“Is this food, mother? Is this? It’s the same old preparation of chicken and rice. Why can’t you just change it? The other day I was at this posh restaurant and the chicken there tasted so yummy. I can’t eat the same dish again and again. Please change your style of cooking. How do you think one can even eat this? I don’t like this food at all. I am eating this one last time; if you don’t prepare a new dish with chicken the next day, just tell me. I would rather eat outside.” And he ate with a frown covering his face.
“Mother, I am so happy today. I have been able to sell all the flowers and save two hundred rupees even after paying all the money to the owner of the garden from where we collect flowers. I have bought rice, some vegetables, oil and salt. Finally, I can feed my ailing father and scrawny sister. I am so happy.” And a drop of tear lit up his satisfied face as the starving family enjoyed their dinner.
“You know I am so disappointed today. I went to this big mall today and there was this dress which cost 5K. It was such a nice dress but I did not have the money to buy it. Sometimes I curse my luck that I should have born to a wealthy family or should have got some more pocket-money. I did buy something else and it cost 3K. You know it’s sexy, it’s backless. The boys will find a hard time to keep their eyes of me. But I still feel devastated; I so very wanted that dress.” And she put down the phone wishing she could have bought that expensive dress.
“Mother, see my new dress. The shopkeeper wanted 200 rupees for this shirt. Can you believe that? But I did some good bargaining and bought this for 150 instead. I have to go to the marriage ceremony of my friend. Don’t you think this will look good on me? I know it’s slightly cheap but it’s ok, right? Oh! I also bought this shari for you. Please try it and throw away this one. It’s already tattered.” And a sense of fulfillment lit up his already glowing face.
“We need to buy an AC, it’s impossible to sleep in this heat. Ok, we have the ceiling fan and the table fan running but the AC is required. Look at all our neighbors; all are having at least one. This will also upgrade our status. We have become a laughing stock to them. When in Rome, we need to act like Romans. My mother was also saying the other day to buy one. I have seen there’re few offers to buy one and we’ll go to the shop on the weekend. Is it ok for you honey?” And she slept worrying which one would she buy.
“Mother, can you pass on this hand fan to father? He works all day and night to feed us and he deserves a proper sleep. You also work very hard, I have saved some pocket money and will buy a hand fan for you tomorrow. When I grow up, I will buy a fan for us so that we all can sleep peacefully. Good night, I need to wake up early for school tomorrow.” And she slept serenely with her mother feeling content that she had given birth to a gem.
“Why are you disturbing me, you little imp? Move from here, run away. Else, I will whip your skinny ass. Dirty, grimy beggars, always behind us and trying to suck our hard earned money. If you don’t move now, I will crush you under my car. Don’t you dare touch it with your filthy hands, or else I will kick you away from here. Guards, can’t you see that this kid is disturbing me?” and he went inside the parking lot of the multiplex shouting more expletives.
“Mother please give me some food, I am so hungry. I did not eat my tiffin today, please don’t scold me. The tiffin that you packed for my school, I gave it to and old man who begs for food nearby. He is so old that he can’t even beg properly. Every day I give him some money and he smiles at me. Today he looked ill and I gave him all my food. The food gave him new lease of life and I am so happy for that.” And he washed his hands to eat another of those hard chapatis.