The movie theatre was just five more minutes away, and I was hoping not to get stuck in a traffic jam. Although it was Saturday afternoon, yet you never know about traffic congestions. As we reached, I told Samar to hurry so we could buy popcorns and cold drinks. Otherwise, there would be a lengthy queue. We parked our car and started walking towards the mall entrance, taking long steps.
From the opposite direction, a kid started walking towards us. He was holding a bowl containing a leaf, and few oil drops. Next, he begged us for some money. We looked at him. He was a young kid, about 7-8 years old, barefooted and wearing filthy clothes. As we looked at the kid, “beggars-squad” became our topic of conversation. We were discussing how they have converted begging into an industry. While we were talking the kid was walking with us quietly.
Out of nowhere, I turned to him and asked if he was hungry. He didn’t speak and just nodded. Then I asked him if he wants to eat something. He again nodded. There was a Chinese food stall at the corner. We stopped there and asked him what he wants? In a very low and scared tone, he replied “Chowmein”. It brought a childish smile on our faces. I and Samar looked at each other, smiling. We ordered a plate of Chowmein and paid 30 Rs to the vendor. Then we saw another young kid, same as of his age, begging from some other people. I asked the first kid if he was his brother or friend. He replied in negative.
After two minutes, our order was ready. We handed over the plate to the first kid. The second kid also came running towards us. We told them,” It is sufficient quantity. You both share it”. I expected that the first kid would show his disagreement to share his piece of the meal with another boy. But with no sign of resistance, they both held the plate and went running towards the outer stairs of the mall. We again started moving towards the mall. Samar expected that the security guard might not allow them to eat there and might scold them. So we stood there at some distance, watching them eat with pleasure. It was an overwhelming feeling; None of us said this to each other, but both felt it.
They had almost finished the food, and our movie was about to start. On reaching the theatre, Samar reminded me of buying popcorn. I saw the rate list – Rs 220 per bucket. I pulled out a 500 Rs note and the faces of two little kids flashed in my mind. I dropped the idea of buying popcorn and moved inside the theatre. Samar didn’t ask me anything, because he had sensed my thoughts.
The Movie got over after two-and-a-half hours. We were walking towards the parking and discussing that the movie was just average and not as per expectation. Passing by the same spot where we were standing a few hours ago watching the kids eat, I thought we spent 800 Rs over a movie and we were not satisfied with it. We fed and made those kids happy in just 30 Rs, which eventually made us content. How many more kids we could have fed with the money that we spent over a movie or the money that we would spend over two buckets of popcorn? I could feel the weight of two movie tickets prevailing in my pocket. Flashing images of those two hungry children made the “Weight of two movie tickets in my pocket, too heavy to carry”