Miles Away

A small boy who has absolutely nothing comes across a treasure. But will this change his destiny?

It’s not even early morning, but my stomach growls for food alarming me to start my day, barely
wishing my teeth to be brushed with the unaffordable toothpaste, asking me to put on those
pairs of clothes shabby, patchworked with someone’s old torn clothes, yet new for me. I barely
dress myself and we start on our way towards the railways seeking for offerings to fill our
stomach, my baby sister in my Amma’s arms and me catching hold of her fingers, the same
which taught me to walk on these streets barefooted. It was no unusual day for me as Amma
always asked me to look for leftover food boxes and rotten fruits, and my pale, tired Amma
asking for money from the brat society sitting there holding a small utensil, feeding my baby
sister with her milk, who’s crying out of hunger. But my big brother always somehow found more
food for the family and wandered alone. I always dreamt to live that life, but little me was
unaware of the hands my brother has to spread in front of the world and calmly bearing the
disgusting looks when he knocks on their car window pane.

The day passes in this struggle. Spending a night under the barely roofed tent, the slight breeze
singing a lullaby for us to sleep, fighting for the space to cuddle up in Amma’s arms, wrapping
her loose end of the Saree to cover me. Little did I know, the dawn had a fortune for us. Our
morning started the same way, welcoming the passengers of the train, by asking them for a 10
rupee favor. I boarded the train to look for leftover food, and to my surprise, I see a cartoon bag
pack, probably the one of my age forgot here, but my happiness had no boundaries.

I carried it home and found some nuts, I barely knew their names, looking over I found a book, maybe a story or poetry book. I sank into sadness because I couldn’t read, but could feel.

A small kid aged just like me, dressed up with rich clothes, well-tied shoes, blinking lights at the
bottom, having a scoop of ice-cream in his hand, and a small bag on his back. As I was going
through the pages, my eyes stopped on the blue-tinged room loaded with toys and a soft flurry
bed, his mom making breakfast for him, with orange juice and bread, his dad getting ready to
drop him with some gadgets in his hand, a huge car, just like the one I always saw on the roads,
just like the one my Amma always asked me to be careful of.

I was lost in that dreamland, and before I could hear my Amma calling me for food, she snatched the book and threw it far away. I could see that dreamland just going away from me in
my oddly sunken tent, miles away..but no so far for me to not question Amma about their
lifestyle. She caressing me replied ” God gives us our way of living. God is not partial. We are
also happy. See what Anna has in store for us today.” We happily had our dinner together,
satisfying our belly and Amma arranged a bed of her pallu for my baby sister to sleep.
But the curious cat in me crawled up to my dreamland and I started looking for more. All I could
find was the last page of the book where the kid had held his mother’s hand and walked to the
garden. When I looked back at Amma realizing how fortunate I was to have her, no matter what
lifestyle it is, I saw her already looking at me, smiling and asking me to sleep in her arms.

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