His eyes opened slowly as the oblique rays of the sun penetrated the drapes in his room to reach his face. He felt its warmth settle upon his skin, he smiled. His young eyes scanned the well furnished room, everything he’d ever asked for had a place here. Toys, books, little items of stationary that intrigued him. Even gifts he received from his loving grandmother stood tall upon his bedside stand. He took a long moment to admire them all and be eternally thankful for all the materials he’d been blessed with. As he lay restless in his bed after a long, peaceful night’s sleep, the little boy looked down at his healthy body in the comfy bed. Plump arms, fit legs and even a slightly chunky belly. His strong, young physique, toned through a healthy, regular diet and plenty of outdoor sports and fun activities. He thanked his stars for the enrichment he received.
As he rose from his slumber, the sweet smell of fresh sambhar graced his senses. He heard his stomach growl and ecstatically chased after the lingering aroma. The light colored walls of the well maintained house greeted him as he dashed through the long hallway. He stopped by his little sister’s room, only to see her sound asleep in her carriage. An innocent little angel, little fingers and toes all tucked ‘neathe a fluffy mound of blankets and clothing. He stroked her short, smooth hair and gave her a light kiss upon the forehead, being extremely cautious not to awaken her. He smiled lightly and expressed gratitude for the well being of his sibling. He continued his marathon to the source of the delicious scent that stimulated him. It grew stronger as he progressed through his home. He passed couches and a coffee table, complete with a vase and freshly plucked flowers. A television and a little aquarium with colorful, exotic fish. Whose very sight soothed anyone who gazed upon them. He thanked whole heartedly for the beautiful home he inhabited.
Upon reaching the kitchen, he was blocked by a tall, sturdy figure. A crisp white shirt followed by a leather belt and perfectly pleated chino trousers to a contrasting pair of suede shoes. He looked up in awe to see his father, handsome and charismatic. Thick hairline, broad jaw and strong features. He maintained a healthily combed mustache as well. The head of the family knelt by his heir and lovingly pulled his cheeks, as if to reassuringly inform him, that breakfast was ready. He hugged his father tight as he felt yet another hand upon his head, ruffling through his silky hair. He looked up to see his beautiful mother. She stood tall with a slender figure in a bright new sari that livened her features. Her bright, nourished skin. Flawless long hair and supple, moist lips all stood as the epitome of beauty. She leaned over and kissed his cheek as his father kissed hers teasingly. He was moved by the aura of love and compassion that resided beneath their roof. He gleefully thanked for a wonderful loving family.
A plate sat ready on their teak wood table. Filled to the brim with hot rice cakes generously dolloped with spicy and delicious sambhar. His eyes widened at the sight of the truly enchanting serving of scrumptious food. His mother encouraged him to begin his meal. He ran to the table ecstatically and dug into his plate heartily to subside his aching hunger, he felt a surge of gastronomical pleasure through him as he enjoyed the wonderful food. His family gathered around him as he impatiently chowed down. His little brown eyes moistened. Tears of joy began trailing down his cheek as he cracked a smile of genuine happiness. He finally gathered the mind to pay thanks for a belly full of wonderful food.
The hot gales raging on outside blew into their feeble household and thus causing him to choke on dust. He was shaken awake by a coagulated throat and burning hot winds scathing him. He tried to recollect what was left of a fragment of a dream. His moist eyes showed that he had been crying, oddly enough, he wasn’t feeling sad but happy. He looked around him, a little room. The size of a little toilet, maybe even smaller. The walls were cracking all over, as if a bomb went off within the structure. Little drops of muddy water dripped from the ceiling onto his pale face. He wiped them off, along with the tears. He lay on the floor, on a torn up mat. His back ached from the hard floor, he hardly sleeps anyway.
He looked down at his malnourished body, flimsy, weak arms. Slouching shoulders, pale and hindered legs. Twisted feet, the victims of miles and miles of barefoot walking through the dense concrete jungle. He breathed in deeply and felt choked, a searing pain in his lungs. The dust and pollution didn’t help his asthmatic condition. He held his chest till the pain subsided. He painfully lifted himself off the floor and stood up on his feeble feet.
Hunger struck him. He hadn’t eaten in a long time. He stumbled through the debris of a house with all the strength he could gather. Clearly, not much. The little boy took two little steps and found his baby sister, lying on the floor, wrapped up in a torn old hand towel, among the dust and debris. She was sobbing and coughing violently, her little lungs fighting for air that they could inhale. He lifted her up in his weak arms and kissed her, wiping away her tears that were like little diamonds. He laid her down on their parent’s cot and walked two steps into a little shaft, which was supposed to be the kitchen.
The haunting stench of cheap alcohol pierced through his nostrils and made him wince. He looked into the kitchen and saw his mother sitting on the floor, wrapped in an old, torn sari. She quietly wept on the floor. Soothing bruises on her hands inflicted by the little boys drunken father. He confusedly looked at her, thinking, whether to be infuriated or sad. He heard rumbling sounds coming from outside the little house, which lacked even a front door.
His father stormed in shirtless, wearing just a pair of trousers, belt in hand. His belly was caved in, filled with nothing but cheap liquor. He tripped along the little house, under the influence, he violently lashed his belt at the little boy. A long red line of swollen skin emerged atop his arm as he winced in pain. His mother ran up to defend her child, not fearing for her own safety.
The juvenile head of the family found his way back through the front entrance. His mother rubbed his wound, as if healing them. She cried as her child stared at her, still confused. But now surely, sad. She sat him down upon the kitchen floor and sobbed loudly. She put a cold hard piece of bread in his hands along with a rusty tumbler filled with local well water. He dipped the little piece of bread in the water and fed himself. He could hardly chew it, and swallowing was even harder. As he quietly finished the scrawny slice, his eyes moistened. He looked up with no particular focus and sent thanks for the food he received.