Diwali was next day. The sales were brisk in the bazaar with shops awash with goods in glittering colours and designs on the shelves and platforms and with overflowing crowd of people eager to buy. I saw that lady in her early forties,with a small boy and a girl slightly older in tow in the super market watching the shelves from a distance.From her appearance and ordinary dress I could surmise she was not well off.I had nothing in particular to buy but came to the big store to while away my time watching people.The young boy was tugging her at every shelf and pointing out to some item or the other he desired.She gently dragged him away.The girl was quieter and seen comforting the boy.I saw them moving towards the discount counter offering dresses at dirt cheap prices.She selected after long time two dresses one each for her kids and moved towards the sweet stall.The boy was wanting many delicacies but when his mom bought half a kg of the cheapest sweet,he started crying loudly.She took care to make a detour to the exit gate by avoiding the fire works and crackers section.
As they were nearing the entrance some one collided against the girl who was holding the sweets packet.The whole thing fell down on the floor.When the girl bent to pick the sweets, the security dissuaded her saying it was a dirty place with so many walking in and out.The lady’s face was grim as tears trickled from the eyes of the girl. The boy started pleading that they go back to buy again.But the lady dragged them away outside.
I could not forget the faces of the crying boy, the silent girl with guilt writ large and the sad woman.I wondered why God kept some in perpetual want while some in needless plenty.It made my heart heavy and I lost the mood to linger anymore in the shopping centre.I went back home a short while later
Two hours later, there was a knock at the door of her one room tenement.The room was not bright.When she opened she found a man in driver’s white uniform standing with two large and heavy baskets in his hand.He said”This is for you and your children.My boss every year on Diwali eve gifts like this to some unknown people.He saw you and your children at the supermarket.Please have no worry as he is a very decent and good man.”
The boy jumped with joy and the girl smiled.The woman after some hesitation accepted the baskets to find dresses for all, plenty of sweets of different varieties, fruits and crackers for the kids.There was a cover addressed “To my sister, Happy Diwali” with 1000 Rupees inside.There was a note that said ”if you need any help, meet me and my wife at….”
She looked at the man in uniform showing him the note and the money.He smiled back and said “Yes, this is the way my boss celebrates Diwali each year bringing cheer and smile to some unknown needy family. He is my living god”