It was a wonderful evening; the streets were filled with many people with their face facing the pavements to catch a glimpse of any sale going on in Fashion street. It was the most awaited Mumbai Carnival, A time where the hard earned money of one year’s gets drained in a swap of a credit card. Arjun and Nisha were one among the shoppers walking in the middle of the road with their face turned right. Arjun was still grumbling for parking the car 5 kilometers away from fashion street, while Nisha could only hear SALE and see the heaven beside her. Nisha halted in front of a shop which showed an elegant black dress. Arjun was forcefully dragged into his deepest miseries. The showroom was filled with placards and advertisement showing the carnival sale by Priyanka Chopra. Arjun was mumbling even more. Nisha glanced at the piece on the display and asked for a try out. The sophisticated , yet humble owner brought her the dress, Nisha pounced onto it with excitement, It was black, studded with bauble and its aesthetic thread work gave it an expensive look, The very though of her in this dress made her even more excited and left her wanting for it. Nisha looked at Arjun and showed him the piece, with his usual concern , he flipped the dress and caught it with its price tag, It showed “2500 rs”, his heart skipped a beat, he looked again and again at the price and was surprised. He immediately handly the owner his golden colored Citibank credit card. Arjun knew that nisha loved the dress but he was just hoping that she doesn’t reconsider the decision as probably this must be one of her cheapest shopping ever. Arjun laughed at himself, considering himself lucky. The bill came first with the card and Nisha took the neatly packed dress in a cover which portrayed a pug holding a placard –“DOLCE”. Arjun looked at nisha for a formal and usual praise but all that came out from her mouth was ”Now matching shoes”.Arjun’s gleeful face dimmed like a rustic tractor and began mumbling again as he knew, arguing would only lead him to spend more. Nisha gently kissed Arjun’s cheek to lighten his mood but it didn’t work.
At some distance away, A callous boy who is just over adolescent walked through the crowded streets. He was coming back from his afternoon shift at Mc Donalds, he was lucky today to have made a 100 rs and a lunch with half eaten burgers and ice-creams, it was only during these days he could make some money otherwise everyone walking on the streets knew him. He was Raj, a school dropout, who makes him living at the mercy of the shoppers. Raj walked by the streets, counting his total earning of today. He was totally elated and though about the feast that awaited him for the rest of this month. Raj, moved from people to people who adorned atleast 10-15 paper bags with hi-fi English names scribbled on it, he was lucky to have got some more cash, when he just saw a girl holding a neatly packed bag kissing her boyfriend. He immediately looked down and saw the bag and spoke “ Wodofone ka kutta……ab jackpot, where ever u go our network follows.......hehe i follow”. He dumped all the cash and coins in his hand in his pant pocket and ran towards them and started begging for money.
Arjun ignored the beggar and walked while the beggars presence was felt by Nisha. She opened her purse to give the boy some money while arjun retaliated with a huge sigh and pulled the purse off her. The boy never stopped, he kept following Nisha . While adamant Arjun caught Nisha’s hand and pulled her fast . Raj never stopped he kept chasing them. Nisha abruptly stopped at a shop, a small shop on the side of a small turning. Raj stopped and looked at them , They both walked towards the small shoe shop and enquired about the price of a shoe to a girl taking care of that shop.The girl said “One minute , I will send the owner, I was here to just take care of the shop while he was away”, saying this the girl disappeared in the dark corner. A rough but shaky voice came out through the dark “ Yes!”, Arjuns and Nisha attention diverted from raj who meanwhile was asking for some alms. A short, half bald , white dyed beard and hair came, His walking stick bigger than him. He voice belied his age, His face completely wrinkled like an elephant and hardly any teeth, This man’s appearance showed his abjected poverty. The old man continued “ It will cost you 500 rs”. Arjun began to negotiate “I wont give more than 300 rs for this shoe” while Nisha tried to divert Arjuns attention from the old man to the Boy. After bargaining for sometimes, Arjun was annoyed by the boys presence and shouted “ move off!! I am not going to give you any cash, u r young and healthy …get your cash by working..u lazy pig!”. Raj’s face showed the young angry bull in him and said “tu nahi de raha hai na….tu marege saale , tu accident se marega”, those words just infuriated Arjun , He caught the boy by his collar and said “ Saale gutter, chal police station chal”. The old man seeing Nisha’s persuasion to stop Arjun from over reacting came forward and bet raj with his stick and asked him to leave. The boy said some curse in Marati and diffused among the crowd. Nisha’s eyes reddened by the words of the boy , while Arjun still hot and mumbling louder. The old man said “ Sahib! I will sell it for 300 rs” , you take it. Arjun looked at the old man, who could hardly move his fingers to cover the shoe in the shoe box, gave him 600 rs and took the shoes in his hands. The old man bewildered and gave away 300 rs to Arjun. Arjun meanwhile covering the shoes with polythene cover, gazed up in excite ment. Arjun spoke softly “ take it, i am ready to pay 600 rs for this shoe”, The old man got up form his chair and said “ But I sold it for 300rs only..here take 300 rs back”, Arjun was about to leave with Nisha who was clinging still to Arjuns left shoulder turned and said “ 300rs is for your will to work hard for your living”. The old man couldn’t understand and before he could reply Arjun had left.
For first Arjun walked with a smile on his face and walked 5km to the car without mumbling.