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Happiest of them all is Hamid. He is four-five years old, poor-looking, and frail. His father died last year of cholera; his mother became ill, turned yellow for unknown reasons, and passed away one day. No one knew what afflicted her. She had no one to whom she could tell about her illness. She silently bore her troubles in her heart, and when she could not bear them any longer she quietly departed from the world. Now, Hamid cuddles up in his old grandmother Ameena's lap, and is happy. He has been told his father has gone away to earn money and will return with bags and bags of them; mother has gone to God's home to bring nice gifts for him. Hamid is, therefore, happy. Hope is a great comforter, and there can be nothing greater than the hopes of children! Their imagination can make a mountain out of a mole hill! Hamid has no shoes to wear. He wears an old tattered cap, which is stained with dirt; yet, he is happy. When his father and mother come back with money and gifts, he will be able to fulfill all his wishes. Then he will see how Mahmood, Mohsin, Nooray, and Sammi boast of having more money.
Wretched Ameena is inside the house crying her heart out. Today is Eid, but there is not even a handful of grain in the house. Would this have been the situation if Abid had been here? She was drowning in this impregnable darkness and hopelessness. Who had invited Eid to come? There is no need for Eid in this poverty ridden house. But, Hamid! There was a spark within him and hope without. If troubles dared to come even in hordes, Hamid's good cheer would destroy them.
Hamid goes inside and tells his grandmother, "Have no fear Amma, I will be the first to come back. Don't worry."
Ameena's heart is in a turmoil. Children in the village are going to the Eidgah with their fathers, but Hamid has no one other than Ameena. She was his father! How could she allow him to go to the fair all alone! What if he got lost in the crowd! No! Ameena cannot allow him to go on his own. How can the little fellow walk the six-mile distance? His feet will be blistered; he did not have shoes to wear. She will walk with him, and carry him over small distances when he gets tired. But, who will make the sevaiyya (a sweet preparation)? If only she had money, she could have bought the ingredients on the way and made the sevaiyya upon returning home. Here, it will take hours to gather the ingredients. She had stitched some clothes the other day and had received eight annas for her labours. She had saved the eight annas for Eid, but the milk-maid had to be paid; if nothing else, Hamid must at least have two paise worth of milk. Now, she had only two annas left: three paise in Hamid's pocket, and five paise in her purse. Such was the bleak situation, and it was Eid! It is only God who could deliver her from this hopeless situation. Everyone, from the washer-woman to the barber, and from the waste-picker to the bangle seller, will come and demand sevaiyya. They must be given big dollops - no one was satisfied with small portions. How could she hide herself from them! And, why should she hide? The festival comes only once in a year; life should continue smoothly, their fate was intrinsically linked to hers. God will take care of the child, the bad days will pass.
The villagers made off for the Eidgah. Hamid joined the children. The boys raced ahead, and then stood beneath the trees waiting for the elders to catch up. Why do the elders walk so slowly? It was as if Hamid had wings attached to his feet; how could he ever tire? The villagers have almost reached the city. There are lush orchards, belonging to rich people, on either side of the road. The orchards are fenced by strong walls. The boys pick up stones and aim for the mangoes and litchis on the trees. The gardener rushes out hurling abuses at the boys, but they are far away and laugh at him.
Some useful links for
- Union Public Service Commission - www.upsc.gov.in
- IIT-Kharagpur - www.iitkgp.ac.in
- Indian Statistical Institute - www.isical.ac.in
- Indian Institute of Technology Madras - www.iitm.ac.in
- Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - www.iimahd.ernet.in
- Indian Institute of Mass Commission - www.iimc.nic.in
- IIT Bombay - www.iitb.ac.in
- Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad - www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
- Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi - www.bitmesra.ac.in
- Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training - www.cifnet.nic.in
- Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) - www.iiita.ac.in
- Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi - www.cmfri.com
- Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai - www.tiss.edu