Monday, June 28, 2010


May 2031 - Priya and Sanjay Ramaswami are 41; Anjali, Padma, and Clara Long are 12; Paul Ottomas is 13.

Padma Ramaswami definitely isn't a kid anymore. It seems like just yesterday she was a gawky little girl, but now she's definitely a teenager. She spends hours in the bathroom, practicing putting on makeup and admiring herself in the mirror.

Anjali, on the other hand, is just as nerdy as ever.

Even though Clara and Padma were friends first, lately Clara has been coming over to hang out with Anjali. Padma has become pretty boy crazy, but Clara is a bit wary of this whole dating thing.

Priya was recently promoted and is now an investigative journalist. She loves researching and writing about serious news, but she isn't thrilled about the long hours.

"I have to go into the office for a few hours," she tells Anjali one Sunday afternoon. "Your father is at a concert. We'll both be back around dinner time."

"I know Mom," Anjali sighs. "Padma and I will be fine."

"Okay," Priya says, "just remember, call me if you have any problems."

Anjali and Padma have stayed home alone plenty of times without problem, but today things are different. Today the computer is broken, and instead of waiting for her father to come home and fix it, Anjali decides to try to fix it herself. She's been reading about electronics, and she's sure she can figure it out.

Unfortunately, it turns out to be more complicated than she'd thought.

"Oh my god, what did you do?" Padma cries.

"It was an accident," Anjali defends herself.

Priya and Sanjay are pretty upset, but mostly they're just relieved that no one was hurt. The fire didn't even damage much of the den.

"You have to be more careful," Priya scolds. "Repairing a computer can be dangerous. You should leave that sort of thing to your father."

"I know Mom, I'm sorry."

It's just the two of them at the dinner table; Sanjay is upstairs setting up the new computer and restoring the backup files, and Padma is in the living room with Paul Ottomas. Paul is in the eighth grade, and Padma has a huge crush on him. But her parents say the girls are too young to date, she's only allowed to invite him over when her parents are home.

Even with parental supervision, Paul and Padma are doing a lot of flirting. Padma's only twelve, and already her parents can tell that her love life is going to cause them plenty of worry.

"Padma, I think it's time for Paul to go home," Sanjay says. "It's time for our nightly run."

"So, Paul seems like a nice boy," her father says as they stretch.

Padma just rolls her eyes and sighs.

Anjali never goes running with her sister and father. She's not the athletic type. Instead she heads outside to look through the telescope. At least the stars don't change.

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