Mr.Varghese was sitting at the wayside eatery for a snack. A man in his early forties, Varghese is the senior manager of a reputed IT company. Ever since doctors have advised him not to have oily food, his wife has been very cautious & concerned on his health that it seemed to him that she's counting the calories in each dish she prepares!! She even packs up his lunch which he reluctantly have. He's so fed up of having "boiled & steamed" food that he stops by this eatery every evening to have something which soothes his taste buds.
The shop was quite deserted that day as it was quite early that evening. Mr.Varghese was in deep thought. He had had a quarrel at home few days back with his teenaged son who demanded a bike. He tried to advice his son but all his advices fell on deaf ears. Teenagers are quite arrogant & defensive these days & his adamant ways enraged Varghese. He blatantly refused his son's requests, who was constantly complaining his hardships while going to school on city bus & that all his friends have bikes. Ever since the tussle, he wasn't talking to his son.
Varghese was munching his samosa & was looking towards the window in deep thought. He was quite upset over his son's behaviour. Suddenly a familiar figure crept into his frame which made him take his gaze off & he immediately gave a warm smile. It was Raju the sweeper. He had his mop in his hand and was sweeping the floor. Being a regular customer, Mr.Varghese was a familiar face to the owner & the workers in the eatery.
Varghese sat there for quite some time slowly munching his food, and engrossed in deep thought. Suddenly he heard the ringing of a bicycle bell & through the window saw a lad on an old bicycle ringing the bell. He saw Raju going out to meet him. He had a brown paper package in his hand. The boy spoke to him in a hurry & handed him the package. They spoke for few more minutes. There was a confused look on the boy's face. He pedaled his cycle slowly forward while turning his head back at Raju who waved his hand at the boy. The boy stopped his bicycle, got down & pushed it back towards him but Raju was waving his hand with a gesture insisting him to go on. The boy brought the cycle towards him & smiled at him. He too smiled back at the lad & took the bicycle & pushed it towards the shop & left it leaning against the wall. They spoke few words & the boy merrily walked away.
Suddenly the door swung open & Raju came in with the package. Out of curiosity Varghese enquired about the lad. Raju replied that it was his son who had brought a dress stitched from the tailor for his younger brother. Though he insisted his son to
take the cycle back home, he left it with him & decided to walk all the way home so that Raju can pedal home after his hectic work. They had only a cycle at home & Raju used to bring it to the shop. His son attends high school at a government school & used to walk to school every day. Whenever his son needed the cycle after his school hours or during weekends, he used to come to the shop & lend it for his errands.
Varghese was quite impressed and he smiled. Remembering the quarrel he had with his son over his demands, he asked Raju with a chuckle whether his son has ever complained for walking to school & to home, & whether he has ever requested to have a bicycle of his own.
Raju was totally perplexed & in a baffled tone replied, "He knows my difficulties & the poverty at home. Why should he ever complain or make such a demand? "
Varghese nodded his head & smiled. The words echoed in his mind "He knows my difficulties & the poverty at home. Why should he ever complain or make such a demand? "