She had reached here after a tiring journey, both actual and metaphorical. As  she entered the building to inquire about the undergraduate exam result, she was stopped by the guard at the gate. He scanned her thoroughly as she asked the questions about the office whereabouts and the concerned person she could talk to.

He replied authoritatively, asking for bribe. She found herself speechless for a few seconds. She tried to process the whole incident, even as she was still grappling the nervousness of the impending result. In utter confusion, she raided each and every corner of her backpack. Finally she found some coins. Collected each one she could find in every fold of the backpack. A total of ₹75.

She extended her closed confident fist full of courageous coins towards him. He withdrew his palm. Moved aside to make way for her, and stood  impatiently. She kept the coins back in her bag. Stepped forward and accomplished her task.

On her way out, her eyes met his. But he was now too embarrassed to look into hers. How pathetic was the situation! Did he really need the money or was it mere greed that made him carry out the shameful act.  Did she learnt a lesson or teach a lesson that day? Perhaps both.

Photo credit: Anna Shvets from Pexels

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Manisha Nandal Dahiya

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