“There are no eggs left” his mother announced with irritation. “Whoever wants breakfast has to go out and buy more”. He wanted breakfast, his stomach rumbled and the water he drank to get rid of the burn could be heard sloshing around inside. He regretted not eating before going to play that morning.
A few hopeful looks and flattery of the goals his brother scored that day were lost because he refused to go on the bike and refused to give him the keys to go himself. The stomach took control of his brain and he volunteered to go. 100 rupees from his mother’s drawer would buy him 20 eggs, enough for everyone’s breakfast. Money clutched tightly in his palm because his pants had no pockets, he left the house on the cycle, a decision he would regret.
The morning was filled with sounds of bells ringing as half naked men poured curd and milk over the Ganesha idols in front of their houses. Nagesh Uncle’s shop was filled with people asking for orange label, green label or blue label Nandini milk. There were more choices in milk than the small booze shop at the side had in rum. With his broken Hindi he decided to wait till everyone else had left. The lady with the lazy eye had to ask him 3 times “Kya Chaiye Bhaiya”, before he realised she was looking at him. As he was trained, he counted carefully as she slid each egg into a plastic packet.
The ride home was filled with more prayers than old grannies say while waiting for mass to start. Each bump on the road was preceded by 2 Hail Mary’s. ‘Lord have mercy, was whispered at every turn. One scrawny hand grasped the handle bar tightly and the other hung on to the eggs. The final stretch before him, he could taste the bread soaked in the gooey, salty yolk. Sunny side up was the best and he liked it over salted so none of the siblings who lived in his house would want to steal bites.
“Cycled with one hand and not a single crack” he proclaimed to his starving siblings, swinging the bag high over his head, as they looked at him like he was the Messiah. The bag opened up and all the eggs splattered over the floor.
Featured Image By Diana Susselman (taken from www.flickr.com)