He was standing partially open-mouthed, his black knees covered thinly with white sand.

The right leg of his fading blue shorts had folded itself upward, at the edge, and the dirty brown band-aid on his thigh was curling at one end.

He had his father’s checkered handkerchief, folded twice, pinned to the pocket of his light blue shirt. His nose dribbled onto his upperlip, but he seemed to pay no attention.

His attention was paying its dues elsewhere. A few meters away, his classmate had spread a napkin neatly on her lap, and was tackling a deep, deep brown chocolate cake with a fork too big for her pudgy little hand.

He looked at her, with some intensity. The rest of the intensity, was masked with a silent pride that was innate. Pride of where he came from. Yet, every aspiration his head could come up with, seemed to manifest itself as a cuboid of chocolate, with generous amounts of icing, that was being hacked at by a miserably weilded fork.

His stupor broke. He blinked in rememberance.

He turned, and walked confidently to his own home-woven wire basket.
He sat down, unfolded his napkin over his folded legs.
He withdrew his yellow lunchbox, and calmly opened it.

Its emptiness did not dull his enthusiasm.

Instead, he licked the tip of his right index finger,
and picked at the crumbs, one by one.

3 thoughts on “Five”

  1. This somehow reminds me of that fat Setu kid in my school, who used to have dosas made in ghee delivered to school, just before lunch, all hot, while I had plain uppittu (with sugar).Nange ishte artha agodu. ‘Deeper meaning’ ella gottagalla nange. And it’s too frickin’ cold here.

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