My friend called for a late night party. All had gathered in Sitesh’s house and waiting for me. I started my bike and accelerated to its extreme. I know they are not exactly waiting as they said over the phone. They must have started the party by now. Two or three bottles would have finished by now as well. It is not their fault but my manager’s. He does not know how to have fun in life, and he does not understand the value of fun. Anyway, I do not want to think about him outside office. My accelerator was at its peak. I can imagine the delicious food as it is the birthday of my friend. And my friend is very fond of food and drinks. We ask him to decide the menu always because he has very good taste buds.
I am working in a multinational company and have enough money to buy food for myself but when a friend buys I enjoy it most. Can not explain why. My bike speed was at it’s peak. It was night 10:30 PM. Traffic was low but traffic lights were distracting.
One 11 year old boy came near me at the traffic post and asked for some money. He was holding his younger brother on his lap. He was accompanied by a stray dog. Although the dog was his pet, as this kid also lives on the street both the dog and master can be called stray in my view.
I looked at him with big and angry eyes. Told him to go elsewhere but he was trying his best to extract some money from me. He touched my shoulder softly and requested “Sir, Please give me some money, I will feed by brother and I have not eaten well since last couple of days”. I told him, “I will hit you if you touch me again. Why don’t you study? Why don’t you work? I will not give you any money. You will buy those chewing tobacco products. Go away. I know you guys very well. All drama on road.” and the signal turned green. My motive was not to ask these questions so that I can listen to his actual reason for begging and solve his problems but to get away from him. I have an important meeting. My friends are waiting. All Bacardi will get over then what will I do. Anyway I do not pity these people, they are all thieves, When I accelerated my bike, I could realize that something fell. I turned back without reducing my speed. I could see that a chocolate flavored cone ice-cream of some renowned company fell on the road. I also could understand that this was of that 11 year old kid. So, my belief became strong that this guy who can eat a costly ice-cream must be a fake beggar and cleared the guilt mark on my clear conscience with strong detergent and kept going.
Tiku, the 11year old beggar with a costly ice-cream does not know his identity. He stays with Dariyaben in her hut. Dairaben got her from a dustbin near general hospital half dead. She spent her middle age in taking care of Tiku. Dariyaben was a widow without any kids when she found Tiku.
Dariyaben got another kid 6 months back and gave it to Tiku and told him that he is his younger brother so to take care of him. Tiku does that judiciously. Tiku and Moti (the dog) sleep outside the hut that is built on a government land illegally. Dariyaben and his younger brother sleep inside hut.
Dariyaben wanted Tiku to study but that will mean one earning member will be reduced. This would make their life extremely difficult because she is not in best of her health to work whole day. She works as a maid in 4 houses. She earns Rs 2000 a month. Tiku, does work as laborer during day time and as his name is not registered as a laborer due to strict child labor laws, he does not get the full salary. He gets around Rs 1000 a month. With the current food price it is extremely difficult to feed two kids and self, pay rent for the illegal hut and fulfill other needs in Rs 3000 a month.
Tiku sees lots of money spent everywhere. Everybody is eating more than their need and stomach capacity in road side eateries. Kids eating less and wasting more and parents are not much bothered as they have lots of money. Amount of food wasted from one family is more than enough to satisfy Tiku’s never satisfied tummy. Moti is lucky in this matter, Dariyaben does not stop Moti when he goes to eat the left outs in the dustbin or roadside but Dariyaben does not allow Tiku to do that although Tiku finds it very difficult to control.
That day, Tiku was watching a kid eating at the road side eatery from a corner. His father had bought a chocolate flavored cone ice-cream.. That kid took it and after the first lick it slipped from his hand. Tiku observed that ice-cream carefully and studied the environment around. There are many kids like Tiku waiting to grab that. Tiku slowly came close to the spot. As soon as he made sure that his father is not going to give that back to the kid, Tiku jumped and reached the target. He took it and kept it in a poly bag which he was holding so that nobody notices it. Then he ran to a corner and started enjoying it. He had never tasted a ice-cream before. He liked it very much. But his younger brother cried and asked for it. He was not interested to share at all. He tried to hide from his brother. Dariyaben noticed this and scolded him. She threatened, “You dare not eat anything without sharing with your brother”. He said, “I took it from the road”. His mother said, “Then buy one ice-cream for him first before eating your own.”. He said, “I do not have money to buy”. Dariyaben ordered, “Go and beg from the people waiting for traffic light to turn green and then buy from that money a Rs 5 Ice-cream. After that, you enjoy your ice-cream happily. I won’t say anything to you”. He took his brother in lap, kept the ice-cream in his poly bag and then went on road for action. His first target was a biker. He can not ask anybody that he needs money to buy ice-cream. So he tried to get money saying that he needs money for food.
He found one guy with a bag in his back. He asked him for money but he tried to shoo him away. He tried to bring his attention by touching his shoulder but he pushed him away saying something about study and work. He did not mind that guy pushing him as it is common reaction that he gets from these people. But as that biker left, his ice-cream fell from that polythene. He immediately bent down to pick it up but rear wheel of another auto rickshaw went over it and it was smashed. His heart broke. He waited rest of the evening before the ice-cream stall for another slip but his bad luck. Not that night not even for rest of the week he was successful. He repented for caring his brother’s desire and Dariyaben’s order. He got this lesson not to care for others until his wishes are fulfilled.
I reached my friends party. There were two bottles of Bacardi left and lots of food. We had as much we could and remaining went to dustbin. I did not loose as much I thought while coming. I enjoyed that night a lot. Came back home after the party was over. I do answer my conscience every night before going to bed, whether I did any wrong or not. I could not recall any so slept happily.
– Stray Dog