(Artwork by Ashwin Pandya)
One of the things that Monal ached for at age four was a certain pair of slippers in a particular colour. She got this bug from the local maid who owned a pair. They were made of hard plastic and the colour was akin to a fluorescent pink in a style that separated the big toe from the rest.
It even made a sound as the wearer walked. She asked for one from her Mamma. It was beyond Monal why her mother should have burst into laughter at her choice. She quickly got over that hurt as she was promised one soon enough.
The day was a Wednesday and she would get her pair only on a Saturday. The next two days were almost painfully slow but nothing could be done as this type of special goods were only available at the “Shanichar Haat,” a far away place where the villagers brought there produce to sell milling with people.
Along with the usual purchase of fish, vegetables and fruits from the “haat” Monal’s slippers arrived too in a crumpled, thin, black plastic cover tied in a knot on the top end. She was overjoyed but soon realised the discomfort of wearing such a thing. It pained her little feet. This was perhaps her first lesson of sorts in the adage “all that glitters is not gold.”
Short Stories by Sushmita Gupta