“Why have you got biscuits today?” Five year old Sara questioned her Abba suspiciously. They could hardly afford electricity, which made Biscuits a treat, a luxury in itself.
Her father, a daily wage earner, who came home today with a heavy heart and empty pockets sat solemnly in front of Sara. The dull, orange light emanating from a lone bulb in the small shanty managed to hide the sadness in his eyes. The moonlight, finding its way through the open patch on their blue plastic roof worked wonders on highlighting his smiling face. A smile, reserved just for his daughter.
“Today we will eat just like those rich kids and memsahibs do before going to bed,” He said acting cheerful and making a big show of the small biscuit packet in his hand.
“You mean eat chocolate chip cookies with milk?” Sara had heard about such indulgence. Once she was watching a movie which kept playing at a TV showroom. In the movie a little boy, with a freshly scrubbed face, wearing clean clothes, lay in his bed with his mother. And whilst the woman reads to him, he ate the cookies, dunking them in the glass of milk. Since the characters spoke in English, Sara had thought the boy was eating his breakfast, but when the woman said Goodnight and put the light off she was surprised that it was a night time ritual.
Remembering the movie, Sara excitedly eyed the biscuit pack and the almost grey, but clean steel glass in her Abba’s hands.
“Yes, something like that, only, we are not silly like the rich to have chocolate or milk before going to bed, are we?”
Little Sara pondered for a bit and then happily agreed with her father. She never liked milk too much, so she took his word for it without any further questions and carefully worked at opening the biscuit packet.
With great gusto, she took the Parle-G biscuits, dipped them in the glass of water that Abba had placed in front of her and hungrily munched on the sweet, cold and soggy dinner. With every bite, Sara tried to act like the boy in the movie savouring his cookies and milk. Her meal didn’t taste as good as she expected, but she forced a smile to please her Abba.
The Impact, her innocent, unconditional love left was so great that Abba momentarily closed his eyes, shielding those ungracious tears from making a display of his turmoil.
Little Sara closed her eyes too, and said a silent prayer. She hoped for a better day tomorrow for her Abba. Biscuits were all-right for dinner; she didn’t mind it a bit, but Sara knew her Abba would like Dal Roti more.