Rubbing his eyes he sat in a corner of his dry and dusty courtyard. He could feel his stomach grumbling vigorously for he hadn’t eaten anything for the past three days.
His eyes shifted to his eyes to the cow in the courtyard. ‘How lucky she is! she gets to eat leftovers from the neighbourhood at least’, he thought. He desperately wanted to fill his famished stomach.
He entered his thatched hut with the hope of finding something to eat, though he knew that there wouldn’t be any. His little sister was fast asleep in one corner. He hunted the only two vessels near the hearth, not a grain could he find. His mother had left home, before the dawn set in to find some work in the fields. His eyes fell upon the portrait of his father on the clay wall.
He remembers the day his father left home early in the morning and didn’t return alive. He had promised to get his favourite coconut savoury while returning. He waited for his father near the door, his eyes like famished eagles looking for a hunt. His father returned as a dead body, with a foul stench, emanating from his body. He had died cleaning the Septic tank.
He heard people narrating how not a single person was ready to touch his father’s body when he was brought out of the tank. The spectacle of his mother wailing and hitting his father’s chest with all her might to wake him up for once from his eternal sleep was still vivid in his memory. All he could do was stand there, without moving an inch and without batting his eyes. What could a child of ten understand the poignant situation?
That day brought the end to his happy life. Happiness gave way to what seemed like eternal gloom. He had to quit school to fend for his family. Hunger became his constant companion.
He saw a woman approaching his house. She was carrying something in her hand. He ran. She had bought leftover food for his cow. He took it from her telling that he would feed the cow. He waited for her to leave. He hid in the backyard and saw what it was. It was rice which was spoilt completely. How could he afford to give it to his cow? He ate it quickly relishing it as if it was heaven sent Ambrosia, to relieve his hunger.
Hunger gave way to sleep and he fell fast asleep.
He dreamt of eating a full meal, a meal that would appease his starving body.
Would he ever eat a full meal?
Will he ever hold a pen in his hand instead of a broom?
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