The Handmaid’s Tale

Trial by Error | The Aarushi Files

The Handmaid’s Tale

Illustration: Namaah/Arré


hen I was ten, and my sister Alissa five, we played after school in the park opposite home with a gang of kids from our South Delhi neighbourhood. My regular playmate was a girl named Anu. She was smart, funny, a topper at the local Hindi-medium elementary school. She was fastidious about her appearance – while we all sweated through tag ball games, Anu’s hair was almost never out of place even though she could outrun most of us. She lived a few minutes away in a small room in an alley with her parents and younger brother. Anu’s father was the driver for the family that lived down the street. He was a polite man with a warm smile, always dressed in a crisp uniform, very particular about Anu’s education, and the extra time she gave to learning English.

One day, the nosy, bored housewife that lived next door asked my cheerful, bohemian,multi-tasking mum why she let her kids play with “the kids of servants”, with “people like them”. My mum was stunned into silence.