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E - Everyone

The Bicycle

by DDH


The village seemed busier than usual. The dirt road stretched forward, with people walking to and fro. Buying groceries and having jobs to do. Kids walking off to school chatting and gossiping with friends. She sighed. Maya seemed to always sigh. Her father would make fun of her for that but she couldn’t help it. She always thought of what fun she could have with other kids, enjoying their time and learning about the world in school. They always seemed to avoid her though. Something about being an urchin, whatever that meant.

A bicycle raced past her as she walked across the road. Where was she headed? She didn’t know, all she did know was that she was headed somewhere. The road would take her where she wanted to go. Soon enough, there it was, the shop filled with various bits and bobs including school books, toys and best of all her bicycle. Sure the shopkeepers say the bicycle is theirs but Maya knew that bicycle was hers. She had wanted that bike since the first time she laid her eyes on it. Gleaming green metal with clean black grips. It was beautiful with its colorful finish and yellow stripes. She could imagine herself racing across the streets with her brand new bike. She would definitely get lots of friends after that. She’d be able to get to school, the teachers would let her in without a thought after seeing her bike.

But every time she asked her dear old dad, it’d always be the same answer, “I am sorry dear, but we can barely afford food every day. That bike is more expensive than books, and if I can’t buy you books then how can I…” She would be saddened of course, but she wanted that bike more than she wanted some crusty old book she can’t even read.

So what could she do? She understood why her dad couldn’t buy it. Having to take care of her alone didn’t allow him to work a lot. And that meant he was always short of money. Maya sees him holding pieces of paper like they are gifts from God. So one day Maya decided to be a good daughter and take some pieces of paper and cut into the rectangles that money looked like. If she made enough then they could buy food, the bike and take her to school too! She even colored them the greenish yellow that those “money” was. When she gave her hard work to dad though, he just laughed. Maya still didn’t understand why. Was her papers not good enough to get the bike?

So she decided to work. Her dad always said he couldn’t work. That is why he didn’t have money, so she decided that she would work. Maybe then she could get money to buy her bike! So she did work. She asked the shopkeeper what work was and he said helping others. Maya was confused, why she helped her dad everyday, but she didn’t get any money for it. Did she have to help people that were not her dad? This was a very confusing concept indeed. So Maya relented and walked out the shop. There on the road she saw an old woman carry some very heavy bags across the road. She looked like someone who needed help. So Maya ran up and decided to give her some help. She picked up the bags and nearly fell over. The old woman chuckled slightly and helped her up. “Thank you dear, those bags were so heavy.”

“Where do you need them?” Maya asked.

“Oh just over to that shop, my son needs it for his work.”

Maya dragged over the bags and handed it over to the woman’s son. The woman thanked Maya but strangely did not give her any money. Why is that? Didn’t she help her? “Could I have some money since I helped you?” Maya asked the woman, the woman sighed and took out a money. It looked very clean and straight, almost beautiful. This had to be enough to get the bike, surely.

She ran excitedly to her dad, who was cooking some gruel. “Dad! Dad! Look, I got some money!” Her dad looked up surprised to see her. “Oh! What are you doing here? Aren’t you usually out and about right now? And what is this about money?”

“Dad I helped an old woman, and helping people is the way to get money, right? So I got some. Can we buy the bike now?”

“Oh dear, this is only 1 rupee, you need much more to buy the bike. But this is good, you made some money by yourselves. This is good…” He rubbed her hair but all Maya heard was “you need much more to buy the bike.” More money? After carrying those heavy bags? How could she possibly help more?

She went out again, her dad talked about “jobs” and from what she understood it was just ways to help people more. So she needed a job. She remembered that a nearby man had asked for people to help him in selling shoes. Maybe then she could get the bicycle? She ran over to where she remembered seeing the bearded man. Hassan, he said his name was. He had a matted ugly beard, with ragged clothes and had various shoes in front of him. Maya ran over excitedly jumping as she sprinted. “Shoeseller! Shoeseller! Don’t you want someone to do a job for you?”

“What?” Hassan was surprised to see the springy girl run up to him, but nodded. “Yes I need someone to clean shoes for me.” Maya nodded hurriedly, she almost broke her neck in the process. “Calm down, calm down, “ Hassan said, “Just take this cloth and clean these shoes.”

“How much money will I get?” Maya asked. That’s all she wanted. She thought she heard one of the more proper women say something. Everyone called them proper women and proper men. She never understood why. Why call them proper and her an urchin. They seemed to look very clean and had lots of money. Was that why? Well Maya could clean herself and have lots of green paper too. The proper woman seemed to say something about “greedy young brats” Maya ignored her, all she wanted was money to buy the bike. She grabbed the cloth from Hassan’s hand and rubbed furiously on each of the clothes until they were shining clean. She shrieked with excitement at the bigger and cleaner and shinier money Hassan was giving her, and two this time! She ran even faster this time to dad. “Hundred rupees! Where did you get so much Maya!”

“I did a job!” Maya said gleefully, her grin barely allowing her to talk. “Maya with this money we could buy books, you could finally study!”

Maya shrunk a little, “But Dad, I wanted the bike. I can’t even read, what can I do with those books other than cut them to make more money. Is this enough to buy the bike? Maybe with the bike I could finally make friends and then they will let me go to school!” Her dad gave her a warm smile, “Will you agree to let me buy books if we buy the bike first?” “YES!” Maya shouted, almost kicking over the pot of gruel Dad had made. “But, we still need a bit more money, since you are so good at this do you think you could get some more?” Maya barely heard him, she had already ran off ready to help more people for more paper.

Hassan was surprised to see her again. “What do you want, girl? You already helped me enough, and I gave you 100. What more do you need?”

Maya said, “Can I help you more? For more money?” Hassan smiled, seeing the excited girl made him feel...warmer. He didn’t have any more work for her but she could help someone else. Hassan pointed to a nearby grocery store.

“See that? Go there for more work.” Maya ran off to the store. It was a big building, very clean and tidy and seemed to have lots of people going there. As people would say, it looked “proper”. Maya ran in screaming, “Can I have some work?!” She almost gave the woman who ran it a heart attack.

A few hours later she ran out the shop waving three more pieces of paper. She sprinted to her father and handed it over, panting all the way. Her Dad smiled and gave her all the money she had brought. “Go. Go buy it.” Maya let out a whoop of joy as she ran off to the familiar store. Soon she walked out with her bike. It looked more beautiful than ever, sleek, fresh and perfect. Maya almost cried with happiness as she raced it around. A hand stopped her as she was riding. It was a boy, a “proper” boy. Clean clothes and looked like he had lots of money. He screamed at his mother, saying something in a language Maya didn’t understand. The mother raced over and said, “That bike was probably stolen by you wasn’t it? Here, give it to me.” She said grabbing the bike from her hands, she almost fell, the mother was strong. She gave it to the boy who immediately rode it off. “Stupid brats, stealing from proper people. Go beg for a bike, instead of stealing. No hope for these dogs.”


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Sat Sep 18, 2021 10:56 am
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HarryHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!! And oooh, I see you're new! Welcome to YWS!! Hope you fun here!!

First Impression: This was a really powerful story for something with such a simple plot. You've done an awesome job portraying this girl's character and presenting these very real and very large problems that plague the real world through the lens of an innocent young girl and showcasing just how harsh people can be sometimes.

Anyway let's get right to it,

The village seemed busier than usual. The dirt road stretched forward, with people walking to and fro. Buying groceries and having jobs to do. Kids walking off to school chatting and gossiping with friends. She sighed. Maya seemed to always sigh. Her father would make fun of her for that but she couldn’t help it. She always thought of what fun she could have with other kids, enjoying their time and learning about the world in school. They always seemed to avoid her though. Something about being an urchin, whatever that meant.


Well..this is a neat little point to start things off here. There's a very good sense of what's in store for the reader from this first paragraph itself. You can see that this is someone that feels quite lonely and really wants to have friends...but because of her current status no one really wants to spend time with here. It definitely gets your attention quite fast too.

A bicycle raced past her as she walked across the road. Where was she headed? She didn’t know, all she did know was that she was headed somewhere. The road would take her where she wanted to go. Soon enough, there it was, the shop filled with various bits and bobs including school books, toys and best of all her bicycle. Sure the shopkeepers say the bicycle is theirs but Maya knew that bicycle was hers. She had wanted that bike since the first time she laid her eyes on it. Gleaming green metal with clean black grips. It was beautiful with its colorful finish and yellow stripes. She could imagine herself racing across the streets with her brand new bike. She would definitely get lots of friends after that. She’d be able to get to school, the teachers would let her in without a thought after seeing her bike.


Okay...I get the feeling you're trying to tell us that she's walked this road so many times to go look at this bicycle that she can walk there without even realizing where she was going. It also looks like here the bicycle really isn't what she dreams of, but she feels like said bicycle will be the path to her achieving her actual dream of hanging out with other kids...and I get the feeling she's about to do some stealing here.

But every time she asked her dear old dad, it’d always be the same answer, “I am sorry dear, but we can barely afford food every day. That bike is more expensive than books, and if I can’t buy you books then how can I…” She would be saddened of course, but she wanted that bike more than she wanted some crusty old book she can’t even read.


Well, that definitely puts her status on display there. Her family is definitely quite power...and we cans see the details from the first chapter fall into place there. Hmm...this little reveal is nicely timed here, cause it looks like we're slowly getting a list of all the motivations that she has to go through with this bicycle stealing act here...or maybe, I guess she could always end up not stealing the bicycle..xD, but I get the feeling she's going to do it...after everyway to get some money doesn't suceed.

So what could she do? She understood why her dad couldn’t buy it. Having to take care of her alone didn’t allow him to work a lot. And that meant he was always short of money. Maya sees him holding pieces of paper like they are gifts from God. So one day Maya decided to be a good daughter and take some pieces of paper and cut into the rectangles that money looked like. If she made enough then they could buy food, the bike and take her to school too! She even colored them the greenish yellow that those “money” was. When she gave her hard work to dad though, he just laughed. Maya still didn’t understand why. Was her papers not good enough to get the bike?


Hmm, well this gives us a few more clues about who Maya is...you can see that she's very young here, its one thing to be young enough to not understand why people didn't want to play with her, but now we see she's too young to understand how money works too. This is definitely establishing more and more of her situation quite well here.

So she decided to work. Her dad always said he couldn’t work. That is why he didn’t have money, so she decided that she would work. Maybe then she could get money to buy her bike! So she did work. She asked the shopkeeper what work was and he said helping others. Maya was confused, why she helped her dad everyday, but she didn’t get any money for it. Did she have to help people that were not her dad? This was a very confusing concept indeed. So Maya relented and walked out the shop. There on the road she saw an old woman carry some very heavy bags across the road. She looked like someone who needed help. So Maya ran up and decided to give her some help. She picked up the bags and nearly fell over. The old woman chuckled slightly and helped her up. “Thank you dear, those bags were so heavy.”


Well...this is a bit of a wholesome moment...its interesting to see the father not doing any sort of work, cause that makes you think of several other things that might be going on with her family, especially cause her mother is yet to be mentioned, but her then trying to figure out how to work and ending up helping a random old lady is a very sweet decisions that's quite appropriate for someone that seems to be as young as she is.

“Where do you need them?” Maya asked.

“Oh just over to that shop, my son needs it for his work.”

Maya dragged over the bags and handed it over to the woman’s son. The woman thanked Maya but strangely did not give her any money. Why is that? Didn’t she help her? “Could I have some money since I helped you?” Maya asked the woman, the woman sighed and took out a money. It looked very clean and straight, almost beautiful. This had to be enough to get the bike, surely.


Well...this makes for another interesting scene. On one hand, we can see the innocent purpose behind the girl asking for money there and then you see the sigh on the part of the woman who clearly doesn't seem to like the idea of paying money for that. I suppose you can't quite blame either of them for that little interaction there. At any rate, I love that this detail was include.

She ran excitedly to her dad, who was cooking some gruel. “Dad! Dad! Look, I got some money!” Her dad looked up surprised to see her. “Oh! What are you doing here? Aren’t you usually out and about right now? And what is this about money?”

“Dad I helped an old woman, and helping people is the way to get money, right? So I got some. Can we buy the bike now?”

“Oh dear, this is only 1 rupee, you need much more to buy the bike. But this is good, you made some money by yourselves. This is good…” He rubbed her hair but all Maya heard was “you need much more to buy the bike.” More money? After carrying those heavy bags? How could she possibly help more?


Okay...well, that was actually less money than I thought she was going to get from that..but hmm, I suppose its appropriate and its not like she has any idea what is worth what so the woman could have given her anything. And well, let's see how she continues on her quest here, so far she's been told that the money she did earn wasn't enough...but her father does seem to encourage her to find more and doesn't say anything bad about her earning some money.

She went out again, her dad talked about “jobs” and from what she understood it was just ways to help people more. So she needed a job. She remembered that a nearby man had asked for people to help him in selling shoes. Maybe then she could get the bicycle? She ran over to where she remembered seeing the bearded man. Hassan, he said his name was. He had a matted ugly beard, with ragged clothes and had various shoes in front of him. Maya ran over excitedly jumping as she sprinted. “Shoeseller! Shoeseller! Don’t you want someone to do a job for you?”


Oooh, so she now learns about the idea of a job and tries to go find that...well that might be a bit tougher, she has to be very young...so there can't exactly be too many people willing to give her things to do there...although it looks like she's stumbled on a pretty good spot to find some sort of work here.

“What?” Hassan was surprised to see the springy girl run up to him, but nodded. “Yes I need someone to clean shoes for me.” Maya nodded hurriedly, she almost broke her neck in the process. “Calm down, calm down, “ Hassan said, “Just take this cloth and clean these shoes.”


Well that went down much better than I thought it was going to...that's good to see...maybe this way she can finally get the bicycle...and the stealing theory isn't going to come through. With the tone at the start of the story, the stealing seemed plausible but now its seeming more plausible that she does manage to earn some money.

“How much money will I get?” Maya asked. That’s all she wanted. She thought she heard one of the more proper women say something. Everyone called them proper women and proper men. She never understood why. Why call them proper and her an urchin. They seemed to look very clean and had lots of money. Was that why? Well Maya could clean herself and have lots of green paper too. The proper woman seemed to say something about “greedy young brats” Maya ignored her, all she wanted was money to buy the bike. She grabbed the cloth from Hassan’s hand and rubbed furiously on each of the clothes until they were shining clean. She shrieked with excitement at the bigger and cleaner and shinier money Hassan was giving her, and two this time! She ran even faster this time to dad. “Hundred rupees! Where did you get so much Maya!”


Well this is a powerful paragraph here, on one hand there's the completely innocent Maya finally earning a somewhat substantial amount of money which could actually do something, and the shoeseller seems like a nice enough person but the offhand comment by the woman there really showcases how people tend to view her...and its a powerful statement to this situation here.

“I did a job!” Maya said gleefully, her grin barely allowing her to talk. “Maya with this money we could buy books, you could finally study!”

Maya shrunk a little, “But Dad, I wanted the bike. I can’t even read, what can I do with those books other than cut them to make more money. Is this enough to buy the bike? Maybe with the bike I could finally make friends and then they will let me go to school!” Her dad gave her a warm smile, “Will you agree to let me buy books if we buy the bike first?” “YES!” Maya shouted, almost kicking over the pot of gruel Dad had made. “But, we still need a bit more money, since you are so good at this do you think you could get some more?” Maya barely heard him, she had already ran off ready to help more people for more paper.


Hmm, good to see that the father is trying to think of how to use the money to educate her there, that seems like a good compromise that he negotiated, he does seem to have her best interests at heart even if she doesn't quite understand that with how young she is.

Hassan was surprised to see her again. “What do you want, girl? You already helped me enough, and I gave you 100. What more do you need?”

Maya said, “Can I help you more? For more money?” Hassan smiled, seeing the excited girl made him feel...warmer. He didn’t have any more work for her but she could help someone else. Hassan pointed to a nearby grocery store.


Hmm...so the shoe seller proves himself to be a somewhat decent person unlike most of the others that we've seen here, it looks like Maya is going to get lucky here and perhaps find some more money...although now I'm dreading the ending here...things are going so well for Maya that I get the feeling that something will come along and ruin it before long.

“See that? Go there for more work.” Maya ran off to the store. It was a big building, very clean and tidy and seemed to have lots of people going there. As people would say, it looked “proper”. Maya ran in screaming, “Can I have some work?!” She almost gave the woman who ran it a heart attack.


Well this is another sweet moment, hopefully the people in the shop are actually going to let her work...that place seems to be a bit more restrictive than a shoeseller on the street would be.

A few hours later she ran out the shop waving three more pieces of paper. She sprinted to her father and handed it over, panting all the way. Her Dad smiled and gave her all the money she had brought. “Go. Go buy it.” Maya let out a whoop of joy as she ran off to the familiar store. Soon she walked out with her bike. It looked more beautiful than ever, sleek, fresh and perfect. Maya almost cried with happiness as she raced it around. A hand stopped her as she was riding. It was a boy, a “proper” boy. Clean clothes and looked like he had lots of money. He screamed at his mother, saying something in a language Maya didn’t understand. The mother raced over and said, “That bike was probably stolen by you wasn’t it? Here, give it to me.” She said grabbing the bike from her hands, she almost fell, the mother was strong. She gave it to the boy who immediately rode it off. “Stupid brats, stealing from proper people. Go beg for a bike, instead of stealing. No hope for these dogs.”


Well...I hate it when my predictions come true sometimes...ahh..this is a really powerful ending here...oh my goodness...by this point we're so invested in this girls' story and you can see how she worked so hard to get to this point and never even considered stealing it and yet the moment that her hard work pays off some these two come and just straight up actually steal it. First of all, I can't even imagine how that works, its one thing if the boy who's maybe her age tried to take, but to see the mother stepping in and actually grabbing a person's bike to let her son ride off with it is a whole other level of horribleness. Ahhh...well...I suppose it does some up the situation that Maya and others like her find themselves in.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, this is really well done. If I was being nitpicky, I would have to say that, the bicycle being bought for quite that cheap is a bit of a stretch, I feel like she'd have to do more than this amount of work to get a bicycle...also the idea of her immediately knowing how to ride a bicycle the moment she gets her hand on it is also a bit far-fetched. There is also the fact that she got work in that grocery store, she seems a bit too young to be able to do the sort of work you have in one of those..but, those are all suuuper nitpicks, otherwise the story is really solid and it makes for an awesome read. :D

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry




DDH says...


This was very detailed! Thanks!



HarryHardy says...


You're Welcome!! :D



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Fri Sep 17, 2021 1:57 pm
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RandomTalks wrote a review...



Hey!

RandomTalks here with a short review!

This was such a good story. I loved how you took such a big and important issue like poverty and presented it to us from the perspective of a little girl. It was simple to read and had so much emotion andI especially liked how you stuck with one voice throughout the story, presenting Maya's thoughts and her naive outlook on the world.

You have developed your character really well. Maya seems to be quite young since her concept of money and work is rather childish and not formed. She is confused by the big world out there and does not really understand why people behave the way they do. Her reference to the well off as 'proper people' makes me wonder just how young she is, especially because she is running through streets, working in shops and riding a bicycle in the story.

But I really loved the way you portrayed her innocence through her childish thoughts and her dizzying excitement throughout the story. Somehow that brought in this really somber tone to the story for me especially with the way you ended. I remember when buying my first cycle used to be the singular reason for my waking up in the morning. Maya was so excited about the cycle. It was all she wanted, and she worked so hard for it. I cannot imagine how she felt watching it being snatched away without really understanding why. It shows how cruel the world is. I actually caannot believe that the mother simply took the cycle from her and gave it to her son. That is not only excessively harsh, but technically it is also stealing. Shows the kind of 'virtues' these 'proper people' have.

The other thing I really liked is the way you established the relationship between the father and daughter. He seems to be extremely supportive of her and the fact that he did not take the money for her cycle and use it to invest in her books shows how much he loves his daughter and cares for her opinion. Maya too seems to be so understanding. I loved the part where she cut rectangular pieces of paper and gave it to her father so that he could stop worrying about money. It was childish and sweet and an extremely heartwarming gesture. Whether it was her father or the shopkeeprs, Maya seemed to carry her light and warmth everywhere she went. Its a pity that the 'proper people' could not identify this light in her.

Personally, it had taken me 3 days to learn how to ride my cycle without falling head-first into the street, so you might want to explain how Maya got it right the very first time she sat on a bike with no experience on her side.

Overall, this was a really great story.

Keep wtiting and have a great day!




DDH says...


Thanks! This means a lot!



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ForeverYoung299 wrote a review...



Heyy!! Forever here with a review!!

First of all, welcome to YWS. Hope you have a good time here.

This was a great short story. It had a lot of emotions in it. I will just begin with the characters. Maya seems to be a good and very innocent child and also little aware of this great world. I just wonder about her age. She doesn't seem to be more than 10 years old. I would just suggest including her age, maybe not my direct means but by indirect ones like telling about the other children's school class or something. That can be a thing to mention. I wonder why she was so affectionate about a cycle. Maybe just for no reason, she simply found it fascinating and maybe also saw children riding it to school and thought that if she too have one she can be friends with them. We can see her passion and dedication towards buying that cycle through her hard work that she did for the purpose. She got the cycle at last but... It was taken away by someone. This indicates how the poor are being constantly tortured and humiliated by the rich(I assume the woman was kind of rich or at least not poor). I like the irony that the woman told Maya that she stole it but in reality, she was the one to steal it from Maya. Maya was the owner of the cycle. It also shows how people exploit the poor to meet their own desires. The "proper" boy appears to be a very greedy one and also exploited(a typical representation of people who gets everything and use them in a bad manner). Sometging more which I wonder is the fact why Maya's father couldn't work. There must be a reason behind it. Maybe he had some problems which prevented him from working. I just wanna know it.

With the plot, I think it was quite good. The shopkeepers and other people who helped her to buy the bicycle were good people. I wonder from where she knew the price of the bicycle. Also about what was the total amount she managed to get. First of all, she got 1rs. Then she got 100rs and finally three more pieces of paper. We don't know the amount of these three more pieces of paper but if I assume it to be 300(100,100,100) then the total results to 401. I wonder what the cost of a bicycle is. I seriously don't know if anyone can buy a bicycle in this price. I seem to be idealess. Also "their" cycle. It actually intrigues me. This their kind of makes me think that the cycle is a personal property of the shopkeepers and is not meant for sale. However, that doesn't seem to be the case. Maybe just don't write this "their".

Overall, it was a great short story. It really had a lot of emotions in it. Keep it up :D

Keep Writing!!

~Forever




DDH says...


Thanks for the words and the suggestions! I'll try revising it...




A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.
— Franz Kafka