Ten Rupees Only
by Svatee Bedi
The sun dawned to the city of Ujjapur. Gita also got up as the sun rays brightened up her room. Her mother was in the kitchen, preparing breakfast,so that Gita could start the day and go out and sell the necklaces.
Gita was a 13 year old girl, who lived with her mother and little sister in a low lying area of Ujjapur. Her father had died in a road accident when she was just 5 years old. The family’s only source of income were the necklaces which Gita sold at the road side. Gita used to sit up half the night in the street light and make the necklaces.Till about six months ago even her mother used to sell vegetables, but then she started losing her health and couldn’t go out daily to sell the vegetables.
Gita had never been to school, but she was a wise girl for her age.
‘Gita,have you got up? Are you ready?’ her mother called from the kitchen.
“Yes, I am awake and getting ready.”
Her 10 year old sister Preeti also got up on hearing the voices of her mother and sister.
Gita hurriedly had the breakfast, which was just a small chapatti. She then packed the necklaces in the small jhola she had. The jhola was becoming ragged and dirty day by day,and had also torn at a few places but Gita managed to stitch it,and had attached small patches here and there.
The sun was shining brightly when Gita stepped out of home.
Gita was wearing a frock,which had lost its shine, her hair was tied into a ponytail though not very neat, she even had some nail polish dabbed on her nails which was coming off from a few places.
Today,Gita was determined to sell off all the necklaces. Her family wanted money to survive. It was getting difficult to get food for everyone and medicines for her mother. She couldn’t see her mother coughing and crying daily,because she couldn’t help Gita much. Preeti, her younger sister wanted to go to school and study. Gita wanted to take care of everything, by selling the necklaces.She wished she could also do something else to get more bread in the house, selling necklaces only, was not enough.
Gita reached the market and spread out the
chattai on the footpath, and quietly arranged the beautiful necklaces. The necklaces were really beautiful. She used to make them with her own hands. As there was no electricity at home, Gita used to make the necklaces under the street light. Her hands also had a few cuts and bruises from the needle and thread she used to make the necklaces.
People had started coming into the market-some to buy their daily household goods and some to buy vegetables and fruits.
Gita sat patiently waiting for some customer to come and buy necklaces from her. Passersby just moved away without even having a glance at her necklaces. And those who did stop by didn’t show much interest. After all, these were just colored beads, woven into a thread.
It was already 12 noon and there was not a single sale. The sun was already at its peak, and Gita also started losing her patience,mainly because she had brought these beads on debt from various shops and she just had one week to pay back the money.
“How much is this pink necklace for?” asked a girl, who was about Gita’s age.
“Ten rupees only”.
Gita looked at the girl hopefully.
The girl was wearing a bright pink dress and her hair was neatly tied. She was accompanied by her mother, who also joined her daughter after buying some vegetables.
“I want to buy this pink necklace, mummy”, said the girl looking at her mother, picking up a necklace.
The girl’s mother had a close look at the necklaces and told her daughter that they were not good and she will buy her a better necklace from some good place.
But, the girl didn’t listen to her mother and insisted on buying the necklace from Gita only. The girl’s mother didn’t hear a word from her daughter and started walking; pulling at her daughter’s arm. The girl cried and kept on tugging at her mother’s dupatta to buy her the necklace.
In the whole confusion, the necklace was left in the girl’s hands. When, the girl realized this, she quickly took out a ten-rupee note from her pocket and dropped it near the chattai.
Both,Gita and the girl looked at each other.
The girl gave Gita a cute smile and walked away with her mother. ***