RedPaper.in – Short Story
By: Nidheesh Samant | RedPaper.in
Lunch break. I looked into my tiffin box. The mundane contents stared back at me – The similar sight of six rolls of chappati. Not to forget the familiar cauliflower vegetable that the chappatis were wrapped around.
‘Boring, everyday stuff’ – I thought to myself.
I closed the tiffin box without a second thought.
‘Time to go to the canteen and get myself some junk to eat’, I said to myself.
The tiffin lay forgotten in my bag throughout the day. I did not give it another thought until my homeward train journey. It had been a long day and there was a lot of work that I needed to do. So, the tiffin had completely escaped my mind until now. I looked at the untouched box sitting snugly in my backpack.
I could not take the tiffin home like that. The only reason for that was mom’s badgering. Upon seeing my tiffin unfinished, my mom would definitely be displeased. And that meant only one thing – an endearing and heavy monologue, about how I wasted food, did not take care of myself and did not care about the efforts she put into cooking. After a long day, all that was definitely not something I was looking forward to.
I decided to dump the food en route. Since I did not stand for littering, the only place that was possible for me to do was the garbage dumpster close to my house. I decided to pay the stinky place a visit. After all, a five-minute trip could save me from fifteen minutes of pure verbal barrage. I started walking towards the dumpster. It was dark. But, the increasing stench of spoilt food and dead remains pretty much signaled that I was getting close to my destination. I reached the dumpster. Opened my bag and retrieved my tiffin box. I just cast a cautionary glance around me to make sure that neither mom nor her known associates were anywhere near me. While glancing around, my eyes met with a pair of hungry eyes. The eyes belonged to a scrawny girl. She seemed to be one of the many beggars who resided around the dumpster area. Her eyes moved on to my tiffin. I opened the box and was about to dump the contents inside. Upon seeing the chappatis her eyes grew even hungrier and she approached me, not taking her eyes off the tiffin. I held the tiffin in front of her, offering her the contents. She quickly scooped them up and put them in her plastic bag. She took a bite off one of the chappatis. Her faced burst into a smile and her eyes gleamed with surprise.
“The bhaaji (vegetable) is inside! “, she said full of joy.
People like her, those living around the dumpster depended upon the food tossed into the dumpster as waste to get their daily nourishment. The girl had never even seen chappatis wrapped around vegetable, something that was so mundane for me.
It made me realize the value of my seemingly mundane tiffin.