The tale of the Paneer Hazari Tikka @hideoutphoenix

“Mamma, why can’t you come? All my friends’ mothers will be there. Please!” Her insides ached as she thought about going for this dinner without her. The thought of being alone was killing, but if she forced her mother to come, she knew it would hurt more. They fought to make ends meet every single day. From household necessities to school uniforms, books, pencils… the list was endless. Her mother sold her jewellery, bottled up her wishes and collected every meagre penny to make her happy. Today, as she gave her 300 rupees for the dinner she said, “Don’t think before ordering. Eat whatever you want and have fun.” She gave her beautiful mother a big hug, fighting back the tears. A pathetic guilt gripped her guts as she stepped out with her tiny little wallet. Her friends were waiting down for her all escorted by their mothers. Looking at their happy faces and eager smiles, she felt the void become stronger.
She sat at the table, a little uncomfortable. Even in the crowd, she felt alone. She looked at the panner tikka and smiled, it was her mother’s favourite. A bitter sweet pain engulfed her as she tasted it. It was soft, tender and beautifully spiced. But it had the aftertaste of something stale. She left it midway, unable to take another bite. Her friends freely ordered a list of delicacies, enjoying each one of them. All she did was, sit, smile and decline everytime someone offered it to her. And then, the cheque was presented on the table. She opened her tiny hello kitty wallet and to her shock, it was empty. There was a hole in it. But it wasn’t as big as the hole in her heart.

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