(This is part of the A to Z challenge, where the participants have to blog every day in April, excepting Sundays. The titles of the posts should start with different letters of the alphabet, starting with A on April 1st and moving on sequentially. The theme I’ve selected is Stories. Just hope I can keep up with the ‘march of the alphabets’ 🙂 )
His name was Ravi, but nobody used it. He was always the balloon seller and at times the children called him the balloon uncle. He didn’t mind because the balloons helped him feed his family, which consisted of his wife and 3 yr old daughter Ananya, who was the apple of his eye. Every day before leaving for work he would give her a balloon. He only gave her the cheapest one but she was delighted to get it from him. He loved to see her face light up and hear her chortling laugh while she clutched on to it. This was what kept him going through the day while he wandered around the city in the unforgiving heat.
That day as usual Ravi got up at dawn to get water from the corporation tap. Even after he had brought the water and had the two rotis which his wife gave him, Ananya didn’t come running. He saw that she was listlessly staring at him from the pallet she was lying on. Slightly worried, he got a jolt when he laid his hand on her forehead. She was burning with fever. He quickly went to the medical shop and got a single dose of the medicine which was all he could afford. Ananya seemed to feel slightly better after having it. Now Ravi was in a hurry to start the day since he had to make more money than usual to buy her medicines. He calmed himself down when he thought of the ten Angry Birds balloons he had. As long as he could sell all of them he could buy the medicines and some biscuits for his child.
But Ananya wouldn’t let him leave. The fever was making her cranky and stubborn. Even when he offered her the daily balloon she was not appeased. Suddenly, her eyes landed on the glittering, colourful Angry Birds balloons and she started crying for it. Ravi couldn’t bear to see her tears and yet he knew that he couldn’t afford to give her what she wanted. With a heavy heart and the echo of her weeping in his ears he set out. He worked like a man possessed and sold a lot of balloons that day. The last Angry Birds balloon was bought by a young man in the park for his girlfriend. Ravi saw him waiting with a goofy smile on his face, with the balloon streaming gaily over his head. Ravi was so exhausted by then that he sat down on a bench to catch his breath and count his earnings. A shout of joy caught his attention and he looked up to see the girlfriend smiling brightly and shyly accepting the balloon. He smiled and went back to his counting.
Ravi was satisfied with the earnings but his heart was heavy thinking of his daughter’s tear laden eyes. Sighing deeply he was wrapping up the money when he felt a tap on his shoulder. It was the young man’s girlfriend with the balloon in her hand. In a halting tones she explained that they were going to a restaurant to celebrate their engagement and the balloon would have to be left behind. It was so pretty that she didn’t have the heart to leave it around. So she wanted to know if Ravi would mind taking it as a token of their happiness.
That night Ananya’s fever came down with the medicines her father got for her. She also devoured the biscuits and was now sleeping calmly. In the darkness of the little room Ravi tightened his arms around his wife and smiled to see the glitter of the balloon tied to the chair in the corner.