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Part 1 of the story

Who had called for this bloody Eid? This house had no place for it, but Hamid! What did he care if somebody had lived, or somebody had died. He was filled with light inside, and hope outside. Adversities may bring all her friends along, Hamid’s exultant mind would destruct it.

Hamid goes inside and tells his grandmother – You don’t be scared amma, I would be the first to return. Don’t be scared at all.

Ameena’s heart was cursing itself. Every kid in the village was going with their fathers. Who does Hamid have for a father if not her? How can I let him go alone in the fair? What if he gets lost in that crowd? No, Ameena could not let him go like this. What a small boy, how will he be able to walk three kilometres? His legs would get ulcers. Doesn’t even have shoes. She could have gone and taken him on her shoulders for some distance, but who would then make the sevaiyaan? If she had money, she could have arranged all the ingredients and prepared it quickly. Now, she will have to take hours just to arrange the ingredients. Asking people was the only hope left. That day, she had stitched Fahiman’s cloth – had got some money in return. She had saved that money like her pride for this very Eid, but yesterday that woman came and asked for her money back, so what could she do? Even if I don’t get anything for Hamid, I’ll still need milk worth 2 Rs. Now, she has just 8 Rs. left. 3 in Hamid’s pocket, and 5 in her wallet. But, this itself is our value, and now only Allah can help. So many people will come, and everyone will want some sevaiyaan. And nobody wants to see just a little bit. Who all can she hide from? And why should she hide? This festival comes once in a year. May life pass by safely, their fate depended on this itself; may the children stay safe, these days too shall pass!

The whole village left for the fair. Hamid too went with the other kids. Sometimes, everyone would run and go ahead. Then, they would wait under a tree for the others to join them. Why are these people walking so slowly? It was as if Hamid’s legs had got wings. Could he ever be tired? They had reached the city’s border. The rich had grown their gardens on both sides of the road. Proper walls had been built. The trees had mangoes and litchees growing on them. Sometimes, a boy would pick up a stone and point at the mango. The gardener would come from inside abusing. But, the kids are separated by a wall. They are laughing heartily. What a fool we’ve made of the gardener!

The tall skyscrapers started coming into view. This is a court, this is a college, this is a club house. How many students must be studying in this huge college? But, these are not mere boys! These are big people. With big big moustaches. They’ve grown so old, still they are studying. What will they do by studying so much?

(…to be continued.)

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