We are celebrating brother’s board results. Daddy has ordered ghee dosai, sambar vadai and mango lassi. Mummy sulks. The food is cold and the table, filthy. Daddy bellows at the waiter and he disdainfully takes away the cold food.
We now see the waiter lining up our new trays of steaming, delicious food. Our eyes gleam and my mouth waters. I clap my little hands with glee.
A short, dark boy, around my age walks up. He is wearing a frayed brown shirt and faded pair of brown shorts. Even his hair is brown, to match. He wears no slippers. His face is sunken, cheeks are hollow and lips are chapped. He wipes our table with his dirty rag. Daddy shouts at him to get a cleaner piece of wiping cloth. He wipes his nose and fetches another cloth – one that is bright and clean, like me but is frayed, like himself.
Daddy is happy. Mommy is gloating over brother. I have lost my appetite.