“Remember me ?” I said.
The shop belonged to my college friend.
He settled down in our village and took over the management of his father’s grocery store.
I left for distant shores.
Over the years, we hardly kept in touch.
Streaks of grey hair and a potbelly aside, he had not changed much.
It took him a second to recognize me.
“Welcome back!” he said.
We swapped stories that we missed sharing over the years.
“One kilo of basmati rice!”
That voice sounded familiar.
She recognised both of us and smiled.
On her way out, she flashed another smile at us.
“She married a doctor and has three kids now. The eldest one is married,” my friend said.
“Remember how we always used to jump on to the bus she travelled in?” I said.
Those memories made us both laugh.
Yes! It felt good to be back home.
“Finish your vegetables,” said the boy’s mother.
“I do not like vegetables,” he said.
“You need them to grow strong and healthy.”
“At breakfast, you said eating eggs would make me strong.”
“Do not argue with me,” said his mother.
The phone in the next room began to ring.
“I have to answer the phone. When I return, your plate should be clean.”
The boy looked at the plate full of vegetables. He looked at the window and had an idea.
“Yes, my plate would be clean,” he said and smiled.
He took the plate to the window.
He was about to throw the vegetables out when he saw some children on the street.
They were looking for scrap in the garbage heap.
The boy watched them for a few minutes.
He returned with the plate to the table and began eating the vegetables.
“Your mother is getting on my nerves,” said the wife.
The husband did not reply. He could hear his mother humming an old movie song in the next room.
“She asked the cook to boil two eggs in the morning,” said the wife.
“Is that a crime?”
“She could have told me. Now the cook will tell the neighbours. They will spread the story that I do not take proper care of her.”
“With papa no more, where else can she live, but with her only child?”
“What are those papers?” said the wife.
“Some documents from papa’s box,” said the husband,” Oh my God! he has left all his money in her name.”
“It is a seven-digit number.”
The wife thought for a second.
Then she went to the next room and said,” Mother, what would you have for lunch? Think of me as your daughter..”