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Beads

Beads

(Penguin Petit)

Manjula Padmanabhan
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Farida, all of sixteen, has recently taken over her father’s tailoring business and has been working for two English memsahibs in their home for intricate embroidery work on a few pieces. She is extremely talented, and Jenny and Mary are quite impressed. In fact, they’re considering hiring her for a much larger order for their boutique back home. Really, Farida couldn’t have asked for better employers.

The only thing that seems to be bothering Farida, however, is Mickey, Jenny’s teenage daughter, whose blouse she’s currently working on. She dresses funny, looks funny—almost like a boy—and everyone, even the cook, has asked her to stay away from Mickey. But all Mickey wants is to have Farida work in her room—away from the heat in the verandah and maybe even have her food with the rest of them. In Mickey’s opinion, that’s the least they could do for the prices they are paying Farida!

It is strange how issues of race and bias are sometimes so ingrained in us that even as victims we don’t realize something that is so obvious to someone else. Originally written for an anthology of short fiction for teenagers, Beads is a powerful story about the voices that often go unheard in the discourse about racism and privilege.

Imprint: Penguin

Published: Jan/2018

Length : 15 Pages

MRP : ₹15.00

Beads

(Penguin Petit)

Manjula Padmanabhan

Farida, all of sixteen, has recently taken over her father’s tailoring business and has been working for two English memsahibs in their home for intricate embroidery work on a few pieces. She is extremely talented, and Jenny and Mary are quite impressed. In fact, they’re considering hiring her for a much larger order for their boutique back home. Really, Farida couldn’t have asked for better employers.

The only thing that seems to be bothering Farida, however, is Mickey, Jenny’s teenage daughter, whose blouse she’s currently working on. She dresses funny, looks funny—almost like a boy—and everyone, even the cook, has asked her to stay away from Mickey. But all Mickey wants is to have Farida work in her room—away from the heat in the verandah and maybe even have her food with the rest of them. In Mickey’s opinion, that’s the least they could do for the prices they are paying Farida!

It is strange how issues of race and bias are sometimes so ingrained in us that even as victims we don’t realize something that is so obvious to someone else. Originally written for an anthology of short fiction for teenagers, Beads is a powerful story about the voices that often go unheard in the discourse about racism and privilege.

Select Preferred Format

Manjula Padmanabhan

Manjula Padmanabhan (b. 1953), is a writer and artist living in New Delhi. Her books include Hot Death, Cold Soup (Kali for Women, 1996), Getting There (Picador India, 1999) and This is Suki! (Duckfoot Press, 2000). Harvest (Kali for Women, 1998 and subsequently in three separate international anthologies), her fifth play, won the 1997 Onassis Award for Theatre. She has illustrated twenty-two books for children including, most recently, her own first novel for children, Mouse Attack (Macmillan Children's Books, UK, 2003; Picador India, 2004). Her comic strips appeared weekly in The Sunday Observer (Bombay, 1982-86) and daily in The Pioneer (New Delhi, 1991-97). Her most recent exhibition was of etchings and lithographs (London, December 2003).

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