Malaika was a little girl, aged five. She lived with her parents and little sister, Sarika, in a beautiful cottage on Fern Hill. Sarika had just turned three. Malaika was in kindergarten in a school nearby.
Malaika loved Sarika to bits, and Sarika, for her part, followed her sister around and idolized her. Except for school time, the two were inseparable.
Malaika loved her school, her teacher – Ms.Beal, her lessons and her classmates. However, the highlight of every school day was the mid-morning snack break.
Just before the bell rang for snack time, the delicious smell of butter biscuits would waft through the classroom. Malaika’s tongue watered as the food cart was wheeled into the classroom.
Each child was given a nice warm glass of milk and two butter biscuits with it. Malaika loved the biscuits and the milk.
The best part was yet to come. A few butter biscuits were always left over in the packet, so at the end of the morning, just before school dispersed, Ms.Beal asked questions. The first student to answer each question correctly, was rewarded with a biscuit.
Most days, Malaika managed to answer at least two questions before her classmates did, and took the butter biscuits home to share with her sister, Sarika.
But today, her luck had deserted her. She was not the first to answer even a single question. Tears ran down her sweet face, as she imagined the disappointment on Sarika’s face. What could she tell her? A cloud of worry descended on her face.
The teacher noticed that something was wrong. She asked Malaika to wait. All her classmates left the classroom.
“What’s wrong my dear?”asked the teacher.
Malaika told her that she was very sad that her sister would be disappointed about the butter biscuits.
The teacher smiled and said, “Guess what, I have a couple on my table, you can take those for your sister, ok?”
Malaika said, “Ms.Beal, could you ask me two questions. Please give me the biscuits after I answer them.”
Malaika answered both and took home – two semi-powdered biscuits that were filled with love and happiness, to her little sister.
When Sarika saw her elder sister, she shouted, “Butter biki, butter biki, give me.”
Malaika said, “Wait…I have brought them. I never forget, you know that.”