THE BREAD OF MORAL


Anadama_bread_(1)

“You again? Again stealing…. Huh? I shouldn’t have saved you before from the police.” That shopkeeper caught the boy again stealing the bread from his shop. He was holding the boy from his collar of his torn and dirty shirt. He smelled too. Maybe he didn’t took bath from years.

The boy was silently looking somewhere on the other side of the road. Shopkeeper didn’t bother to look where the boy was looking or even thinking. He was angry and wanted to pour all his frustration of not having a single customer since morning.

Shopkeeper keep on abusing him and the boy keep on looking at the other side of the road. Slowly the crowd starts to gather to have fun of the misery of the boy.

“Arre Seth Ji….. ye aise nahi sudharenge…. You call the police.” Came a voice from the crowd.

Hearing the name of police, the boy suddenly came back to his senses. He suddenly shakes his whole body. He started to shiver and in the unison his palms joined together and started to beg to the shopkeeper.

“Sahab nahi, sahib…… Don’t call the Police….” He kept on repeating.

He cried, he begged, he fell on the shopkeeper’s legs, but nobody cared to hear his plead.

Within some more arguments between the crowd and the shopkeeper, came the police. Boy got arrested; he was still looking at the other side of the road. This time shopkeeper tried to look, where the boy was looking; nothing was there.

Police disappeared and with that the crowd too. Shopkeeper was back to his work i.e. sat behind the counter and started reading the newspaper.

Time passed, no customer came. Shopkeeper has already read the newspaper twice and now he was forwarding towards the afternoon nap. He was sleeping on his chair when he heard something coming near his shop. He felt happy as he thought that his first customer of the day has at last arrived.

A little girl, about 5 to 6 years old, arrived to his shop. She doesn’t have one leg. She was holding a stick to balance. She wasn’t looking like the customer but was looking like some beggar. Shopkeeper again felt disappointed and poured his disappointment on her.

“Bhag yaha se…… bloody beggars. Get lost!” Shopkeeper yelled.

“Nahi sahib…… I am not a beggar. I live there, on the opposite side of the road, behind that tree.” She used his finger to indicate the place. Shopkeeper didn’t even bother to see there. “I was looking for my brother who works here on your shop. He just came here to return the bread which you gave him some time before.” Shopkeeper felt strange. He knew that she was talking about that boy who just now created a scene but the other things were out of his knowledge.

“I gave him and he works here?” Shopkeeper asked her.

“Yes sahib…. I know you have saved him before from Police and then have him job in your shop. I wanted to thank you for that but my brother didn’t allow me to come here because of…..” she looked at her lost leg. “And then in the morning he came to me and gave me the bread which you gave to him as a gift for me on my birthday. It’s my birthday today.” There was silence for a short time. “But I told him to return the bread because I didn’t want to have so much from you. You have saved my brother from Police and gave him job here, that’s more than enough for me. For me my brother is everything. He’s my gift forever.”

Shopkeeper felt touched. He regrets his decision of sending his brother to jail. The boy was there to return the bread; he was not there to steal it. Shopkeeper’s eyes started to melt.

“Do you know where my brother is?”

 

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