Hamid thinks that the toys are only a waste of money - they are made of clay and will be shattered if they drop to the ground. Yet, he looks at them with longing eyes, and craves to take them in his hands if only for a moment. He involuntarily stretches his hands to take them. But boys are not of a sacrificing nature, especially when they are obsessed by a new hobby. Hamid's wish to take the toys in his own hands remained unfulfilled.

It is time for the sweets now. Some of them bought revadis, some others got themselves gulab jamun while others chose to buy halwa. All of them are enjoying the delicious sweets. But Hamid stands apart. The wretched boy has three paise; why does he not buy something? He looks at the other boys with imploring eyes.

Mohsin says, "Hamid, have a little revadi. It smells so delicious!"

Hamid feels suspicious: this is only a cruel joke; Mohsin is not so generous. Yet, he goes up to Mohsin. Mohsin draws out a revadi from the packet and holds it before Hamid. The little boy extends his hand to take it, but Mohsin immediately transfers the revadi into his own mouth. This delights Mahmood, Nooray, and Sammi who clap their hands in glee and laugh at Hamid. Hamid's face burns with shame.

Mohsin: Okay, this time I will surely give. Come and take it.

Hamid: Keep your revadis to yourself. Don't I have money?

Sammi: You have only three paise. What can you buy with three paise?

Mahmood: Come and take a gulab jamun from me, Hamid. Mohsin is a rogue.

Hamid: What is so good about sweets! The books say that sweets are bad for health.

Mohsin: But deep in your heart, you want to eat the sweets. Why don't you buy with your own money?

Mahmood: He is sly. He will buy sweets when we run out of money, just to tease us.

Next to the sweet shops were shops selling household goods and imitation jewellery. These shops held no attraction for the boys, and they moved ahead. But, Hamid stood outside a hardware store; the store displayed some tongs. Hamid remembered that his grandmother did not have tongs; she almost always burnt her fingers while removing rotis (flat bread) from the tawa (hot plate). His grandmother will be very happy if she gets a pair of tongs; she will not burn her fingers. The tongs will be a very useful thing to have in the house. What use are toys; they are just a waste of money. They keep you happy only for a short while; then, no one looks at them at all. The toys are likely to break even before the boys reach home. A pair of tongs, on the other hand, is very useful: you can easily remove the rotis from the tawa; the rotis can even be baked over the fire; and if someone comes for a burning coal to make fire, you can easily remove one with the tongs. Poor grandmother has hardly any time to go to the market to buy a pair of tongs; she does not even have the money to buy them. She burns her fingers every day.

Hamid's companions went ahead, and were now enjoying a glass of lemonade at the fruit juice shop. All of them are so greedy; they bought so much sweets but did not give me even a little share. They tell me to play with them, and make me do their work. If somebody tells me to do anything now, I will refuse. Let them eat sweets; they will have mouth and tongue sores. Now, they will steal money from home to buy sweets and will be punished by their parents. Books don't lie. All these things are written in the books. When granny sees me coming with the pair of tongs, she will come running to me and bless me a thousand times. Granny will show the tongs to the women in the neighbourhood. The whole village will talk about me: Hamid has brought a pair of tongs; he is such a nice boy! Who will bless these boys for buying toys? The blessings of the elders are immediately heard by God. Mohsin and Mahmood tease me because I have no money. I shall ignore them. Let them play with toys and eat sweets, I don't want to play with their toys. Why should I tolerate their haughtiness? I may be poor, but I do not beg from others. Abbajaan (father) will come back some day, and so will Amma (mother). Then I will ask the boys how many toys they want. I will give a basketful of toys to each of them to make them understand the worth of true friendship. Friendship is not about buying a paise worth of revadis and eating them all yourself while teasing me. They will laugh at me for buying a pair of tongs. Let them laugh; I don't care.


Some useful links for
your career:

  • 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