This happened more than 15years ago… Sometime in 2004, may be… When I was in first year of graduation, in another city..
Our class strength was 40 out of which 35 were boys and just 5 gals.. out of 5 gals one was a localite and rest 4 of us were from other cities… so one gal had here granny who had agreed to stay with her to take care of her. So this gal’s father found a 1 bhk for them and and they stayed there for rent and another gal too who was from a near by city, joined her to be her room mate…

I was staying with my uncle’s family 30kms away from my college… and another gal was staying in a community hostel… that was also away from the college, but none stayed as far as I did…

Until the end of first year I travelled everyday, changing two buses on the way but when exams were close by, I felt the pinch.. Lack of time for studies and tiredness… I called my parents back home and asked them if they can find any contacts to help me with finding 1bhk flat near to the college for rent, to avoid travelling…

Luckily the office where Dad was working had a colleague whose old mother was staying near by college, who owned a house in the same area… He called up his mom to ask if she can arrange a 1 bhk flat for me, she readily agreed.. within no time I was informed about the flat that was available for rent and it was just about 10mtrs away from her house.

Dad immediately transferred the deposit amount to my account and I paid to the owner and dad and mom were also kinda relieved that there is a person(that old woman) whom we know stays close by…

Until I found home, I used to at times stay with my friend at her community hostel… However wasn’t happy doing so but she insisted me to stay with her more often..

Now that I found home, she too was happy to move in with me… So we both decided the day to move in… I remember that it was a festival day”Vijayadashmi”.. We called up the owner to hand us over the keys that day… We both reached the flat before him and waited for him, we had nothing much to carry except for few clothes and books…

He turned up and gave us the keys and asked us if we needed help in cleaning the house, since it was vacant for a long time and carried lots of dust. Before I could reply, my friend asked him to join us for the cleaning😄😄.

So we got on to cleaning every room and every corner, owner too was given the task of cleaning the cob webs( task was assigned by my friend😁)..

By afternoon we were almost done and the owner left… So then me and her got fresh and started to arrange our books and clothes.. Soon somebody knocked at the door and when I opened I found that old lady’s daughter had come to talk to us… She looked like she had just had her lunch and was chewing pan.. Festive lunch..

Here me and my friend were very hungry and not eaten anything from morning.. Not even water…That lady was busy explaining to us about her festive dishes that reminded me of my home.. She then added that some of the dishes didn’t really come well so she wasn’t happy calling us over for lunch…

We both just nodded and continued arranging our books.. She left in about 30mins time and my friend expressed her unhappiness of having not called us for lunch as we were very hungry and it was a festival day.. I did not comment anything and by evening we were now ready to go out in the city to draw some cash from ATM machine and then have a hearty meal and back home.

But fate had different plans for us… We had just about 20rs with us.. So we both took the bus to the city that costed us 10rs for both of us and another 10 was left. Soon after we got down, we went to each of the ATM counter in that area, but none had single penny! I had 3.5K in my account, but that moment I had nothing with me/us.. Just 10rupees left.. We both were exhausted, having eaten nothing from morning and now going around everywhere, we were literally broken.. The city had started to wind up for the day, and here we were tired, hungry and thirsty and also clueless about what’s next?!..

As if that was not enough, we were already more than 10kms away from our new flat and we had brought few pieces of fried murukku for the rest 10rupees and we both were eating it as we couldn’t move any further… So now the situation was we didn’t have a single penny to pay for the bus to go back home nor we had the energy to walk 10kms…

I had my mobile phone with me, and the balance was just one rupee!!! Those days each call would cost one rupee… My friend asked me to call my brother(a far relative) who stayed in same area. I gave him missed call twice and he called back.. I narrated him the whole story, he was also a student so he too didn’t have any money with him then, however he promised me to borrow his friend’s bike and pick us up… He asked us to stay wherever we were and that he would pick us in sometime..

He came in sometime and picked both of us and dropped us back to our flat and before leaving he said, he couldn’t get me anything to eat since he had no money too but managed to get a banana and he asked me to share it with her..

We both were broken, having never faced such a situation before.. We were so desperately waiting to see if somebody would call us/ offer us food.. I don’t know what happened to me, I never did it before but this time I took my friend to that old lady’s house and narrated the whole story and asked her if she can offer us any food as we were hungry..

That was literally begging!! She reluctantly called us in and said that there was some left over rice and few pieces of chapati although wouldn’t be enough to even one of us, she served little of it to both of us and we both had it without saying a word and she happily said”Thank god, all left overs is now over, else it would have been wasted” .. We were hurt but, when you beg you cannot expect to get freshly prepared food, but only leftovers…

She gave us a sarcastic smile, and we both without making any eye contact with her, hurriedly reached our flat.. My friend started fuming for the way, that lady treated us but I had no complaints or comments..

Although our stomach was not even half full, atleast our hunger to an extent was satisfied.. We dozed off quickly as we were exhausted..

What did this teach me?
1. Never take anything for granted.. Whatever you have today, you may not have tomorrow.
2. When you are hungry you cannot eat money, you need food.. I had 3.5K in my account, but had nothing in my hands when I needed it and being a small city most of the hotels did not accept cards back then.
3. Every grain you eat is been offered to you by that almighty and be grateful that you have been given 2 square meals a day when many are struggling to even get one..

4. Always help those in need, in whatever way you can.. You never know in what form those blessings come back to you at the time of your need.

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Manjula P Badiger

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