Dec 19, 2006


My contribution to Sunday Scribblings #38 - Anticipation

"Papa, I want that icecream", said little Mannu, staring longingly towards his dad Babu. "How can I reject my only kid's request?", Babu thought while his hands were reaching for his pockets of a torn shirt that he was wearing. All he could find was a one rupee. Meanwhile, Mannu's mom Savitri called them for dinner. "Mannu dear, I will buy you a icecream tomorrow. Now let's go and eat food", said Babu. How can he explain to his 4 year old son that he had no money and that he was waiting for his greedy contractor to pay his salary? "Ok papa. Promise me that you will buy icecream for me tomorrow", said Mannu. "Promise Mannu. Come inside now", Babu called him and gave him a hug.

Their house is a shack with just enough space for three of them. Their only possession was a trunk with their clothes. Towards a corner was the kitchen space, with a few old vessels. All that Savitri could manage for dinner was a small pot of rice and a cup of sour curds that she brought from the house where she works as a maid. "What did the contractor say? Will you get your salary this week atleast?", sighed Savitri. "Seems there is some problem between the builder and contractor. He has informed us that he would definitely give the salary this week", Babu told her in a sad tone. He has been working as a labourer in the city's biggest mall construction site for the past six months and his salary was never paid to him on a regular basis.

"Ma, today papa will get me icecream", said Mannu in a cheerful tone. Savitri and Babu looked at each other, hoping that they would get some money atleast today. But the day was the same as the previous few days. The same disappointing reply from contractor awaited him. Babu didn't want to disappoint his little kid's wish. "Raju, Is it possible for you to lend me five rupees? I will return as soon as the contractor pays our salary", he asked his friend. To his surprise, Raju lent him money immediately with a smile.

Mannu was waiting for his dad eagerly that evening. He was going to eat icecream after a long time. As soon as he saw Babu in the end of the street, he ran towards him. "Papa, are you getting me an icecream tonight?", asked Mannu. "Sure dear. My little prince will have his favourite icecream!", Babu said happily.

It was a cool evening with the breeze blowing steadily. Mannu was awaiting for the ringing bells of the icecream vendor cart. The vendor who passes through Mannu's street at 8 PM everyday was nowhere to be seen that night. He was getting restless and after a while, he started crying. "No icecream today. The vendor cart has not come", Mannu was feeling disappointed. Babu couldn't bear to see his kid cry. "The vendor will come late Mannu. Let's wait", He tried to console him. 30 minutes passed and Mannu was sure that the vendor was not coming. Suddenly he heard a distant noise of the ringing bells which persisted for a long time. He looked at his dad hopefully.

Babu asked Mannu to wait inside the house while he decided to go and get the icecream. It was dark and the street lights were not working. Babu started running towards the street where he was hearing the ringing bells. He ran across different lanes and finally found the cart. "Give me an icecream. My son has been waiting for your cart. But you didn't come to our street", said Babu, gasping for breath. "No icecream sir. The last cup was bought by this little girl", said the vendor. Babu couldn't believe his luck. How is he going to see his anticipating kid's disappointment? His eyes became wet which the little girl standing beside him noticed. "Uncle, take this icecream to your kid. I will have it tomorrow", she said. Babu was so happy to see the little girl offering her icecream. "That's very nice of you. I owe you an icecream the next time I see you".

Looking at his kid relishing the icecream, Babu's heart was filled with joy. "A helpful Raju and a kind little girl live in the same world where a greedy contractor lives", he wondered.

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