeing her glance toward him, Ninadh hid behind the curtains. When the coast was clear, he looked again, and saw Shilpa lying face down on her bed, crying. Mrs. Saxena was nowhere to be seen.

Ninadh was furious. He never liked seeing anyone cry, let alone his adorable neighbor who had told she didn’t want to be friends with him. He knew she had loved her mother that much, and the loss had been devastating.

“What do I do?” he wondered. Then it struck him, and he smiled.

The next day evening, knowing Mrs. Saxena was not around, he went to Shilpa’s window and knocked.

“What do you want?” she asked him, surprised at his boldness.

“To give you this,” he told her, handing her the ribbons that her stepmother had taken away.

He saw her expression of surprise change into a smile as she saw those treasured ribbons. And he smiled remembering his day.

“So, you want to leave your hair long, like a girl, is it?” Mrs. Saxena had asked when she saw him in class with thick hair that almost fell onto his eyes. When he stood silently with a beaten expression, she had decided to teach him a lesson.

“You know the school rules for boys, Ninadh. Since you have not kept your end, your punishment will be to wear the ribbons on your hair, like the rules say for girls. And if you remove them before the end of the day, I will punish you further.”

And she had gone ahead and tied his thick hair with two ponytails using the red ribbons from her purse!

Now, seeing Shilpa run out into the garden and give him a hug, accepting his friendship, Ninadh felt happy.

A day in school wearing those red ribbons had been worth it.

Like last year, I’m taking the challenge along with my friend Bhavya. We’re writing on the same themes each day, and giving each other the themes on alternate days. Day 18, the word chosen by us was ~Ribbon~.

(© 21st April 2015)


Poetry & writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.

38 thoughts on “The Red Ribbons”

  1. That is so sweet… 🙂

    There are people like Ninadh out there. Very rare but they are there. And each of them is very very special. They are rare treasures who deserve to be cherished.

    Lovely story Leo 🙂 Thank you for sharing 🙂

    • Yeah. There are many people who are like that, sadly. 🙁

      But thankfully, for every such Mrs. Saxena, there’s also a Ninadh 🙂

      Glad you liked the story, Cynthia.

  2. Ninadh is adorable 🙂 I like his name too.. I wonder what it means.

    I’m not commenting on every post, I know that’s mean of me, but I’m loving how your A-Z is shaping up. Looking forward to each day 🙂

  3. Ninadh is a rockstar 🙂 🙂 If people cannot be kind to children outside of their marriage, why do they even agree to marry someone who already has a child from another marriage. I don’t like Mrs. Saxena at all
    (Bhavya recently posted… Dear Son)My Profile

    • Yes. Ninadh is a rockstar 🙂 I think they look at love for their would-be spouse rather than the would-be stepchild, so they get unkind. It should never be an excuse of course for cruelty.

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