Saturday, January 22, 2011

Banaras in Awe!

Mehwish came home, slammed the door, dumped the countless shopping bags on the couch. Banaras was standing near his favorite green swing, watching the lady in fascination, was highly curious about the colourful bags spilled all over. He came forward and opened one, just then Mehwish put down her phone and yelled at the boy " Stop it, how dare you touch my things with dirty hands". Her mother told her to calm down and looked inside one tote bag and took out a colurful yellow shirt," this is pretty, how much? Mehwish looked up from her texting and said " Rs.3500, but I'm not sure about it, I think I'll give it to Bashira". Banaras listening eagerly to the two women was shocked to know the price and thought to himself that his monthly salary is less than that, how much money does this lady have.

In the evening, Mehwish's friends came over, one had a toddler with her. The girls had dinner plans and were chatting excitedly as were meeting after a no of weeks. Her mom suggested that they take Banaras with them to mind the child so that they can eat and talk in peace. Mehwish gave her mother a very disapproving look, after which she was assured that the boy had been made to shower and wash his hands properly. Very reluctantly,she nodded and everyone hopped into the car. Banaras was enjoying the car ride but was very aware of Mehwish as he could feel her disapproval everytime she looked at him. Banaras was in awe, the interior of the restaurant, flowers, candles, pictures all over and of course the posh looking people, eating there. He was strictly instructed to look after the toddler and make sure to remain inside. He was more than happy to run after te child as it gave him a chance to explore the place. Everyone eating there seemed so content, happy, with not a worry in the world. They also looked beautiful in his mind, even though many were old wrinkly men and women but their clothes, shoes, all looked so new and shiny to Banaras. He kept looking down at his dirty slipper clad feet and his grey, yellowing shalwar kameez. He was so different from them. There was nothing nice or special about him, no one would want to look a second time at him. These thoughts dampened his spirit and suddenly the shiny new place didn't hold that appeal as before. He walked around making sure the child didn't knock anything over, kept turning in between to see the ladies eating. One of them called out to him suddenly asking for the child to be brought to the table. The child was fed, the ladies ate, ordered dessert, the food they were having didn't look very appetizing to him but he was hungry now as it was past ten. Finally he saw the ladies getting up and was relived as he thought they will head home now but no. Next, they drove to a new shiny place where they oredred tea/coffee. For a while he forgot about his hunger pangs and looked around the place. Around twelve, the ladies got up and finally headed home. Banaras was in tears in the car, no one had thought about feeding him a morsel, in his village, his mom would give him a paratha and chai for dinner max by 9 and he would be the one to get the first hot paratha off the fire, being the youngest. He suddenly wanted to just run away, was he invisible, were these people blind or was it just because of his dirty clothes. After reaching home, he locked the gate and tried to go in the main house instead of his room at the back. Mehwish, tired and sleepy after a night out, snapped at him,"Where the hell are you going, go to your room".Banaras looked up at her with a choked throat and said, I'm hungry, want to eat". Mehwish " Ufffff, why didn't you tell me you were hungry, stupid boy, get lost, go eat whatever. She walked off and left Banaras staring at her.